Last night at 9:15, I got a panicked phone call from my younger brother, who lives in California, saying my grandma had been put in the hospital. I immediately asked the obvious questions, Why didn’t someone in North Carolina call me? Why is the kid that lives clear across the country calling to tell me this? What’s going on? My brother was getting his info from a text message sent by a cousin. Damn. My family has communication issues.
At 9:45 I had contacted my mom at her work to make sure she was in the know. She wasn’t. She flipped. My mom has 2 sisters, neither of which had called her at work. When she finally got ahold of one of them we found out that my grandma’s health had rapidly declined over the past few hours & they had taken her to the hospital because she could not breathe. Later that evening she was diagnosed with emphysema.
It had been a long time coming, I suppose. Grandma had smoked for…well, forever. Over the past few years she’d been having a lot of trouble getting around & breathing, but she wouldn’t stop smoking. What is emphysema exactly? I wasn’t 100% sure, so Wikipedia & I got together for coffee around midnight, long after I’d told my managers I wouldn’t be at work today, I had to go see my grandma 3 hours away. “Emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath. In people with emphysema, the tissues necessary to support the physical shape and function of the lungs are destroyed.”-straight from Wiki. Can’t be cured. Can’t be reversed. We can only make her time here more comfortable.
I left my house at 7:00 this morning to go see my grandma. I didn’t know what to expect when I got to the hospital, but I knew I had to do one thing: cheer her up. After all, out of 8 grandchildren & 2 great-grandchildren, I am the second favorite. 3 hours later, I had picked my mom up at her house & was getting some yellow roses at Lowe’s. Yellow roses are Grandma’s favorite. That’s when I saw the doughnuts. She loves the chocolate covered ones with the creme in the middle. I grabbed a doughnut to smuggle in to the hospital.
I’m always one to be slightly intimidated by hospitals, but never one to let it show. I walked into the room & was heartbroken at the sight of my grandma, pale, covered with tubes & bags & needles…but I didn’t let that slow me down. I sat the roses down, told her the room needed to be brightened. She was thrilled to see me, apparently no one had told her I was in town. I asked her if she’d eaten. She mumbled No. I smiled, I brought something to make you feel better. What kind of diet do they have you on? She shook her head. None really. They told me to eat whatever I wanted, they just can’t get me to eat that’s the problem. I pulled out the doughnut. I thought she was going to leap out of bed & take my arm off.
2 bites into the doughnut, a nurse comes in to check her blood sugar. Fat chance! Grandma glared at her. Well, you can prick my finger on that hand, but I ain’t putting down this doughnut, I don’t care what you say!
The rest of the day I spent mostly wondering when they were going to kick our family out of the hospital for…well, being us. To sum it up, my mom flirted with a doctor, my mom tried to get me a date with one of the cafeteria workers (& he may have asked me out), we ate ice cream out of a vending machine in the hallway (wtf?), my crazy great-aunt called me old then wandered around looking for jobs & I stalked a hot male nurse.