My mom’s house is always cold. Cold and dark. I don’t know why-it usually just tends to be like ten degrees cooler than other houses. Normally this is awesome, but these last few days, what with the jet lag and the acceptance that I am starting completely and utterly over, it…it’s close to being almost too much.
I left off at last Saturday on yesterday’s blog. Sunday there was a barbecue scheduled for my welcome home, so everyone was planning for it. My grandpa, who was preparing my favorite dessert of all time (pretzel salad!), called my mom Saturday and told her his back was really bothering him. My mom had asked my sister to stop by his house and check on him on her way home (they live in the same town), and when she got there at 6 pm he was already in bed.
At 5 am Sunday morning my mom got a call from my uncle who said that he had tried to call my grandpa twice but there was no answer. After my mom called a couple of times she called my uncle back and asked him to drive down to his house to check on him. About ten minutes later he called from my grandpa’s house to say that he was MIA. The car was in the driveway and everything was still locked up. Mom asked my uncle to check the bathtub, to check outside, to really look around-and I was sitting on the edge of her bed with tears in my eyes waiting to hear what they found. When my uncle said that my grandpa’s wallet was gone, mom tried the hospital.
Sure enough, my grandpa called 911 at midnight because he was in so much pain he couldn’t move. I breathed a sigh of relief-he’s okay-and my mom was mad. Mad! Mad because he hadn’t called anyone or had anyone call us to say where he was. I drove my mom to the hospital, and she said something that will burn in my ears forever. “Maybe Pop was waiting for you to come home before he died, Hed.” I won’t go into detail right now, but something happened the day before my grandma was admitted to the hospital in 2006 that I will never forget, and it was pretty much the same foreboding as what my mom had said. Here I am, back in America for less than 72 hours, and my grandpa is in the emergency room.
Seriously how could it be such a beautiful day out with my grandpa in the ER?
By the time we got there he had already gotten a litany of tests and all was right with the world-he’s just an old guy with degenerative bone disease (the one my mom got diagnosed with this year as well). My mom hemmed and hawed for more tests, but it was a Sunday morning and there was pretty much nothing else that could be done. I went home while my mom stayed with my grandpa at his house until he kicked her out and said “I’ll be fine!”
If I forgot to mention this, the main reason I came back to California was for my mom. Last June she had a knee replaced (because of the bone degeneration), and the recovery has not gone well. Severe nerve damage, accidental opiate addiction (she stopped cold turkey and ended up in the ER for withdrawal), and she’s unable to bend her knee. Temporary physical therapy has become three times a week, and due to the medication fiasco she has to see a pain management doctor. On top of THAT her dermatologist found six new moles that look suspicious and need to be biopsied; you can’t be too careful with melanoma (see that story here). My grandpa has been her ride and escort, but it wears him out. So I decided to come back and fill his shoes. And they are BIG shoes to fill. I love my mom to death but when we’re around each other for longer than about an hour we want to kill each other. Monday I drove her to physical therapy and her skin doctor appointment, and the whole time she was the worst backseat driver…ever in the history of life! Yes, it’s HER car but I mean the whole time she was like, “okay, in three miles there is a stop sign, make sure to stop in time”. Really? You mean on the street I have been driving on for fourteen years? THAT stop sign??? During her therapy I was able to stop by my favorite sushi joint and get a couple rolls. It tasted like manna from heaven.
That night it was just me and my mom as my stepdad is in Santa Barbara for work all week, so she made homemade lemon chicken and we just hung out. At 3 am my grandpa rang up. He said he needed us to come over right now, that he was in severe pain. We got there and I had never seen him in so much pain-he was breathing really hard and trembling. He took some pain meds and we decided to wait 45 minutes before we decided whether or not to call 911. By 5 am he was a lot better. He was reading the paper and able to walk to the bathroom (with the walker they had given to him at the hospital).
Mom insisted she stay the night with grandpa, so I went home. Alone. I was asleep by 7 pm, and up by 5 am. The good thing about waking up so early is that’s the time my husband gets home from work, so we were able to game it up for a few hours. When he finally crashed and went to bed, I got sad. Really sad. And it’s lingered on all day. My grandpa is in pain. My mom is struggling to move around like a normal person. My husband isn’t here. Crap.I am not the person to tell themselves everything is going to be okay. I’ve been here five days and already I feel things starting to slowly fall apart.