Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Update on grandma
My grandpa is a pie fiend and given the appetite grandma's pills give her, she's a close second these days. I bought them some sugar free ice cream for the freezer and left a welcome home card.
I spoke with him a few weeks prior and he told all of us at various points to be prepared because she was worse. Well, we knew she would be but he also can blow things out of proportion sometimes and when you're the one dealing with the day to day stuff, I'm sure it only seems magnified. So we just held our breath and waited to see what "worse" entailed.
He had some family issues on his side to tend to as well as a reunion and there was just no way Grandma would've been able to go to that for many reasons so my mom and aunt went over to sit with her all day. Mom invited us to come over and say hi at some point. I think it was more to break up the monotony and give them a break from trying to figure out what to say or what they could actually do with her. In between runs to a store, we stopped over with desserts from a new cakery. (What can I say, I show my love through food and it brings her so much pleasure, I can't not do it.)
She was immediately different to me. Before, there was at least a chance that she might remember me in a moment but this time, I was finally a stranger. Before when they said my name, she would see my face and be somewhat cognizant of who I was after a minute or two. Now...it was explained who I was and it didn't click anymore. In that moment, I knew I would never again hear her say "my baby, my first grandbaby." How I would give anything to hear her say that and know who she's referring to. She doesn't know her daughters anymore. She knows she trusts them but she doesn't know them anymore. She asked for grandpa all day, she didn't know that her house was her home. She asked when they were going home and my aunt said she was home and she said "this is home? Okay." I had to bite the inside of my lip hard to stop from welling up.
We did get one good moment. She was sitting on the couch kind of spaced out and tired from her meds, as seems to the the usual now so you never know if she's hearing you as you talk to people in the room or if she's blocking everyone out. We were talking about a place we went for lunch in San Francisco and how bad it was and it cost $75 for lunch. When I said that, she said "WHAT!?" We all started laughing and I said "can you believe they wanted that much for lunch?" She shook her head no and said "$75." We live for those moments. It just really sucks that we only get her for five seconds at a time, if we're lucky. I guess later when he called to say he was almost home and they got off the phone with him, they told her he would be home soon. She lit up and started to poof her hair and straighten her clothes to look her best for him. I am so thankful she still knows that love for him, enough to know she wants to look her best for her sweetie.
My mom and aunt do scrapbooking and they know despite the book we all have saying you need to stimulate her mind that my grandpa doesn't, they did. They brought some different shapes in different colors and had her sort them. She did good and it was good for her to get some kind of mental activity because she literally sits in the house all day and night except when they're going out to a restaurant. She gets no physical exercise, not even a walk around the block. She's much slower now so a walk may not be the fastest but she needs to get up and around. I feel like she's a neglected plant, the kind that doesn't get enough water and she's withering away. She also is to the point where she feels like she has to go to the bathroom all the time and she can no longer go alone. I think in the 90 minutes we were there, she went 6-8 times. It's like she goes so that she doesn't have an accident. The problem with this is that my grandpa just had scans done on his knees and he's bone on bone so if she's doing that that many times in 90 minutes, imagine him having to get up with her day after day on bad knees. If he has surgery, it's minimum three months of rehab and he doesn't want to do that. Of course, I'm thinking it might be time to look into assisted living where they can both live because they can afford it but he refuses. This is going to end up being a battle of wills and people trying to make something work in a declining situation. I've made my opinion known on the subject from the start but I'm not going to keep bringing it up because everyone else thinks they have the answers. So I get to sit back and watch various situations come up and wonder how the hell this is all going to play out.
When we left, I barely made it to the car before crying. It is so hard for me every time. I feel like I can't talk to her anymore because when you look at her, she might look away, look through you or not understand what you're saying. It's so hard when you're used to having a conversation with someone to feeling like you just don't know what to say anymore because she doesn't understand a lot of the words you say. Conversations are one or two word responses now and she can barely keep her eyes open anymore so you wonder if trying to talk to her actually tires her out. I can't seem to see her without feeling like I'm going to break down every single time and when I'm seconds out of her sight, I do. I wish I could be stronger, I wish I could do what needs to be done but I guess I'm just weak and the one person who can make it all better doesn't know me anymore.
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