Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Last 24 Hours...

We learned recently that my 93 year old grandmother would be having a procedure done to improve her pacemaker function this morning. A minor procedure, as minor as a cardiac procedure can be for a 93 year old woman. I had just enough of an unsettled feeling that I felt like I should take advantage of a few days off work, and drive up to Austin for the day to see her. It's been...eventful. I'll just give you a quick recap.

Tuesday 4:14pm- leave home, in the rain, to drive to Austin, where it's also raining. Search in vain for the Buc-ees gas station in Brenham, only to eventually realize that there is no Buc-ees in Brenham.

6:30pm- thanks to my father and 33 years of brisket consumption, I am unable to drive through Elgin, Texas without stopping to pick up BBQ. I call my dad, to see if I should pick something up for my Uncle Joe, who is already at GG's house, and I'm told that (of course) Joe has already stopped for his own BBQ. I get a pound of brisket anyway. Trimmed brisket, in honor of cardiologists everywhere.

7:00pm- arrive at GG's house, she had no idea I was coming, so she is pleasantly surprised to see me. Apparently several friends have been by to visit earlier that day.

7-9pm: Sit and talk to GG and Uncle Joe about kids, hospitals, medical procedures, and GG's new digital picture frames. Joe and I make plans to meet my aunt for breakfast at the Kerbey Lane Cafe during GG's procedure, and GG is quick to let us know that we have picked a "hippy place" to eat breakfast, and that's "not our kind of place". Yes, we are just nervous enough to drive to Austin to be with my grandmother for her pacemaker procedure, but not nervous enough to sit in the waiting room while she is in surgery. Not when there are hippy pancakes to eat. GG has to be at the hospital at the ridiculous hour of 5am for her 8am procedure. Joe will take her to the hospital, I will meet them for breakfast and see GG after surgery.

9pm- We discuss how we should probably go to bed around 9 or 9:30, since they have to be up at 4am, which in my world is STILL NIGHTTIME.

9:30pm- Joe goes to bed. GG introduces me to a box of old family photos that she has been sorting, hugs me, and goes to bed. GG's dog, who has at verious times in his life had the names Timothy, Spot, and Dog, growls at me.

9:30-10:15- Paw through some of the greatest pictures I have ever seen. My late grandfather in 1945 in the South Pacific, straddling a longhorn cattle whose horns to this day are in GG's garage because she doesn't think they belong in the house. My great-grandfather standing with four "Tennessee cousins", 3 of whom are staring back at me with Harper's ears. I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera, so I could at least have "picture of a picture" quality of some of these prints. I take bad cell phone pictures of a couple of them and show the Harper ears to Brandon.

10:30- Fine. I guess I'll go to bed. Take a sleeping pill (I don't tend to sleep well away from home), and crawl into the comfy, quiet room with my Kindle. Fall asleep at about 11.

11:01pm (estimated): A very dramatic thunderstorm rolls in, brining to my window all manor of LOUD thunder, rain, what sounded like either hail or baseballs being thrown at the house, and I GUARANTEE you I saw every lightning bolt in that storm through my window last night. At some point during the storm my nervous mind is realizes that perhaps God is trying to remind me who is still in control.

11:01-3am: Toss and turn, thinking to myself "this storm would be really cool to watch on the porch swing at my parents' house in the DAYTIME when I'm not trying to sleep, unsuccessfully, despite my little sleeping pill. Groggily decide to take another 1/2 of sleeping pill, thinking if I'm getting 0 hours of sleep on 1 pill, then maybe I can get 3 hours of sleep on 1/2 pill. Perfectly sound logic to a 3am sleep deprived brain.

3:30ish: I hear sounds from the living room. I climb out of bed to investigate in my nightshirt and undies. It's GG, and she's got someone she wants me to meet. I smile and shake hands with her friend that is visiting, tugging my nightshirt down as I introduce myself. At some point I realize this is a dream, which means I am in fact SLEEPING. In my dream, I give myself a mental high-five for successfully falling asleep during the storm, and go back to bed. Note to self: Lay off the sleeping pills.

