Tag Archives: grandpa

Gramps and NaNo

Last time I blogged I shared that my Grandpa wasn’t doing so hot. He managed to hang in there a while longer but last week on Wednesday he did finally die. It was a bittersweet situation because of course it was sad to have to let him go, but I was also really glad to know that he wasn’t going to suffer anymore and therefore we weren’t going to suffer anymore either.

His last five days were rough. They started out on a Saturday morning when my mom woke me up at six am because she was pretty sure he was going to die which I blogged about here. After that he sort of bounced back and forth between us literally thinking he was going to die within minutes to him cracking jokes and being his goofy self. The last day and a half was the worst though when his breathing pattern was seven breaths in 42 seconds followed by a full minute of not breathing. He was pretty much in a coma at that point although because he was at home it wasn’t diagnosed as a coma by a doctor. But finally on October 17th around 1:00 p.m. he finally let go.

I always thought that seeing a dead body in my home and experiencing a death like that would freak me the hell out. But after sitting next to him waiting for it to happen for days and getting only 3 hour blocks of sleep every so often, it just seemed natural. We’d sat there so many times thinking that he was going to die and then he didn’t that when it finally happened it was like, “Wow… okay, it finally happened.”

I haven’t written anything since I wrote that last blog post, but since Gramps died writing has definitely been on my mind. I’ve been reading a lot which always gets me in the mood to write. My characters are also popping up in random places showing me that they’re almost ready to play again, so that’s good.

With NaNoWriMo right around the corner I’m faced with the dilemma of to NaNo or not to NaNo? The last time I participated was in 2010 and I’m still working on that story, slowly but surely. I didn’t even attempt it last year because Gramps had just moved in with us and I didn’t think it would be fair to my mom to spend that first month up in my bedroom trying to write a book in thirty days.

I remember thinking a few weeks back that there’s no way I could do NaNo this year unless Gramps died before November. But here we are just a week away from November and he’s gone so I really could give it a try without feeling guilty that I should be doing something else. Of course, my ongoing problem with NaNo is always that I can’t think of a plot before November and then when the month begins I get seriously blocked. But I also tend to wait until a few days before NaNo starts to think about plot ideas so I’m actually ahead of the game right now. LOL Plus I’ll be attending the GRRWG Ready Set Write Conference next weekend too which will hopefully shine some motivation in my direction.

So I guess what I’m saying is that yeah, I’m going to attempt NaNo again this year. I think I owe it to myself to do it, and maybe even to Gramps too. Who knows maybe I’ll write about a crazy 97.5 year old guy who lives with his granddaughter, thinks facial hair means a guy has something to hide, and loves Filet-O-Fish sandwiches. 🙂

RIP, Gramps.


Getting Close

Just before 6:00 a.m. my mom woke me up because she thought that Grandpa was about to die. He was non-responsive and his breathing was very poor.

I’ve been sitting in this recliner next to my Grandpa’s bed for sixteen hours and he’s still hanging on. There were times when his breathing stopped for at least twenty seconds at a time and then would start back up again. Other times he’s asked about food and drink for the first time in about three weeks. His swallowing isn’t going so great now though so even when he’s thirsty it’s hard to get a good drink in him.

Thanks to the dementia he keeps forgetting what’s going on. He’ll say things like, “Maybe I’m so weak because I need food…” but he doesn’t understand that he hasn’t had more than a sip of juice or soup in almost a month. So we remind him that he hasn’t eaten and that seems to worry him. “That’s not good,” he says. We remind him about his Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and that it’s not getting better but he forgets that too. He’ll say, “Maybe those pills you give me will help…” but of course in order to take the pills he needs to be able to swallow.

We got a few pills in him just a little bit ago but it was a chore. The poor guy wanted nothing to do with the Juicy Juice he’s been drinking all week and swore that milk would be better. But with CHF when the heart starts failing it creates fluid buildup in his lungs so milk isn’t exactly the best choice since it can make him phlegmy.

