They put my grandmother into a nursing home yesterday for rehab purposes. She will be there for physical therapy and to heal for 21 days, then hopefully she will be able to go home and resume her life. She was doing so well on her own, this was her first "serious" fall. She will be 89 in March.
I spent most of yesterday with her in her room. She was out of it. No pain meds, no sleeping pill, just exhausted. It was hard listening to her tell me that my eyes were bloodshot from swimming in the pool and that I shouldn't swim in the pool when there is a blanket of snow on the ground. (There wasn't any pool and any snow.) I then watched her eat a bowl of cereal and spill it all over her in the middle of a conversation with me and there was no bowl of cereal. She was upset and asked me to help her clean it up. I told her I would take care of it and distracted her with another topic of conversation. This is not my grandmother. She went from vibrant, feisty woman to talking about random things. I talked to the Nurse Manager of the wing she's in and he told me that it's normal, they've seen it before. She is overtired, new schedule and disoriented. I'm hoping it's because she is over-tired. He assured me that they would check for UTI. as sometimes elderly get disoriented if they have a Urinary Track infection and they aren't getting enough liquids.
It was hard watching my Grandmother having to punch a button for someone to help her to go to the bathroom as they don't want her getting up and going herself. It was hard watching and waiting until someone was freed up to help her. I would have helped her if I was trained to do so, but knowing me, I would have hurt her or something and wouldn't be able to live with myself if something else happened to her. All I could do was be her voice that day. I could see the staff rolling their eyes if I asked a question or reported something not "normal".
Yesterday I realized my grandmother was really a "person". It's funny when you think about it. I know she is a person, with thoughts, feelings and opinions etc. but to help her go to the bathroom, to give her toilet paper...it's stuff you just don't imagine your grandparents ever doing...hard to explain into words. She transformed from this lively, tiny woman who would chase me with a wooden spoon if I misbehaved (heh heh) to this frail woman who needed my help. She was like my second mother as she took care of my sister and me when my parents divorced. She taught me to bake and to sew and told me stories about her childhood and her family.
I'm researching her family because I want to know where I came from. What the people were like that I descended from. I share what progress I make with her and she smiles with delight. I have always lived to make her smile. We share a lot of things in common, one of which we both have a hearing problem and we both wear hearing aids.
I'm hoping this isn't the start of the "decline" in which, the fall jolts something loose in her. I hope this isn't the start of her not being able to live on her own anymore. I am keeping an eye on her house as is my sister (who lives the next block over) and I was told I could go over there to do laundry instead of fighting the woman down the hall from my apartment. (The laundry wars, another blog post in itself!) I will leave a few bucks on the table for my uncle to pay the bills for the use of water and electricity. No sense in adding to the family "talk" about my taking advantage of the situation. (I'm not, but idle tongues have nothing else to talk about, especially my Uncle's wife.)
I see my grandmother getting more frail and I am faced with the fact that we are all getting older. Death no longer scared me as it once did when I was younger. I have my own thoughts and feelings on the matter. I see how it affects others and I look at my children and think, "one of these days...they will think/feel/wonder" like I have.
Life is a big circle, no beginning and no end. It just goes around and around and around like the seasons. Some seasons are more fruitful then others, some are more drier, some more pleasant, but it continues and moves onward.I am taking my youngest child, Spudgey, aged 4 with me to visit Grandma today while the laundry is running at her house. I know with her red hair, she will be a delight to Gigi (as she is called by my children) as Spudgey has inherited the red hair from her. I'm sure Spudge will make new friends at the home as will I.
Life, it goes on. When Gigi moves on, I will see bits of her in my daughter's red hair. Yes, Life, it does go on.