The ICU Is No Place to Spend Thanksgiving

November 25, 2008 at 7:38 PM (Happenings) (, )

My grandfather landed in the hospital last Friday.  At first we thought it was a stroke.  Then I was told it was pneumonia.  At long last, the cuplrit has turned out to be a nasty urinary tract infection (UTI).  Although a UTI is certainly the least of all the above-mentioned evils, when you’re in your eighties and you’ve been avoiding doctors for years, it can take a toll on you and whatever other secret ailments you may have contracted in the last decade or two with age.

It’s been particularly hard for me because I’ve not been home fo any of this.  The only updates I receive are the erratic, ambiguous E-mails and voicemails that my mom leaves me.  “Things have gotten ugly again.”  “Your grandfather is not doing well.”  Define “not doing well.”  As far as I know, that could mean anything from his left toe itching to his falling into a coma.

Unfortunately, it was defined more like the latter.  My grandfather became unconscious last night and needed to be moved to the intensive care unit (ICU).  When he went into the hospital last week, the doctors took the opportunity to run an assortment of tests on him to make up for all the avoided visits in previous years.  Not only is he suffering from a UTI, but he also has heart and breathing problems, and Heaven knows what else.  Again, I’m not there, and I’ve been getting precious little detail on much of anything right now.  Luckily, as of this morning, my grandfather regained consciousness, but he’s still in intensive care.  I go home for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and I’m anxious to see him.

I’m harboring a lot of frustration right now.  I feel stranded right now, whereas my parents and grandmother are able to visit my grandfather daily.  I feel sidelined, totally dependent on what little information my parents divulge to me through voicemails and E-mail.  I understand that it’s not intentional; chances are, THEY don’t know too much that’s going on right now, but I still coiuld do without the extra degree of separation.

In addition, I have never before lost a loved one.  Death has mostly stayed away from my family – a few distant relatives have passed away, but none that I could really consider voids in my life today.  I’m trying so hard to prepare for the worst: after all, my grandfather is no school boy, and he isn’t the healthiest of people, either.  There’s a natural order to life, and we’re all bound for that final stage in our own time.  That certainly doesn’t mean that I’m ready to experience it myself, though.  I have been blessed with grandparents who care the world about me, and have been eager to be involved in my life as much as they could.  Hearing the excitement in their voices and the seeing love in their eyes whenever I’ve visted has always brought a smile to my face and a certain warmth to my heart.  Even when I went away for school, my grandparents have been close to me, even if I’ve not seen them as much.  I have been told to prepare for the worst, but that will not stop me from hoping and praying for the best.


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