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My grandmother has passed... and I am a mess.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The last month has been harder for me and my family that it should have been. My grandmother had a bad uti, and was put in the hospital for antibiotics for a few days. Then she was released to go to a nursing home where my mom and aunt had arranged for her to get physical therapy. My grandmother did not move much any more. She liked sitting and watching tv and that was it, she had withdrawn from life... she was a constant fall risk and getting worse, so my mom wanted her to have physical therapy to get her moving again. We all agreed that this would be a very good thing for my grandmother.

One week at the nursing home she fell. I'm not even sure if they had started the physical therapy yet or not... we just don't know. Mamaw told my mom she got up to close her room door at 10:30 and that her knee gave out on her short walk back to bed. She said she knew they would come around at 11:00 to check on her so she wasn't worried... But they never came. Sometime during the night my grandmother pulled a blanket off her bed to cover her on the cold floor. Around 4:30 AM my mother received a call about the fall. Mamaw was taken to the hospital, where it was discovered that not only did she bust her head open bad enough to require several stitches, both her wrists were badly broken, and they both required surgery. That was done on a Monday night. They took her to ICU after the surgery because she could not come off the ventilator yet... she could not breathe on her own until the next day when she finally was able to come off it. She was in ICU for a couple days, then moved to a room... She was unable to use her arms, so she had to be fed and given drink by hand.

My mom would not send her back to the first nursing home (understandably, my mother is convinced that my grandmother laid on the floor for several hours before anyone found her.) so with the help of a social worker we found another good home that would give her physical therapy along with helping her as her wrists healed.

She went to that home on a Wednesday afternoon. She was there about 2 days, during those 2 days they had already let her enjoy a special, fully submerged bath ...twice. It seemed to be the right place... but on late Friday afternoon (Feb 3rd) she had a very massive stroke. She could no longer speak, eat, swallow, or anything at all and she was paralyzed on her full right side. She seemed to not "be there" a lot of the time... but occasionally she would focus her eyes on us and it seemed she knew who we were and that we were there. In addition to all that... she was very hard of hearing. ... this made it even harder because we had been communicating with her by writing on a white board prior to the stroke, after the stroke we could not tell if she could still read.

After several days in ICU, she was moved to a regular room... but she did not improve at all, including finding out she had pneumonia and a severe bladder infection along with everything else... and the question came up of whether or not to put in a feeding tube. I thought it was a no-brainer... of course we will feed her, however possible, but my aunt and mother didn't think that was the best thing to do. After speaking with the doctors... seeing her ct scan and how massive the stroke was, and knowing the slim chance of her recovering to any form of "normal" life... including being able to swallow, let alone feed herself, communicate... etc... they decided that just letting her go instead of artificially keeping her with us would be the best thing for her. on Feb. 9th she was moved to hospice care in the hospital. I struggled with that decision a lot, even though I know she would not have wanted to be kept alive on feeding tubes and IV's the rest of her days.... it is still a painfully hard decision to accept.

Mamaw slowly got worse, but was kept as comfortable and as pain free as possible. I sat with her many, many hours, as did my mother. She left us at 11:00PM Feb. 19th. I was not there, but I got there within minutes and she just looked just the same as before... very peaceful, very restful. I believe she died peacefully in her sleep. She was 85.

Through all this and on a very seemingly unimportant note, I threw in the towel on any dieting... and I'm sure I've gained back the bit I lost in January, although I've not weighed. The stress was so overwhelming that I just ate myself numb. I have been wanting to just stop. Stop everything. Sell all, quit all, move and start over. Everything feels like it's falling apart and is so overwhelming. I can't stop long enough to recover. I know Mamaw is no longer suffering/or in any pain... she is in heaven with her family that went before her and I know that one day I will see her again. And somehow I have got to recover from all the anxiety and stress and helplessness and sorrow I have been feeling.

Until then I have my life to live.... to the fullest, and that includes making sure my health and inactivity do not hinder my days. So it's back to the beginning and I'm trying to get ready to get fit and healthy so that on the day I die they'll be saying... "What in the hell was a 101 year old woman doing on a surfboard anyway?!?!?"
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    emoticon emoticon
    2276 days ago
    Your Mamaw was very much loved by your family. Surely that was a comfort to her having had you and your mother there with her. Sometimes when life is uncertain, it helps to have a loved one near.Thoughts and prayers going out to you and your family.

