As I mentioned (AKA: severely complained about) yesterday, my back has not been my friend lately. In my attempt to heal, I’ve decided I need to not only focus on the physical remedies (chiropractor, stretching, massage, crying, etc), but also, the mental stresses that might be causing physical tension.
With that said, I’ve been avoiding thinking about and/or talking about my gramps. Grandpa is 87 and has been living in Florida alone, with the memory of my grams who passed over 10 years ago. Grandpa has prostate cancer, which has been managed for years now. Recently, Grandpa’s been running into health issues… mainly dementia and his cancer metastasizing. About a month ago, Grandpa fell at his condo in FL and spent 6 hours on the floor, unable to get up. The next day, my dad and uncle were on a plane to bring grandpa here to Wisconsin where we could take care of him. Since he’s been back, it’s been one thing after the next.
We got him into assisted living and after three falls, he was finally hospitalized for dehydration. When he was released, he went to a rehab facility. After a few days there, he was sent back to the hospital for slurred speech. Everyone was thinking he had a stroke, but if he did, it was small enough that it didn’t show up on the MRI. Grandpa has since been released and has been sent to a different rehab facility, as the first one did not meet the family’s standards.
So now, poor Grandpa is in yet another new home for up to 90 days, with the next stop being unknown. Grandpa is severely confused due to his dementia, which causes him to experience moments of panic and fear daily. He calls my parents every day, freaking out because he doesn’t know where he is.
His cancer has spread to his liver and to his ribs. While no one really knows how long Grandpa has, it is clear that his mind and body are failing him. The doctor and my parents seem to think it will be a matter of months. Poor grandpa has lost over 14 lbs since he’s been here.
My grandma died very suddenly, so this whole watching someone go is very new to me. I’m trying to stay positive and appreciate the fact that he has today, but it’s hard to do… especially knowing he’s so miserable.
But, with our little girl only a month out, I can’t help but selfishly hope that Grandpa will stick around to meet her. My grandpa has said he’s ready to see my grandma, but I also know it would mean a lot to him to meet our little lady. He talks about how exciting it is to be here now as we get ready to welcome her.
I don’t know what happens to people when they die, but if Grandpa really does get to go see Grandma, I think she’d really love to know a little bit about our girl. My grandma and I were very close. She called me her “heart of hearts”… a term of endearment that means more to me than any. She was a tough, no bull-shit woman. I really hope Grandpa gets to bring a little bit of us with him wherever he goes.
After reading all this, it still feels like I’m holding onto my feelings about the whole thing and focusing on the facts. Let me say this, I am not ready to lose my grandpa. It suddenly feels like things are spiraling a bit and before I know it, all of my grandparents will be gone. I guess that is just another reminder to cherish the time we still have and carve out time to see them as often as possible.