Posted By Kristabella on November 14, 2012
Last month, my lone surviving grandparent, my Gram, turned 89. We had a party for her at her house and had breakfast for dinner, something she loved. It was a great day and we all loved celebrating her long, long life.
Gram isn’t doing so well. She’s 89, it’s to be expected. A few months back, she stopped being able to use her walker and was now getting from room to room in a wheelchair. She couldn’t get up at night to use the bathroom or even reach over to the commode in her bedroom. My mom, who lives with her, would help her with all this.
My mom had a doctor’s appointment back in August in the early morning on a Saturday out in the burbs. She asked me to come over and help Gram out of bed, get her breakfast, help her do what she needed, etc. I was more than happy to.
In those few hours, just lifting her and moving her from one room to another (pre-wheelchair), I was exhausted. I didn’t know how my mom did it every day. It was too much for her to handle. I think all of us in the family knew it was probably time to start thinking about other options.
Gram had someone come to help during the day, but still a lot of it was left to my mom. I think my mom would admit the worst was getting woken up in the middle of the night when Gram had to go to the bathroom. My mom is no spring chicken. It was taking a toll.
Last week Gram was sick. Her blood pressure was sky-high and she was hallucinating. It worried my mom and my aunt. The paramedics were called and she was admitted to the hospital. After a day, her blood pressure evened out and her medication levels were normalized and they were going to discharge her.
Problem is, we knew my mom couldn’t do it anymore on her own. Gram going home was not the right place for her. After all this time, we all realized that it was time for her to go to a nursing home.
She moved in last Friday. I went to visit her on Saturday and she slept the whole time. She was so out of it. The only time she said anything was when she was yelling at the nurse, using swear words, something Gram never did.
By Sunday, my aunt had visited and said she was awake, but was super depressed and just talking about wanting to die.
In the move to the home, she hurt her leg and it was stuck in a bent position. It was causing her a lot of pain (hence the swear words) and meant that she couldn’t do much but lay in bed.
With her moving in on the weekend, with a skeleton staff, we knew it wouldn’t be until Monday until she could start physical therapy and hope to maybe get a bit stronger.
According to my mom, PT has helped her leg. She’s still weak and frail and can’t pick up the phone if we call. But we’re all hoping she gets better. Or as best as she can, since she’s 89 and has lived a long life.
This has been a really hard time for my mom and aunt. When we were younger, Gram’s brother-in-law was in a home due to dementia. He needed the care. My grandma and grandpa went to visit him often. And Gram always told us she would never go into a home. She’d rather be dead. She made us all promise we wouldn’t do that to her.
The place Gram is at is nice. All the people there are lovely. (Helps when you bring a two year old as cute as Maddie to charm the pants off everyone.) She is getting the best care.
But that doesn’t make it easier. We all know this is the right decision. She has to be in a place with 24/7 care with trained professionals. My 60-year old mom can no longer do this every night. None of us can. This isn’t what we are trained to do.
It has been so hard. It is so sad to watch your loved ones get old. I know this is what she needs, what is best for everyone, but it is still very hard to go through.
We are all banding together, making sure we can go visit her so that she’s never alone too much. It’s hard, especially with the holidays coming up. But this is what family does.
I love my Gram so much. I don’t want to think about my life without her in it, but that is childish of me to think. It is inevitable. I am so, so lucky to have had her in my life for 35 years. She has been such an important person to me and all of us. She is strong and stubborn and the best grandma anyone can ask for.
So I’m just going to enjoy her as much as I can as long as she’s still here.
I love you Grandma Just Grandma!