I tried to brighten my alley with some oil paintings I inherited by hanging them on my fence posts for all to enjoy. They were painted by my Grandmother and recently taken out of storage.
Unfortunately, they were gone the next day.
Last Friday was date night. What do you do on date night? Go to the movies and then come home and make out, of course. Or miniature golf and heavy petting. We opted for the movies.
Saturday I went and visited my Grandma. She seemed to be doing better than usual. Which is scary because I know it can change on a dime and will ultimately make me more sad. But it’s great when I’m there and she seems to be alright (despite knowing the truth). So it was an enjoyable visit. Saturday night was sushi with my bro and his girl at The Sushi Boat (cool river, lame atmosphere, good sushi).
Sunday we tried out the over-hyped Snooze. Then we headed to the Rockies vs. the Cubbies game where I was torn with whom to cheer for.
Good god yall’ll. Wassa Shoobidy Doobidy. Woooo. Hoohaa. Jussa lil ole quick update ta letcha knows what’ve been upta.
It went well. I guess it went as good as it could go. It’s hard. And emotional. But it’s the best thing.
I heard from my mom that my Grandma’s behavior had become peculiar. I called her the next night. Her words were a little slurred, she seemed really tired, and after talking shortly about thanksgiving plans she aimlessly stated, “I’m glad you found the groceries.” I had no idea what she was talking about.
Later that night I got a call from Helga, my Grandmothers neighbor. She had been over to my Grandmother’s house when she began asking about where her husband was, my long dead Grandfather. I got a list of medications my grandmother had on the kitchen table from Helga.
The next morning I called my mother with the list of medications. My mother called my Grandmother’s doctor. Two hours later my mother called me from the car telling me she was going to take my Grandmother to the hospital.
That night I got a call from my mother. “There’s no need to come down to the hospital. You won’t be able to help down here.” she said.
My brother and I cut out of work early on Friday and went to visit assisted living facilities. We learned a lot. And felt a lot more comfortable about what we had to do. About how my Grandmothers life is going to / has changed. We visited some really nice places and some real shitholes. We spent most of Saturday doing the same thing. Meanwhile, the hospital was running a battery of tests with no definite conclusions: MRI, urinalysis, blood work, CAT scan and others. It wasn’t her medication or the small fall she took a couple of weeks ago (though, if she had a predisposition the fall may have progressed things). The doctors simply expressed she was 92 years old. This is what happens at 92. They lose themselves. And it’s sad because, along the way, we lose them too.
Sunday we went over to my mom’s house to discuss our options and go over brochures for the places that we visited.
On Monday my mom called telling me that her condition may be worse than expected and she will most likely need more help than we had originally assumed. Assisted living wouldn’t be able to provide the care that she needed. She would have to be in a secure environment – most likely an Alzheimer’s unit. Our choices were now narrowed down to two places we liked.
This afternoon we moved her into the place we liked best. We showed her around, pointing out things we thought were cool: the two cockatoos by the kitchen table, the jewelry box that sits out on the table for everyone to wear when they want to feel pretty, the nice courtyard, the room filled with chachki and do-dads, tactile things used to spark memories, and the little collie named molly who hangs out with everyone during the day. Mom, Grandma, my brother and myself sat down at one of the facilities tables for lunch. She was quiet as usual but seemed pretty lucid. She likes my hair curly but she had trouble grasping that this is where she’ll be living now. At one point my Grandmother spaced out while looking in my direction and I saw vacancy in her eyes. I had to turn away and watch the two cockatoo’s to keep from crying. It just wasn’t the right time to cry. This is going to be hard.
Over the past weekend, in between nursing myself to health (it’s not a big deal, a simple cold, I really haven’t meant to be all dramatic lately. Sorry.) I was able to fit in a good dinner with Soph, my brother, and Pandy. In addition, I was able to go down and visit my grandma for her 92 birthday. We did much the same as we did last year. We brought a plant and a bunch of grub from Boston Chicken. Grandma loves her some Boston Chicken. She was a lot more active this year than last, which just amazes me. Fucking 92. I’ll be happy if I circle that giant, exploding, luminary, central (in more ways than one) to our existence 70 times. She and my mom actually got a little chippy with each other and voices were raised. My mom apologized on the way home. I was just glad to see she had some fight in her. Actually, I’m glad to see there is some fight in them both.
I went down to Colorado Springs this weekend to visit my Grandma. She turns 91 tomorrow. We brought her a lucky bamboo plant in celebration. She normally doesn’t like us to bring any gifts for her. She believes it’s a waste of money. She doesn’t want anymore material possessions. In her eyes it’s just another thing that needs to be taken care of. As a result, she doesn’t really even appreciate them. This makes my mother angry. My mom thinks it’s more important to receive gifts as a validation of people’s appreciation of you. We brought over food from Boston Chicken. She didn’t consider this a material gift and ate it right up. I like gifts but rarely expect them. I almost always accept them.
I was born 30 years ago. My mother gave birth to me at age 25. I know this because on my 25th birthday my mom told me, “you are now half my age.” This disturbed me. It also means my grandma had my mother when she was 35. I did this math in my head on Saturday night. Thirty-five is much older than I expected. I would guess this was particularly old to be having a child during the 1940’s.
My grandma still lives by herself, in a two-story house. She takes care of all the bills. She cooks her own meals. She has a hamburger and vanilla ice-cream every Sunday. She fills her own gas. She does her own laundry. She drives herself to the doctor. The idea of her driving around makes me nervous. I think she’s too old to drive. She has a “neighbor boy” mow the lawn. She thinks he charges too much money.
My grandma was really quite during our visit. I don’t think she has a lot to say. And she is generally a very quite woman. Maybe she has trouble relating to us. She is not very social and she rarely has guests. I suspect her life is very quiet normally. Our visit was probably a little chaotic for her. It was really nice to see her again. I should call her more often, in fact, I will.