I don’t remember the number of times I was at various hospitals over the past 4 years both with Mom and Grandma. There are too many to count and it seems that every month adds another one to the ever growing number.
With Mom alone it was three different hospitals in three different cities that I visited. My city has three hospitals for adults (and one for kids but that’s not the story here and I was actually never at that one aside from when I was kid and got stung by a bee. Not that I remember it.) The thing is, I know all three better than I’d like to know them. Based on my experiences over the past years, I actually have preferences and that feels like too much. I’m 27 years old. I should not have a preferred hospital.
Last weekend I told Gran that I’m getting a firm ass from walking up the six flights of stairs to visit her. She laughed as she was supposed to because I’m the kind of person who makes jokes in difficult times to lighten the mood. I also told her that, with her pacemaker, she is only one artificial hand away from being Bionic Gran (patent pending) flying through the night to protect the city.
Every time I walked up those six flights of stairs I had to think of another hospital and another staircase with six flights of stairs that I walked up every day. It was summer – some days were crazily hot in that hospital room – but Mom hardly noticed it because she was already more gone than living.
I edited my student research project there while she was sleeping. I still remember what I wore – my rose coloured skirt and a purple top. I talked to the on staff psychologist as this was palliative care. I was so prepared at that point and not falling to pieces anymore. And never in front of people
Why am I bringing all this up now, I have no idea. One hospital stay always reminds me of those that came before and a staircase leads to another. Another story. Another time I cried my eyes out. Another time that I knew things were about to change.
I’m glad Gran now has a pacemaker, it was a logical and necessary step but it also doesn’t make her young again. Her heart will always stay that of a 81-year-old worrier who always had to be strong and take care of those around her. She told me that she had given up the day after I found her lying on the cellar floor. I know she did and even I had given up then. I don’t know what I am these days. She’s mostly held together by pure force of will and I’m unsure if I support or condone that. I love her too much to see her hurt but I also love her too much to want to see her go and so I’m eternally caught in the crossroads until something happens that drastically makes her health decline even more.
I wish I could not think about this. I wish I could pretend that everything is peachy and things will get back in order once she gains more strength. Once this; once that. It’s not that easy though. Things never are.
I’m already dreading the next hospital stay; the next time I’ll stay calm because I’ve been through those things too many times by now. I know where Grandma keeps her things. We have our routine down now; her on the phone telling me which things to bring to the hospital when I visit. I know enough to know that she always has something and that even if she says it’s a definite list, she will continue adding stuff to it until you’re right before visiting.
Now she’s back home and we will have to see how things fare. I can’t be the caretaker again. I can’t. Maybe one day I will have to actually talk to someone about all of this. Maybe I won’t and instead continue writing it all.