Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Better say it while I can

All four of my grandparents are alive. Both of my parents' parents are still living. My mom's parents are healthy and happy, but my dad's parents....

Gramps is a vegetable (has been for a number of years, now) and Grandma is dying.

The "bug" Grandma had that put her in the hospital and almost killed her over New Years' is back. It all started with a dry mouth problem five or so years ago. Grandma wasn't producing any saliva (or tears) and she couldn't swallow her food. So the doctor gave her fake saliva and tears that she could put in her mouth and eyes, respectively. And that worked for a little while, but she frequently got choked and finally, after two years or so, she finally decided that it wasn't worth it and she didn't want to eat anymore. So they put in a stomach tube. By then she was basically 100% sedentary. There's this little pump that they attach a clear bag to (that looks like it's full of vomit--sorta brownish-grayish-ew-yuck) and it slowly pumps the "food" into her stomach. It always used to come up her esophagus, when she got "full" and she'd spit up a bit. Turns out that it wasn't supposed to do that and that it was really pumping food up her esophagus and down her trachea. So one of her lungs has apparently been collecting this "extra food." Eventually, she got pneumonia, and a particularly aggresive strain, at that.

(That's why everybody who had been around her in the past month had to be quarantined.)

So that's why she was in the hospital (and nearly died) on New Years' Eve. They thought she was doing better, but she's back in the hospital, now. Seems that they weren't able to get all of the fluid out of her lung. She has one good lung, but the other is drowning. They intubated her last week and as soon as they did, 200cc of fluid came out. TWO HUNDRED CCs. (I've gotten used to the metric system, being over here, so it's easier to visualize than it would have been a year ago. Although, I still have trouble thinking of myself in kilos.) Apparently you can't intubate people for more than 27 or so days (I dunno why--probably too hard on the lungs), but when they tried to take her off a few days ago, she wasn't able to breathe on her own. And the lung filled back up with fluid. She can't keep her airway clear on her own.

So, basically, they expect her to die any day now. Aunt Betty has been relatively calm, this time around, so that right there means that this is it. Dad went and saw her (I think that's what he said) a week or so ago, and he thinks this is the end, too.

I don't know how I feel about all this.

I've had my grandparents--all of them--around for the past 23 years. I mean, 23 years is enough time to get used to something. So the thought of one (or all) of them not being there is strange to me. And although I always made a point of talking to Grandma whenever I saw her, making her feel that I wasn't blowing her off, just 'cuz I was young and there were more exciting things to do than watch the goo get pumped into her stomach, somehow it just doesn't feel like it was enough. And being 8000 miles away doesn't help. Most of me is just apathetic, but that's probably because it isn't very real to me, here. I remember once, when I was a kid, I cried because Grandma was going back home (she had been visiting us). And I find it strange that I can't bring back that feeling.

I dreamed last night that she died. I felt weird. And I woke up, and--as far as I know--she's alive again, suddenly. But it's not a "Yippee, she's alive!" but more of a "She's still alive (I see/understand)." Not in a bad way, but in an emotionless way. A detached way.

I think part of my emotionlessness is due to the fact that I'm so stressed-out here at work so often.

And it's the 1-year anniversary of Mary's death. I know, I know, EVERYBODY and their mother and their dog (as Carol would say) is gonna write about it, but instead of writing about the moment, or the tragedy, or the loss, et cetera, I'm going to talk about my experience.

It was a Monday night, and I had been at taiko practice. Ellen and Arian wanted to hang out with me afterwards, but everything was closed, so we hit the cafeteria that served my dorm. I think I had frozen yogurt or something like that and the three of us talked until midnight. They finally closed up the cafeteria, so we headed back outdoors. I said goodbye at the front of my dorm, and then headed upstairs. I unlocked the suite door, then went into what had originally been my room (I had broken into all the other rooms and made then into a guest room, a laundry/cleaning room, a day room, and my bedroom/eletronic chaos) and checked the phone for messages. There was one phone message.

The first time I heard it, I got the name wrong. I think I did it on purpose. Part of my brain didn't want the name to be right. I mean, I had seen her less than a month before, she couldn't be dead, right? The phone call was from Zephy. It ran something like, "I'm sure you know already, but in case you hadn't heard, I just wanted to let you know that Mary #$%!&$%#$ killed herself today. If you need somebody to talk to, you can call me anytime." The last name was garbled (in my mind?) and I thought he had said "Mary Johnston." I was upset, but relieved that it wasn't Bibs. But I had to be sure, so I played it again.

It didn't hit me at first. I just stood there, not thinking, not breathing, not understanding. I walked around my suite, repeating it to myself. And after a long, long while, it sank in. I cried and screamed alone in my dark suite. And all I could say was, "Why?" to which my deaf screams were no reply. I think I called Nina, or she called me, and I told her what happened. She offered to come over, but I wanted to be alone. Or maybe I didn't call her. Maybe I didn't talk to her at all. I can't really remember anymore.

The next day, I had Modern Japanese Literature with Dr. Satan. Apparently, we were supposed to have read a piece by a guy who commits suicide. Perfect. So Satan goes on and on about suicide, about how the guy kills himself by falling off a subway car, about authors who dealt with the subject who should have killed themselves but didn't...it just kept going on and on. (Keep in mind that this is the guy who told us just seconds after handing out our midterm, "By the way, did you guys hear that Mr. Rogers died last night? Okay, you can start your test now.") I obviously hadn't done any homework for Japanese class later that day, and I had to explain to the teacher what had happened. The really sick part? We had learned the week before how to say "to jump off a building and commit suicide." (ビルから飛び落ちて、自殺してしまう。)

All these coincidences that were just sickening had to happen on the same cursed day.

Never got to recap my awful experience, so there it is. Choppy, ugly, and a bit out of it 'cuz Grandma is dying. And I'm going to have another lonely Valentine's Day.

February sucks.

Latest Month

September 2006
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow