Monday, May 26, 2008

Home again, home again, home again TOO SOON...

Well we took a 4-day vaca to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area. We left Thursday evening, and were planning to come back sometime tonight. As in, we probably would ahve been just now getting home. More about our wonderful little trip later (tomorrow perhaps? depends on how things go)
We had planned to do some things today we hadn't gotten around to doing earlier in the weekend (because we slept until lunch time!!) I had just gotten out of the shower when my cell phone rang. It was my older sister. They called the family in for my grandfather last night around 11, but decided not to call us until this morning, because we had around a 5-hour drive. I'm not really sure how much I've mentioned him on here... My Grandmother died a little over 2 years ago, after surgery on an aneurism in her abdomen. The day she should've came home from the hospital, we were burying her. Some anger and resentment there, because instead of driving an hour to the hospital when I received the call that she was fading, it was requested that I stay and sell some more freakin' CHICKEN.... She was still hooked up to all the machines, and I did watch her pulse and blood pressure fall off the charts, but my grandmother was already dancing with the angels while my boss made me stay at work. (I've really let go of it, can ya tell??....... NOT) Anyway. She was a stubborn, hard-headed lady, as independent as they come, but I mean that in the nicest way possible. She lived with rheumatoid arthritis most of her life, from before my youngest aunt (who is now in her 30's) was born. The doctors told her she wouldn't be walking within a couple of years, and she walked into the hospital for her final surgery. She drove herself wherever she needed to go, even The Big City for all her appointments and surgeries and check-ups, ragardless of how many of us offered to take her or drive her or told her how it scared us for her to do so. You didn't ask her if she needed help in the kitchen, because she would tell you plainly that if she needed help, she would ask. She baked cakes, cooked meals, sewed, headed up the food/fellowship hall committee at church right to the end, even when it meant she was hurting, even when it meant sitting in her scooter chair, even when most of us would be in bed and popping pills.
Grandmother and Grandaddy were married for more than 50 years. That's a long time to love someone, care for someone, and be around someone. They didn't argue, or if they did nobody ever heard them. Now they were just as big a smart aleck as the rest of us, but never did they seriously argue. After 1 year of marriage, I would be lost without my husband, and I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to live without the one person on earth who has been your constant companion for more than 50 years. They leaned on each other, he took care of her through many surgeries and recoveries, she took care of him during and after his stroke, they always had each other. Grandaddy was the one person who could help Grandmother without getting "the look" or told she could would ask for help only when she needed it. (Probably because after all that time, he knew when to NOT ask!!!!) Anyway, for the past couple of years, Grandaddy has been lost. There's really nothing "wrong" as far as being sick, no cancer, no heart disease, no more strokes, I really think he is dying of loneliness. He has fallen several times, and has numerous back fractures, but when he would go to the hospital, they coudn't tell if the fractures were old, new, or somewhere in between. Eventually, he was put on hospice care, because there was nothing the doctors could do. He stops breathing for 30-45 seconds at a time. He has hit my mom (TOTALLY out of character). He now actually tells us when he feels bad. He isn't eating. He got out of bed tonight for the first time in 2 days. He laid in his recliner for a couple hours. I almost cried when we were helping him stand up to transfer to his wheelchair. He had on a hospital gown, which means he is in really bad shape, because Grandaddy always wears a button-down shirt and his khaki pants. Even in the hospital. His little legs were just skin stretched over bones. He has no calves at all, and very little thighs, mostly just skin. It could be hours, it could be days.... It could be months or a year, but none of us really think he will be around more than a few days, if that. His heart is set on Heaven, to be with his Savior and his wife.
So instead, we packed up, ate breakfast, made some last stops for fudge and candies and a chocolate malt from B.ask!n R0bb!ns for my sister because there's not one in our state anymore, and drove on in. We had supper at Grandaddy's. Around 10 kids under the age of 13, (4 or 5 or 6 10-12-year-olds, the rest 4 and under!!), Grandaddy's 5 kids and their husbands and uh, girlfriend-or-wife-or-lady-he's-just-living-with, my 2 sisters and our husbands, etc.
The best parts of the evening: BBQ chicken, homemade fixin's, ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc for supper... With much much Dr Pepper because that is in the K family blood or something... My shirt still smells like high-dollar baby formula, because everyone else has kids, so I get to hog the 9-lb 5-month-old who is allergic to everything. We got to entertain the older cousins at our leisure. The biggest, best part: knowing that I made it home to see my Grandaddy before it was too late, I got to tell him I loved him, and the best part is that soon, he won't be hurting or depressed ever again.
Not sure when I'll be on again, this week may be pretty busy.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Thanks for posting on my blog. I'll look forward to reading yours and getting to know you!