Plays Well With Others...

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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States
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Jun 26, 2005

The G-ma Watch
I don't think I ever told you all what was really going on with my grandmother. She had open heart surgery to repair a torn valve, replace a valve, and do a double bypass...At 82.

I arrived in New York on Thursday, June 9th. I was supposed to leave on Friday, but word came down the line that she might wind up having surgery on Friday, and I was determined to see her before she had the surgery. I had already planned to go visit her this summer, but I was trying to hold off until later this summer to space out my vacation time better. But sometimes you have to just throw your plans out the window.

This is not something I am good at by the way. Plans are what make my life work. I never write them down or anything, but please, please, please at least give me the time at which you want to do something! I have to plan how everything will work up to that time. (Seriously, I take the estimated time of departure and work backward to decide what I have time to do...I have problems...).

So that was thrown out the window, and I planned to fly on my free flight voucher on Friday. My mother and Aunt (the daughters-in-law) were already there, and I had already heard of drama taking place. Because things have gotten a little sticky and there are actually lawyers involved, and things on the internet NEVER go away, I am going to leave it at DRAMA.

Needless to say, I got a 5pm flight and got to NYC at 1am. I had decided that I needed to pack two small bags instead of one large one so I could carry one on the plane and not have to worry as much about losing my luggage...VERY good plan. My checked bag did not make it to LaGuardia. It was left in Philly. Because the Philly airport is the biggest mess I have ever seen. EVER. Remember how I got the free flight voucher? Getting it got me stuck in Philly over night in a hotel circa 1978. So, I decided to take precautions to prevent a repeat, but Philly, in their infinite wisdom, created a new situation. They had to move our gate. From gate F2 to f37. Grrr....Well somewhere in there they left 10 bags. YES, TEN. On a commuter plane with only about 30 passengers. Idiots.

But I made it to the apartment that night to find my mother and aunt still up and sorting through papers. Piles and PILES of papers. I had heard about this problem. There were so many papers, my mother couldn't sleep on the couch in the guest room. It was piled a foot deep with papers. Stack after stack of papers lined up on the couch. They had already decided that the next day we needed to get permission from my grandmother to sort the papers. They had encountered a serious problem already. The current bills were mixed in with the piles. They were trying to find out what needed to be paid and found bills stuck in the middle of piles of paper between papers from 1996 and 2003, or 1998 and 1999. Just wildly stuck there, they would find a current bill. Nuts.

But when I walked in, my mother and aunt were almost manic in their movements. It turned out they hadn't been sleeping much, and the DRAMA that I so want to tell you about, had them all worked up. And the DRAMA had happened the night before.

Let me just say right here that if you ever, EVER bad-mouth my mother, father, or close family, you will be on my serious shit list. And if you do it to their faces, forget it. I will never trust, respect, believe, like, and as much as possible, talk to you again. You are done for. You are now, an Enemy.

My mother and aunt are the sweetest women you can imagine. They are the kind of women that drop everything--and I mean everything--to hop on a plane at the last minute and move to a foreign city to for a several weeks to help a family member. Do NOT badmout them.

Anyway, the trip continued this way. Drama dropped nearly every day. Problems arose. Tempers flaired, my mother and I were at each other's throats all week. Which is highly uncharacteristic. We argue as mothers and daughters do from time to time, but this was exceptional. Unbelievable stress, little sleep, and no schedule made me a ball of emotions that were not being released properly. My mother was much the same.

On top of the DRAMA, my grandmother's surgery and recover, the phone ringing very early everyday with a myriad of my grandmother's friends calling to check on her, trying to find a quality rehabilitation center, and trying to actively function in a city we were used to being tourists in, my great aunt needed to be taken care of, as well. She has Parkinson's and a slew of other health issues, and my grandmother takes care of her financially. She has 24-hour nurse's aids, and due to her and my grandmother's stubborness, has hardly left her apartment in about 5 years. My family has been harping on this for years with my grandmother. How my great aunt needs to be involved in something and DO something everyday. But their determination to both remain independent has rendered my aunt a sort of recluse, who hasn't used her genius IQ in years. She has also been treated like an invalid with no mind for the last few years. Her mind is fine. It is quick and witty. But when people have treated you like you can't make a decision anymore, eventually, you believe it and let them decide for you.

This is changing. In one week, we saw my aunt go from an invalid with no capacity to decide her own fate, to a caring sister sitting at her best friend's bedside with the forced smile and fortitude you provide someone who is ill. This is by no means a small task and was quite hard for those of us who are much younger, and like to think we are still sane. She has also taken on the responsibility (a word I doubt she has used in years) of calling the nurse everyday to get a medical update on her sister, and then calling to report this to my mother. With more detail and accuracy than my aunt I might add.

But alas this post has gotten quite long and I am sure all you want to know is "how is that grandmother of yours?" She is doing much better. She was moved out of ICU (finally!) yesterday. She is in a stepdown unit, and somehow, has no food restrictions. So, my father, who is currently up there, brought her a pastrami sandwich and ice cream yesterday. And she is flirting with the young doctors...She's back!

Keep her in your thoughts and/or prayers. I'll keep you posted.
posted by Ty @ 6/26/2005 | 0 comments