4:15am: Is someone knocking on the door? What is that POUNDING sound? I really think someone is knocking on the front door. GG and Joe have probably already left. Did they forget keys? Is this another dream? Have more family members shown up on GG's front porch unannounced? I should really check. This time I had the foresight to throw on a pair of pants with my nightshirt and investigate. My grandmother sits calmly in her chair in the living room, "Good morning, Mandy! Do you want some coffee? Oh, that banging noise, Joe is adding a notch to his belt because he just keeps getting so skinny! He's just losing weight and he looks so good, doesn't he? So he's hammering another notch in. He really should just give that belt to Tom if it doesn't fit him anymore. Honey, do you want some coffee?"

4:16am- back to sleep. Awake for good at 6:36. Drink whatever is left in the coffee pot, unsure when it was brewed. It was warmish. Throw suitcase in van, and manage to find hospital 3 minutes after they have taken GG back for surgery.

7:15- tag along with Uncle Joe, Aunt Mary, and GG's Mastercard for hippy breakfast and a little more coffee. Learn that my father, who was supposed to fly in from Dallas, is actually driving down because "planes don't fly in hailstorms and lightning displays". Airlines are so finicky. Also learn that last time Dad came to town when GG had a procedure done, he deemed the visitor seating in her room to be inadequate for the number of visitors she had. So instead of asking if there was another chair available to move into the room, he left and went to Sams, where he bought several new folding chairs, then returned, CHAIRS IN HAND, to her hospital room. I cannot make this stuff up. We should introduce my dad to the woman who hides hooded sweatshirts at the JC Penney.

8:45am- return to hospital, where 2 of GG’s friends from church are waiting. We chat about their grandchildren, the weather, traffic, and why they can never get GG’s DVD player to work when they go over there to watch a movie.

10:00- GG’s surgeon calls, surgery is over and has gone great. He thinks that she will be able to return home today instead of staying overnight as originally planned. The Friends plan for movie parties at GG’s house and sleepovers there while she is recovering. She is about 20 years older than them, but please don’t tell her.

10:30am- we go back to see GG, who is awake. She immediately asks me if I slept well last night, before Joe woke me up by hammering into his belt. Was my bed comfortable? Is it still raining outside? Have I met her nurse, Kathryn? Do we know each other already, since we are both nurses?

11am- Dad texts me. He’s still on the road from Dallas, but he wants to know what the “chair situation” is in GG’s room. I say a silent prayer that he will not arrive with additional seating, and embarrass me in front of my good friend Kathryn The Nurse.

11:30- GG comments that she’s just not very hungry right now, and lamenting on her skipped breakfast and lunch, that she should be losing a couple of pounds, and won’t that be exciting! She says the only thing she feels like eating is an orange, so I text dad and tell him to not show up without oranges.

12:30pm-Dad arrives with oranges, carrying 2 brand new folding chairs under his arms. I am not even kidding. So now GG’s hospital room in the day surgery wing is equipped with adequate seating for four, should any of the staff need to sit down at any moment. Not embarrassing at all.

1pm- GG’s doctor checks in, surgery went great, and my 93 year old grandmother is the proud owner of a brand new pacemaker. Dad and I escape to grab a bite to eat next door at the Central Market, or, as GG calls it "where all the beautiful people go". I'm a pretty big fan of GG.

As of right now, GG is sleeping, healthier than she was yesterday, and all set to go home this afternoon. I am so thankful that everything went well with her surgery this morning, and for the (ahem) unconventional time that I got to spend with my family

And as an added bonus, I have two new folding chairs to take home.


Anonymous said...

Your father seems like a wonderful man.... Your uncle....not so much....

lindy said...

Does Joe's picture frame update???

Anonymous said...

Now Lindy, don't make fun of your Uncle Joey. He and his family are PC people.... They prefer the Amish type digital frame...

Anonymous said...

M - Good laugh, and we think you SHOULD introduce hospital seating guy to sweatshirt hiding lady! :-) It could be a good match!

Glad you GG is well!


Jana said...

I've been missing new posts..hint..hint:) So I thought I would go back and read old ones while I wait:)

Somehow I missed this one when you posted it. I had no idea GG had to get a new pacemaker I've even talked to her and dad recently...How did I miss this???

Anyway, I'm glad all went well and she had so many people to take care of her.