November 28, 2005

On This Day...

Snapshots In My Time...
Of My Time.....Hauntings.

My grandfather died this morning. Around 9:15am. This weekend was not so good. My family had gone out of town for Thanksgiving. I had to drive them six hours away on Thanksgiving morning, so I was alone for Thanksgiving. I had to drive 6 hours back the same day, so my Thanksgiving dinner was a hot dog and some cookies. On Saturday I went to the nursing home where my grandfather was to visit, so he would not be alone the whole weekend. He was admitted in September. I think it was hard for him to give up his independence. What he had left.

It begins a little furthur back than that. He first had a mini stoke in the spring, around March or April, was in the hospital and was in the nuring home for about 3 months. He was discharged to home and he needed assisted living as he was left handed and his left side was affected by the mini- stroke. He was the grandfather who lived the legacy of sharpness. He was really estranged from our family until he got ill in the spring.

He left my grandmother with four children when they were still very young, moved to another state and eventually remarried. I did not grow up knowing him at all. Growing up, we just knew we had an estranged grandfather who lived about three states away. He retired back to my howe town when I was a little girl...most likely in 5th grade or so. He lived about 10 minutes away from my mothers house, but still there was very limited contact. We saw him for deaths and funerals of other family memebrs. He had fully embraced the family of his new wife of many , many years. He raised her kids as his own and basically abandoned his four kids by my grandmother.

Funny how things do come back around. When he became ill, all those children and grandchilden by the family he raised, had nothing to do with him. Who did he call? His estranged daughter, my mom, and me. At first we were all taken aback, my mom in particular. There was bad blood going on there. She was his only living biological relative in the area, so we were stuck in a sense. When my mom got the call that he was ill, what could she do? A frail, elderly, mean father who never even raised her or looked back? She decided to do what she could.

She took over his finances, became power of attorney, handled all of his medical situations, got him into the nursing home. All those things. Consequently, I got involved. I was the granddaughter. If mom was tired, I had to step in. When he got dicharged to home for most of the summer, we had to cook for him three times a day. He could not longer cook. He had diabetes. Since his left hand was affected and he was left handed, he could not longer give himself shots. So, it was my job to do his insulin daily and get needles pre-filled if I had to work late. We took care of him all summer. We did have some home health nurses come in and help with bathing and excercises on his left side. We took in his dog. We had to do everything fo him.

By August, we knew that he needed to go back into the home. One he needed more assistance that we could provide (at night we were afraid as he was just about blind due to loss of vision due to diabetes--we had set him up with the home monitoring company. He wore a pendant that he could use at night if he needed help) and my mother was about to collapse from fixing meals three times a day. I was not always able to help. I work full time and am the only adult driver for three elderly people, my mom, dad and grandfather. I was run ragged as well with driving to and from, to and from.

We were able to get him back in the home in September and things were going along. He attended daily excersied and physical therapy. He was mobile using a walker and a wheelchair. So on saturday I got there about 5 or so and stayed about an hour and a half. He was in bed when I got there. The nurse said that his sugar had dropped very low and he fell trying to get from his wheelchair to his walker. They got his sugar semi-regulated before I got there. He was very talkative and was okay except for being in bed.

By 7:30 I got a call that he was tranported to the hospital. I drove the 20 minutes to the hospital and ended up staying until 2am until they could get him into a room. He wan not moving any limbs and his speak was slurred. He could speak a little, but it was very hard to understand him. He did not good at all. It was apparent that he had had another stoke that affected his whole body. I had been on the phone on and off all night with my mother who was still away for Thanskgiving. I was supposed to drive to pick up my parents on sunday. Yet, I had had no sleep. I got to bed by 3am, got some sleep and got up to get my parents.

Mom did not sleep at all the night before. The hospital wanted to know if he had a living will. He did, but I did not have access to it and was not sure of the details. I told the hospital to do everything to save him if something happened until I could get my motehr back into town and she could take over. I knew that he did not want to be hooked up to any machines, but that was not happening with me alone telling the hospital that. I got my parents and we got back to town around 7:30 last night.

We unloaded the car, sat down for five minutes and I told her to get her purse, we were going to that hospital right now. We did and thank goodness we did. Mom at first did not want to go. She was exhautsed and said she would call. I told her he did not look good and we needed to go now. She got her purse. We stayed for about an hour and he did rally some when he saw her. I know he was waiting for her. He had become so dependent upon her in the last year. We all had a chance to see him last night and talk to him before he passed away this morning.

Mom said that she got the call this morning and when she got to the hospital, the nurse told her that his heart began to beat slower and slower until it just stopped. His body was still warm when she got there, so she said her goodbyes and gave him a hug. I was at work and she did not tel me until around 4:30 today. I was still at work and just called to see how he was. That was when I got the news.

This was a man I did not really know. I just had to take care of him for the last year. I was just getting to know him. He was someone I had always heard bad things about for most of my life. Yet, I feel so bad now that he has passed away. I spent an hour crying in the office parking lot before I could drive home. I still feel awful. I don't know quite how to feel.


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