Mom tried explaining to him that if he’s thirsty he should drink anything that’s wet and he agreed but then decided that he still didn’t want the juice. He says, “But I don’t want the juice.” She then told him that she didn’t care what he wanted and the look he gave me made me giggle. He looked at me like, “Did my daughter just tell me no?” 🙂 I watered down some milk for him and he handled it okay but of course it didn’t taste very good anyway because his sense of taste is off. He asked more about food and other things he couldn’t have and once again we explained why he couldn’t have them and why he wasn’t going to be getting any better.

It’s basically been like that all day with lots of napping in between. He’s still in there, still the goofy old man we all love so much, but he’s fading. I really hope that he can just let go sometime tonight so that he doesn’t have to go through another confusing day like this.

He’s ready even if he doesn’t remember telling us so, and as sad as it’ll be to see him go, we’re ready too. The living that he’s been doing for the last couple of weeks really isn’t quality. He’s seen all of his kids except for one, he’s seen almost all of the grand kids and great grand kids who live in the area, and he’s even seen his brand new great grandson via Facebook who was born just two days ago.

He’s talked about seeing people in heaven like my grandma, his brother, sister and his mom. Apparently he doesn’t think his dad is in heaven though, but maybe he’ll be pleasantly surprised. 🙂 Hopefully there Gramps will be able to eat all of the Filet-o-Fish and chocolate shakes that he wants, his ticker will be perfect, he’ll be able to walk without any assistance, and even better… he’ll be able to drive again!

I’ll admit, when we moved Grandpa in with us almost a year ago it was scary. I was worried about him getting hurt or dying on me when my mom wasn’t around to help me. Despite how hard the year has been though, I’m really glad we were able to have him here. He loved being able to visit with my brother’s crazy kids when they came to spend the night. He loved watching hour upon hour of Law & Order in his own living room while knowing that if he needed help we were just in the next room instead of a 30 minute drive away. He liked having the animals around even if he eventually forgot Sly’s name and just called him Big Cat and continuously pronounced Kia’s name wrong. Even the ongoing Ketchup Saga of 2012 is pretty funny now despite how annoying it was back when we were in the thick of it. (Gramps decided at one point that Heinz ketchup was too bitter for him but he claimed that it was because the ketchup was in his words, “rancid.” When we’d explain that the ketchup was brand new he’d point to the 57 on the Heinz logo and tell us that the bottle was from 1957. This happened almost daily for a while until we switched to the much sweeter Hunt’s brand. That eventually went rancid too and he just stopped eating ketchup.)

Sure, it’s been really, really hard on us. My mom not only had to quit nursing school just six weeks shy of finishing (she did get her LPN though, yay!) but she had to stop working and was pretty much here at home 24/7. I gave her respite as much as I could but of course with my own job I couldn’t do it as much as I would have liked. Hospice didn’t get into the mix until just a few months back and although they did help out and let her get out of the house a little some days, I wish I’d been able to help more or that other family would have helped more. But, what’s done is done and I know that my mom and I have given Gramps all he’s needed not just this past year but long before that. There’s no doubt in my mind that he knows just how much we love him.

Life for us is about to make a huge change again. Mom’s going to be able to go back to work, and we’ll go back to living in this house without a hospital bed in the living room. There won’t be an oxygen machine, syringes of morphine gel, and we won’t have to take turns leaving the house so that someone can stay here to Grandpa Sit. Of course we’ll miss him dearly, but we’ll also have so many great memories to keep in our hearts and for me at least, that’s the most important part and what I’m choosing to hold on to right now while sitting here next to him. He’s a pretty awesome guy and all of us who know him are blessed to have him in our lives and in our hearts.

Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. – YODA

10/13/12


The Girl With The Old Lady Bones

Arthritis might slow me down but it will never stop me!

Go-To-For-OT Blog

Sharing and Caring in Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Dauchshunds and Xanax

and other assorted ramblings

Babbling Brook

The mind wonders. Come along for the trip

Thoughts Off the Top of My Head

My life in black and white.

Writing is Hard

So sayeth the Prophet Chuck

Kris Norris

My life in black and white.

Paige Prince

My life in black and white.

site

My life in black and white.

Marj's Musings

.....is this all there is?

Trout Nation

Your One Stop Procrastination Shop

JennieKnits

my life with knitting