family, holidays, illness

This isn’t what I set out to write. But it was the right thing to write.

Well, I said that details would follow, so here they are:

There are a few reasons that the blog has been light on content and heavy on the random and silly lately. For starters, I’ve basically been sick since the middle of April. It started with an allergic reaction to a frozen dinner (why can’t “chicken” just be chicken anymore? Why do they have to put soy in EVERYTHING?), which combined with yo-yoing Ohio temperatures, dry weather, and an extremely high pollen count that ended with bronchitis. Now normally, bronchitis, which is caused by a virus, works itself out and goes away on it’s own after three weeks. In my case, however, it decided to linger. I finally went to the doctor and was given medication, which has made me feel much better but tends to make me a little shaky and tired. Still, not as tired as coughing 24/7 did. It did make knitting a little difficult, though.

While all of this was going on, my grandmother was admitted to the hospital for internal bleeding. They kept her for a few hours, then sent her home. The same day I called my mother to get the phone number for the doctor’s office, she told me that Grandma had been re-admitted for severe dehydration. Again, several smaller problems snowballed, and she was two points away from being on dialysis. That night, I came home to find an email that she had stopped eating and drinking, and was not in a good way.

I wanted to go see her, but I also didn’t want to be in a hospital while hacking up a lung. So I took a day, went to the doctor, got my meds, and then spent the day in front of the tv.

Then I went to see her.

Everyone was surprised to see me, since they knew I was sick (when everyone you work with tells you to see a doctor, you know you are ill). But I couldn’t stay away.

On February 14, 2002, my maternal grandmother had a stroke. It was the middle of the school year and she lived in Canada, so my parents went up to see her and I stayed behind to go to school. They were gone a week, and when they came back we started making plans to visit over the summer. Grandma Ray made slow improvement and was starting to regain some of her functions when in early June, she had a second stroke, robbing her of the little progress she’d made.

When she was first admitted to the hospital, they took her off her medication because of the risk of stroke. Without the ability to speak, she couldn’t communicate the things she was seeing to the doctors or to my mom or uncle.

She was a paranoid schizophrenic.

On June 20 we got a call from my uncle that she had gone off food. We called and begged her to eat. It was enough to get her to take a few bites. On July 1, we got the call that she had passed, after once again going off food. We were at my other grandparent’s house, celebrating my 15th birthday.

So, when I found out that my grandma–the only one I have left–had also gone off food, and during the same season, exactly ten years after my other grandmother, well, I was scared. And I just want to say thank you to everyone who thought good things for her. She’s doing much better now and we are cautiously optimistic about the future.

My maternal grandmother was an avid knitter, crocheter, and sewer. She was a strong woman who didn’t sugarcoat the truth as she saw it, and even though she had her problems she loved her family and did her best to do right by them.

I believe that there are two kinds of relationships that people have: There are people that you are close to because you spend a lot of time with them, and there are people you are close to because you fit together, because your personalities mesh. Similar to soul mates, but these relationships are not necessarily romantic in nature and can be between a parent and child, friends, siblings, coworkers, or pen pals.

If there is one person in the world that I could spend an afternoon with in heaven, it would be Grandma Ray. Because she lived so far away, I only saw her once every few years and most of my knowledge of her is anecdotal. I wish more than anything I’d gotten a chance to know her better.

Grandma Jerry has been there since I was born. She was my first babysitter and according to rumor had me trained at the age of two to smile and pose for the camera whenever one was produced. It’s thanks to her that I have a bit of an addiction to Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, since we would watch it every evening when I was at her house, me laying on the floor on my stomach and her in her trademark orange recliner.

From her I have inherited a love of tea, a hatred for cooking, and a passion for history. I wish I had her orderly, tidy nature as well, but I’ll have to settle for organized chaos and a passing acquaintance with the vacuum cleaner and the dishwasher.

In case you have forgotten, this Sunday is Mother’s Day. Thank your mother, and your grandmother, and your great-grandmother if you’re lucky enough to still have her around.

Grandmas are important people. Make sure they know it.

1 thought on “This isn’t what I set out to write. But it was the right thing to write.”

  1. Your grandmothers would be proud of you and very well pleased with the nice tibute you wrote to them. I can tell even though you had problems who meant and means the most to you.


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