Thursday, July 19, 2012

Grandma



"Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete." - Marcy DeMaree


It seems like so much has been changing lately.  Some things good, some bad.  I don't always know how to react or to wrap my mind around it.

I'm writing right now because I just got news that my grandma, the woman that I basically shared a second home with growing up, is not going to be with us for very much longer.

Last night, I sat here at home, unable to go to her or talk to her, and thinking about how much different things are going to be when she's gone...

She's always been a huge part of my life, for as long as I can remember.  I spent huge chunks of time at her house with she and my grandpa when I was little, and though middle and high school band cut into that time as I got older, I was still there almost every weekend that I didn't have a football game or band competition to go to.  Then after graduation, I was all set to go to A-B, in the same town where she and grandpa lived.  I promised them that I would still come to stay, but that, you know, I would probably have things going on with school and with the friends that I planned on making there.  It wasn't going to be like it had been, every or every other weekend.

Then, a week before I was set to move in to my new dorm, my grandma had a stroke.  Grandpa had been outside mowing for a little while, and when he came in for a drink, she couldn't talk or move her right side.  She was in Morgantown in hospitals and rehab for a month or so after that, and I spent countless evenings after classes, when I didn't have labs, over there with my grandpa and uncle visiting with her.  They went over every evening, and I went when I could.  Eventually she was moved back to Philippi to the hospital there, and from there to Grafton.  Finally at Rosewood Center we found somewhere that had not only great people to take care of her, but somewhere that had an amazing rehab facility.

The doctors had said she would probably never walk again.  Within a couple of months after moving to Rosewood, just four or five months after the stroke, they had her walking with a walker.  She needed help to get up out of her wheelchair, but she was doing the rest on her own.  Everyone was amazed and ecstatic over the progress she was able to make.  She pretty much blew the doctors' predictions out of the water.

Later on the next year, she had a second stroke.  It set her back, and she wasn't able to recover as much as she had from the one before.  She was still able to hold her newspapers and look at them - she said she couldn't actually read them, but enjoyed looking at the papers anyway - and feed herself, but it was harder for her to talk than before.  It had already been difficult to begin with, so she was that much more frustrated by this. I think that's been her biggest obstacle, the one that bothers her most, because she's always loved being with her family and conversing with us.  After her stroke, she very obviously knew what she wanted to say, but most of the time, different words would end up coming out.  She knew it was wrong and kept trying to say it again, but each time, it would happen the same way.  She would get really depressed over it and become angry or unresponsive to any other attempts at conversation.

Then, earlier this year, she had a fall when trying to pick up a picture that had fallen on the floor, and her doctor believed she may have had a third stroke when the fall occurred.  Afterward, she suddenly lost even more motor function than before.  Her right leg could no longer hold her weight, so she couldn't walk anymore.  She also couldn't use her right arm as much as before.  Rehab didn't seem to help as much anymore.

A couple of weeks ago, she was sent to UHC because of swelling in her face and right leg.  It turned out that she had a blood clot in her leg and a touch of pneumonia.  She didn't want to eat or drink anything, hadn't, in fact, for the past week or so.  She was only eating a little bit of food each day but eventually began drinking Ensure drinks and sometimes the little milkshakes that they would bring her with her dinner.  She was still very weak though, and sometimes didn't seem aware we were even there.  I fed her lunch this past Saturday, and it seemed like she was falling asleep between bites sometimes.  



Overall, this past weekend, she seemed to be improving...a little.  The doctors told us that she may never recover the mental state that she had before she got sick.  It just depended on how she progressed after this.  They also said that with as much as she's been through and as weak as she is, it may only be a matter of time before she passes.  They did everything they could for her at the hospital and discharged her a week and a half after she arrived.  She got to go back to Rosewood Wednesday morning and was obviously exhausted by all the traveling and moving.  


Yesterday I found out that her doctor called my grandpa to tell him that her organs are beginning to shut down.  

After all she's been through, it seems like this may finally be it.  


I don't know what to think right now...I guess I just want her to be happy and at peace.  And as long as she's here, she won't be, with the state she's in.  It's been a tough three years on her.  Grandpa and my uncle go every evening to see her, and while I know she loves them and appreciates it, that can only do so much.  She can't talk, it's hard for her to move, she can't do the things she loves anymore...she lays there in her bed or sits in a wheelchair, all day, in a place that isn't her home.  It's become as close as it can get in the past few years I suppose, but we all know she'd prefer her own house.  It's just not possible for her to live there now.


So maybe, it's her time to go.  She has had a really good long life with people she loves and who love her.  She deserves not to suffer anymore.


"Memories"

Those we love remain with us...
In the whisper of the wind
In a soft rain that falls from Heaven
In each sunrise
In every single star that lights the night sky and
In every single memory that we hold within our hearts.

- Mary Chandler Huff