Saturday, January 3, 2009

FAQ: How was the trip Home?

Answer: Fine.

Real Answer: Ugh.

Reason: My gramma is dying. But don't mistake my tone- in my family, where we find the humor in everything- this is another "story", another drama we're all going through. Gramma moved in with Mom and Dad the week of Christmas because everyone finally realized she couldn't take care of herself. She moved into my old bedroom (which Mom has kept exactly the way I left it 10 years ago... creepy).

Without getting too into medical things, Gramma's voice has changed a lot. It's a lot more raspy, deeper, think Selma from the Simpsons but slower and more deliberate. By the time I got there she was still pretty active, walking around and eating cheesecake, watching Cheaters, Judge Judy ("she's very sharp"), and of course Dr. Phil.

She's in Hospice, so there are a lot of extra people/nurses/evaluating people around the house. I don't know how she feels with all those people around- she used to be pretty reclusive. She's supposed to ask for help when walking, but for a while there she was sneaking around. The nurse sat all of us down and made Gramma promise to ask for help.

RN Cathy: You have to ask for help. You helped your family when they needed it, and now they want to help you. Do we have a deal?

Gramma: Deal...

RN Cathy: Great! Then that's-

Gramma: Or NO DEAL!

So we all laughed at that- even sitting in a chair surrounded by strangers and in a lot of pain, we are a family of humor. It may seem weird, but they've started keeping a "Quote of the Day" to help keep the mood light. My brother was responsible for one of them:

Gramma (while walking from one room to another): I'm going downhill.

Brother (looking at the transition between carpet and hardwood): Yeah, you kinda are.

It was weird to get on the airplane this time. I'm sad to be leaving everyone to deal with Gramma, and to miss all the inside jokes and stories, but it's nice to get out of there and back into my own life. It's also nice to get to hear just the distilled stories instead of sitting through the hours of painfulness to get to the funny parts. Lots of elderly people are moving in with their families these days, a combination of the housing market and the sucky state of American health care. My family is definitely not the first, last, or only family to deal with someone dying in their house- I think they're just the only ones to keep finding humor in it.


Anonymous said...

The sad part is that Gramma is dying... but the happy part is that she's has prayed for this to happen ever since Grampa died almost 6 years ago. During one of our discussions, she said that she was not a strong person, because she could not handle the situation. I told her, to the contrary she was a strong person, since she outlived so many of her friends and family. Even now, she keeps saying, "I want to do it my way!" when I catch her sneaking out of bed.

Good blogging, Anna!


Anonymous said...

I am sure both you & Grandma were glad to have the time together- even if there were lots of other people - When my dad died I had not seem him for months and had not even talked- I wish I had had just a few moments just to say good-bye......remember her always..
Aunt Chris....