16 November 2006


was awful. they had moved my grandpa to the hospital after a weekend of him being horribly ill. they had originally thought that it was a reaction to the flu shot he'd had, as his symptoms appeared right after he got it. after the weekend, the doctor came to see him and found that his belly was bulging. fearing that there was some sort of blockage, they rushed him to the e.r.

a cat scan showed there was a blockage near his hernia and that they would have to perform surgery quickly. his doctor told my mom that there was an 85% chance that he wouldn't make it. we rushed out the door, as his surgery was set for 3 o clock and we were an hour and a half worth of drive away. i was so afraid that we wouldn't make it there in time. it was the longest car ride ever.

as we made out way through ccu to grandpa's room, i heard a nurse saying, "he can go in - it's up to the family. but if he starts screaming and hollering, get him out of here." she was talking about bebe. i couldn't believe it.

when we got to the room, the chaplain was with him. he looked so frail and scared. he was just holding on to the chaplain's hand. he'd asked for him to come by to pray with him before the surgery. my grandpa has a faith that goes back before i was even born - one that i imagine he's had for life. at times in my own life, i've wished that i had that - especially after grandma passed away in '99. i just don't. and it is always in times like these that i wish i could just pretend for awhile... the thought of there being some sort of afterlife where we all get to kick it together again someday sounds splendid. i just don't know that that will happen, ya know?

the chaplain prayed for a few minutes, undaunted by bebe's imitations of the beeping machines in the room. after he was finished, grandpa clutched his hand tighter and told him that he was ready to go (he misses my grandma so much), that this would be hardest on those that he was leaving behind. the chaplain looked over at us and said that he'd like to say another prayer, because of how grandpa's words and spirit and strength had just moved him. i lost it.

after the chaplain left, i went to grandpa and asked how he was feeling. he said he felt better than he had in a few days. i smoothed his hair and kissed his cheek and told him that i love him very much. i asked him if he was scared and he said he was, though he knew he shouldn't be. then the mean nurse came in and said that needed to put a tube down his throat. i asked if we needed to leave and she scoffed, saying, "uh, yeah. i can't barely watch this, you won't be able to." i was having a really hard time understanding how she could be so cold. we went to the waiting room, and they came back out to get all of us after a few minutes. when we got back to his room, they were prepping him. they'd moved up the surgery time. bebe kissed grandpa and said 'i love you.' the anaesthesiologist said, "ok, everyone - say good bye!" all chipper like. i told grandpa that i'd see him in a few hours instead. is this protocal for the hospital staff in the ccu section?

we went back out to begin the wait. there was a little quiet room off the waiting room that we kind of just took over. we shut the door so bebe could run around and explore, and play with his bear and car. i thought about myself at his age. in that moment, it felt like yesterday that i was 2 and mom and i were living with my grandparents in california. my mom had me in the summer between her junior and senior year of high school, and she was all alone. my grandparents helped raise me. i spent my summers with them in ellison bay. here lay a man that i used to have to run to keep up with when we'd walk to the post office. and now i was about to outwalk him. where did all of the years go? what happened?

a million thoughts were racing through my mind. i should've come to visit more. why is the hospital staff so la-dee-da? how long will the surgery be? will he beat the odds? will we get a few more years with grandpa? is it selfish to want that? we all die someday, surest thing about being born. i know this. why do i feel so sad? why didn't i come visit more? why do i always procrastinate until it's too late? did i just see my grandpa for the last time? we were just talking about how we were going to try and get grandpa back up to the cottage again next year. what if there isn't a next year?

my aunt and uncle were on their way, but wouldn't be here until late last night and today, respectively. throughout the day, other family members came by to sit and wait with us. there was cafeteria food and minutes that dripped by like each was an eternity.

finally, the surgeon came in about 3 hours later and said that it had gone well. he'd repaired the hernia and also had to take out a section a bowel that was bad. he also said that the statistical odds were the other way around - that grandpa's doctor had meant that there was an 85% chance that he would pull through just fine. someday it may be funny, that we were all thinking the situation going into surgery was more dire than it really was. someday. he'll be in the hospital for at least a week. they have to keep a close eye on him, with his other health issues.

i went back in to see him before we left to come home and he was in a tremendous amount of pain, but he was awake. and his coloring looked good.

we got home late last night. i talked to my mom this morning, she said she'd call me from the hospital. i need to figure out when we can go back down, and how... i hope that his pain isn't bad today. i hope that he makes it through this. i hope we have just even a few more hours together before he moves on. i hope that i don't waste anymore time...

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