Well, this seems like a natural endpoint. Granny is under professional care. I could go on with "Granny's Greatest Hits" but that would leave no fresh stories for the screenplay. I will be moving out of Granny's within the next two weeks.
To the 99.9999% of my readers who encouraged, laughed, cried, or just plain couldn't get enough, I send my everlasting thanks. Your kind words have led me to the (not in the end so stunning) revelation that this might just be my calling.
To anyone else, I leave you the immortal words of Bill Shakespeare:
Tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
It's time to take the weight off and down my calcium supplements. The extra pounds can't be good for my joints, and my only dietary calcium intake comes from ice cream. Why?
Because I refuse to end up like my grandmother.
She was taken to the hospital yesterday. Her hip and T-12 vertebra is broken. She didn't fall...but arthritis and osteoporosis have eaten away at her bones. They're like Swiss cheese. There is literally nothing left of her hip to repair. She probably broke both by just trying to get up out of a chair.
Stubbornness is a trait that runs on both my mother's and father's sides of the family, and it can be a good thing sometimes. But my grandmother has taken it to ridiculous extremes. She has refused these last three weeks to take any of the Lortab that was prescribed for her even though she was in excruciating pain. She has insisted these last three weeks that she could go home and take care of herself, even though she could not lift a glass of water to drink. Three years ago her doctor told her her bones were fragile, that she should be using a walker and not going up and down flights of stairs. I moved in two and a half years ago. No walker until about six weeks ago. Still going down to the basement to do her laundry. When I moved in, I offered my help with these things, but all I got was an insistent N.O. I stopped asking. It was a frustrating waste of breath to try.
But NOW she wants my help. Because, you see, she believes that her hip and back will be fixed, she'll get some rehab, and she will come back home where I am going to care for her for the rest of her life. She has told all the nurses at the hospital this. I should make it clear that this is not expected of me by anyone except her. She wouldn't let me dust the lamps in the living room but she wants me to do this?
Me. A woman who doesn't have or want kids because of that whole cleaning up after their bodily fluids situation. A woman who can't do that fake nice, sing-songy thing that nurses do with old people, as if they were toddlers ("And how are you today Adele?" Gross.). I can't even do that with toddlers. A woman who's own back hurts enough because of the ginormous boobs her cursed genetics passed down to me. A woman who should have left Buffalo ten years ago. A woman on he cusp of a much needed life change.
We're all dying. But in Western New York it just seems like everyone is doing it right this second. Outside of a few blocks in the Elmwood Village the city is aging and cranky and set in it's ways. I will not join them. I will take my calcium. I will take the weight off. I will do what I can to be that 90 year-old who goes skydiving for the first time.
I will finally come up for air.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Granny is currently staying with my aunt. After her foray to the ER almost two weeks ago, she needs around the clock care. My aunt had been trying to get Granny to come live with her for some time, and thank God someone is looking after her. She can not stand for any length of time, even to take a shower, and, well, bladder control is a thing of the past.
Of course, for the first few days, she insisted she could get by on her own. Now it is setting in that she does need full time help. It is getting to the point that she may have to be strapped into a wheelchair soon because she very well may tumble forward out of it.
So, I have the house to myself. I'll be honest, it's nice. But it is eye opening as well. I have ranted in the past about how the house is falling apart...a diagnosis that isn't too far off base. As I type, the wind is rattling the ancient, flimsy windows, and it is especially loud downstairs, where you can hear it blow through the old broken Jalousies on the porch. The floor in Granny's bedroom is like ice, partly due to the fact that her closet is not insulated, just like mine upstairs.
Over time, things had gone badly downhill. You could see through her bath towels. Her nightgowns were like rags, even though several new ones sat, tags still attached, in her drawer. I had bought some of them for her as Christmas gifts over the last few years. The throw rugs in her bedroom were filthy. A pail full of dirty adult diapers sat in the corner of her room. Several years ago (1992 maybe?), my mother had given her some barely worn sweatshirts of mine. Before Christmas, I came downstairs to find her wearing the very same sweatshirt I had worn to my first day at Aurora Middle School, September 1986.
Since she hasn't been able to really clean in some time, everything is coated with a thick layer of sticky dust, especially in the kitchen. I washed the cabinets with Murphy's oil soap, replaced the blind over the sink (it used to be white), and polished the burnished copper door pulls. Still, I feel like I'm arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. With the exception of the basement, there are no three-pronged electrical plugs in the house. The plumbing is laughable, having been put together from scraps of pipes my grandfather found while building the house. The furnace is from the mid-Fifties. The windows are falling apart. And then, the little things, like the gorgeous pink plastic tiles in the kitchen. Plastic!
I really hope she left me some Lortab.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Granny refuses to take her pain medication.
She was prescribed Anaprox (high dosage naproxen sodium) for swelling and Lortab (hydrocodone, nice) for pain. I was to pick up the prescriptions for her yesterday morning, but she stopped me.
Granny: I don't think you'll be able to get my prescriptions.
Me: Why not?
Me: Why don't you think I can get your prescriptions?
Granny: I can do without them.
Me: Granny, you really should take them...
Granny: I don't know what they're for, and that second one is nothing but dope.
Me: You say that like it's a bad thing. Aren't you in pain?
Granny: I heard the doctor saying I only should take them if I really need them. I can do without them.
Me: Fine, then suffer.
Turns out she overheard the doctor at the hospital questioning one of the prescriptions she takes on a daily basis, which it turns out is a drug for Parkinson's disease. Granny shakes badly but does not actually have Parkinson's. The doctor was asking why Granny's primary care physician keeps prescribing it when she doesn't have the disease.
So she called my mother, and after informing her that my mother is the one who looks terrible and belongs in a hospital, not her, my mother explained to her that she really needs to take the anti-inflammatory and pain medication so her body will relax enough to heal. She let me go get her medication but my mother told me this morning that she hasn't taken any of it. Uncle Sonny dropped off a wheelchair he had, and she's wheeling herself around the bottom floor in a flannel nightgown as we speak.
I just hope she leaves me some Lortab...
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Kathleen, look what I found!
Friends, I can not hide my enthusiasm for our next entry, which I thought had been lost to the ages.
This here lamp, this wonderful lamp, a true kitsch classic, holds so many great memories for our family. I have been on the hunt for it since I moved in, and was under the impression it had been knocked over and broken. It used to reside on the bar in the basement. Yes, what you are seeing is a drunk holding on to a lamp post with one hand and a bottle of booze with another. The lamp at the top used to say "BAR" and I think this may have been what got broken, as the frosted glass globe on tops looks like it has been replaced.
The best part? The ABSOLUTELY BEST PART? The "You're kidding me, right?" part?
It has a music box in the base that plays "How Dry I Am". It still works, too.
And where did I find this treasure? Well, it had been under our noses the whole time. While Granny was in the ER today, we had to fetch some items from her bedroom. Now, I never go into her bedroom, and was unaware the the ceiling lamp didn't work. So we turned on the lamp on her nightstand...this was the lamp on her nightstand! She claimed she didn't know where this lamp had gone. Old woman, it's the lamp right next to your bed!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I don't know how my mother, who can barely walk and suffers from vertigo, and her 73 year-old sister, who suffers from various ailments herself, are expected to care for this woman.
A few weeks ago, my mother told her, "You had your kids too young and you've lived too long. We're all to old and decrepit to really care for you".
Hopefully this incident will ring a bell in Granny's mind that she needs some kind of assisted living situation.