metro mama

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Limbo

*Clarification below.

Some of the neighbours came over for games last night. We ended up playing dominoes, which I had never played before. Dudes, the games is so much fun. Despite our best intentions of keeping it an early night, we stayed up ‘til 1 am. The game is addictive. Also, I’d be remiss if I did not tell you that I won – actually, I KICKED ASS!

Cakes punished me for my foolishness by waking up at 5:30. After much pleading, she went back down for another hour but then she was up and ready to give ‘er. Now it’s nap-time for both of us; we’re both exhausted and cranky.

All the socializing of late has been a good distraction from some sadness going on in my family. My maternal grandparents have been in a nursing home for some time now, and have not been well for a long time. A few weeks ago my Grandfather came down with pneumonia. He’s become steadily worse and has been in the hospital for the past 10 days. He has a living will and my mother discussed everything with him again a few weeks ago, at which time he reaffirmed he wouldn’t want any extraordinary measures taken. Now, he will never be able to eat or drink on his own again. The doctors asked him if he wanted a feeding tube and he said yes. The problem is, he is still considered able to make these decisions – even though he doesn’t fully understand the ramifications. He thinks the feeding tube will make him better.

So, it’s been a pretty hard situation. I hate how my grandfather is spending his last days. Worse is the effect it’s having on my mother and grandmother. Now it could go on for months. I feel pretty helpless – we go to visit, but they’re two hours away and it’s not easy to go often. Cakes doesn’t do well in the car, let alone the hospital. She is pretty good at the nursing home – they let her run the halls and she loves entertaining the lonely folks in the lobby. But we can only visit for about half and hour at a time, so it’s tough.

I wish there were more we could do.

* We did go visit last week and will again soon. I could go more often by myself, but it cheers them all up so much when I bring Cakes.

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17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about your Grandfather, and about how torn you feel about visiting. I don't think, though, that a feeding tube is considered an extraordinary measure (right or wrong) by the medical community. CPR and a respirator, yes, but not feeding.

If you want more information on living wills or advanced directives, you can check out http://www.utoronto.ca/jcb/outreach/living_wills.htm

1:02 PM  
Blogger penelopeto said...

I'm sorry to hear about this. It's not easy to watch the health of someone you love decline.

Go if you can at some point. I know it's not easy, and I sincerely hope that your Grandfather gets better, but you just don't know what tomorrow will bring. Two hours in the car with Cakes might be tough, but don't take the heartwrenching chance that the last time you saw your grandfather was the last time.

Trust me on this one.

Lots of love to your family.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I could do something to take your stress away Metro Mama. I worry about these same things now that my parents are getting on in age and how I will be able to support them from so far away. I'm sorry that you are having this tough time but I'm here to listen. Just be being involved and aware of what is going on is more than most kids/grandkids do - the good people wish they could do more (just like you).

1:17 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

Oh Metro, I am so sorry. It is so hard to watch these things happen to those we love. That is a really long drive, and I would be totally ok with Cakes ANY day, and although I sound like a grumpy bitch in my blog I am actually magnificent with children.
My parents both had living wills. And it saved everyone so much additional stress and heartache.
Tap into the offers of help if you can, I bet your presence does wonders.
And I totally agree with what PenelopeTO said.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear that things are so rough with your grandparents.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Lisa b said...

Oh that is such a difficult stressful situation I am so sorry you have to deal with this. I can imagine how much cakes cheers everyone up but that is so hard for you to take her for the long car ride and supervise her at the hospital. My thoughts are with you.

3:53 PM  
Blogger MrsFortune said...

Aww, I'm so sorry! That sucks. I hope everything goes okay, as okay as it can, in the situation. That's really tough.

Dominoes!!! That game is super fun. Better than scattergories if you ask me ...

5:22 PM  
Anonymous mamatulip said...

I'm so sorry about your grandfather. My thoughts are with him, and you, and your family.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

I'm very sorry to hear your grandfather is not doing well. I know how tough it can be on a family. I'm thinking about you tonight.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Alley Cat said...

I'm sorry. My prayers go out to you and your family.

10:27 PM  
Blogger something blue said...

My thoughts are with you and your family.

Cakes would bring joy to everyone. She lights up a room.

12:57 AM  
Blogger jen said...

i am sorry about your grandfather and the pain it causes you and those you love.

you'll figure out how best to move forward. you will.

1:11 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I am very sorry for what you are going through. It can be very difficult being in a different city than a dying relative. I went through it with all three of my grandparents (my paternal grandfather died before I was born), and it never got easier. My maternal grandparents (the ones who passed most recently so I have more clear memories) both had living wills, which, while helpful in some respects, do not change the fact that at some point you're in a situation where you know the end is inevitably close.

Take as many opportunities as you can handle to see them for you. Remember that he is still your grandfather and ultimately he wants what is best for you. If it hurts too much to see him like this, or you'd rather remember him differently, then don't let anyone pressure you into going. Everybody deals with this stuff in their own way. In the end, he's not going to begrudge you doing what is best for you.

Of course, being there to support your mother and grandmother is another consideration, but it is up to you to define the balance between supporting them and doing what is best for you.

7:11 AM  
Blogger Village Mama said...

I'm so sorry - I know that helpless feeling and I know how terrible it is to watch someone you love disappear before your eyes. My only advice to you is similar to that of Penelope - spend as much time as you want and can with him now. Afterwards, there will only be the woulda, coulda, shoulda game and it's not a fun one to play.

My thoughts are with you and your family.

12:03 PM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

So sorry to hear about your grandfather. I know it's not easy. I'm sure your grandparents are absolutely thrilled to see Cakes whenever you're able to bring her; children can bring such light into the heart when you're not well.

Hang in there.

4:17 PM  
Blogger nomotherearth said...

Mr Earth's grandad went through the same thing, and it was rough. My thoughts are with you.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

You know that I know exactly how you feel.

xoxox

3:17 PM  

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