    2279 days ago
    sorry for your lose.
    Please give yourself time for grief,before starting again.
    I lost four family members within 18 months(my family &in laws)
    I thought I had grieved ,but oh how wrong I was.Right in the middle of starting SP all come crashing down.
    So Please take time out to remember to You can take time off &come back.
    you are in my prayers
    2281 days ago
  • JUSTME29
    I'm sorry for your loss. I can truly say that I know exactly where you are right now. I lost my MIL just before Christmas, and I still haven't found a "new normal". I wish that I could offer you more than just words.
    2281 days ago
    Sorry to hear of your loss, you are in my thoughts and prayers!

    2282 days ago
    I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my mother, husband, and dad all in a period of 2 years.

    Just be patient with yourself. I'm not saying to give up at all, just do what you can. In the meantime, you have every right to feel how you feel. Your emotions are yours and they are perfectly okay. Be sad, be mad, be reflective and when you are ready, be happy.

    Anna. emoticon
    2282 days ago
    OH honey I have walked in your shoes when my grandmother passed from lung cancer due to second hand smoke. I was the one by her side throughout and had to be the families tower of strength as well as my own. It was the hardest thing I'd ever had to do and the heavy sorrow is so very difficult but only for a time For time does heal and the precious memories remain. Until then be gentle with yourself. Take it one day at a time to mourn embrace it in loving memory of believing that going forward is what your Grandmother would of wanted, to celebrate your life, remembering her strengths, taking them as your own along with the great memories. Now is the time to build your own so that when your times comes, you have yours to share with her. emoticon
    2282 days ago
    2282 days ago
    Hugs and prayer!
    2283 days ago
    I am sorry for your grandmother's loss. It sounds like she was surrounded by love, though, and that is such an important thing.

    It also sounds like you were under so very much stress. I say, be gentle with yourself, and gradually get back into the swing of things so you can be that 101 year old surfer.

    2283 days ago
  • SHEL1181
    So sorry to hear about your loss and the incredible amount of stress you have going on right now. emoticon
    2283 days ago
    I'm so sorry for your loss. I went through a lot of the same stuff with my mom 2 yrs ago. It was very hard.

    I put on all the weight I has lost and more. I still can't get back on track. But I do visit SP everyday and I was logging my food fathfully until I got sick at Christmas and just can't get back on track. The cold weather here isn't helping since I like to take walks. I am waiting not so patiently for Spring. lol

    Hang in there. Take it one day at a time. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2283 days ago
    I understand everything you just went through and I am sorry for your loss. I had to go through this very same thing two months ago. And just like you I got there just a few minutes too late. We have to believe that going forward with our lives is what our Grandmothers would of wanted, to celebrate our lives, live with our great memories and build new ones so that when our times comes, we can share as we will eventually meet with them again.

    May you and your family embrace those fantastic memories you have had with her and rejoice in knowing that she is with God, no longer suffering of any kind and with other family and friends.

    emoticon May you surf until you are 102 on the best beach ever!
    2283 days ago
  • DASU1949
    101 is amazing! You must have many memories to treasure.
    When my wife was going through rehab for 4 months I saw many similarities in the care (or lack of) she received in nursing homes which was unfortunate.
    One irony about life is that we can expect death as a reward. Your grandmother is at peace, no pain, and with her loved ones. It is hard for us still living but life goes on. The pain will lessen but the loss will remain.
    Plant a tree or a Rose bush in her memory. Then every day you can look at it and be reminded of the love she gave you.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
    2283 days ago
  • DAISY443
    Tears for you and your family. Hugs!
    2283 days ago
  • LIBRA73
    Oh girl!

    We are certainly due a phone call! When you are ready, spark mail me and we will schedule a talk!

    I know for sure your grandmother would not want you to be in pain and let all other things go. It's so hard. Sorrow is so very hard. You have great memories, and you have a family who loves you and friends that adore you. It's your time to work on you and get those surfing lessons in. I can't wait to see you on my facebook page when you are in 101, posting pics of you catching waves! (And that killer bod to go with)

    Big hugs!!
    2283 days ago
    So sorry to hear about your grandmother. There's not much in life that is harder than losing the ones we love.

    I know she would have wanted you to find the strength to get back on track, get healthy and look forward to surfing well into old age !!
    2283 days ago
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