Sunday, December 7, 2008

Weekend update

First, thank you everyone for the really nice comments about the last post, your support was paramount to maintaining my sanity in the last week.

Second, Grandma made it through the amputation.
I left the house Friday morning at 4:52 AM, it was like, scary dark outside and cold. I cranked up the seat warmers that I get to use about 5 times a year and scanned the radio for something good to listen to. I needed to hear voices, preferably something funny to get my mind off of things. An LA radio station that D listens to alot (I stick to NPR or CD's) plays "past moments" before they are live at 6:00 AM and I got to hear about an hour of an interview with Cheech and Chong.

I grew up listening to many *questionable*, possibly inappropriate things - one of the coolest aspect of having two hippies for parents. Cheech and Chong were part of the scene in our house, my parents spoke about them like they knew them and were just two crazy uncles that we had never met. Hearing their voices brought back some really cool moments I had spent with my mom and dad. There were nights we would sit around the living room and listen to Dr. Demento, Frank Zappa and Cheech & Chong, on the stereo.

After an hour into the ride, I had lost the signal to the radio station in LA - I was totally bummed. I hit traffic, fog and encountered several nut job drivers that were in touch with their inner evil Knievel. I arrived at the hospital an hour before Grandma was to be scheduled for surgery thinking that even if they took her a 1/2 hour early I would still get to at least *see* her.

I had just parked my car in the garage and was running into the lobby when my cell rang. It was my Uncle Larry who said "They just took her in". CRAP.... I literally missed seeing her by about 2 minutes. She was in an incredible amount of pain so they took her an hour early.

This hospital has a group of really nice volunteers who realize that the lobby is filled with people waiting on pins and needles for - ANY NEWS RELATING TO THEIR LOVED ONE. Two nice ladies came up and informed us of the drill, basically stating that they would let us know when Grandma was out of surgery. There was a piano player cranking out holiday tunes to try to mask the tension filled room. In an effort to calm people's nerves they had a therapy dog roaming around for people to pet. The odd fellow, accompanying the pooch, wore the largest shark or whale tooth around his neck, along with a fake beard, Santa hat and shorts that were about 2 sizes too small. I couldn't get into the whole - let's try to lift everyone's spirits. Maybe it's the Catholic in me. I went through this discussion with Jules the other day - there are places where you just need to be meditative and contemplative, Church, yoga and I am afraid the hospital lobby is one of them. Surgeons would pop in and out to update family members and it really reminded me of the last time I was at the VW dealership. Same premise, this is what was wrong, this is what we fixed - don't forget to grab a latte. It was odd.

My Aunt Patty joined us in the lobby and waited along with us. My Uncle is a bit of a celebrity at this hospital and is the only known member of Grandma's entourage. The flock of grey hairs came over to let us know Grandma was out of surgery. I was quick to point out to my aunt that the tone in their voice was not as *bubbly* as the previous update from the lady sitting a short distance away. I was certain that bad news was eminent and happy to be proved wrong. The surgeon came out and gave us the skinny: surgery went well, significant amount of blood loss but not too much and we should see her in a few hours. The hospital was jam packed and they were waiting for a bed for her. The surgery lasted about 3 hours, you know - the same surgery that my Grandma told me would last, at the very most, 45 minutes. I watched my Aunt and Uncle's expressions on their faces. While this news and my feelings and emotions were raw, from my perspective this was news regarding my grandparent. From their vantage point, news regarding their mom. There is a certain level of sensitivity that comes into play and chain of command to be followed. I am careful to make my love and support known while not stepping on toes. We were grateful for the doctor and feeling very thankful.

We all got on our cell phones to call other family members and my dad was quick to shoot an email out for those who were working. My Aunt left to go and see my Grandpa then Uncle Larry and I ran down to the cafeteria. Time went very slow in the lobby, I had my school books to keep my company while my Uncle spent time reading the newspaper and magazines. We would take breaks and start conversations, here and there. Noon rolled around and we decided that it was time to stretch our legs and that we shouldn't leave together, instead staggering our lunch breaks - he went from 12-1 and I would go from 1-2. At 1:45 PM I was headed back from lunch, walking up a very steep hill when the phone rang. It was my Uncle calling to tell me that Grandma was in room 511. YAY.

Finally, I get to see her. I walked up to her room and she was loopy from the drugs still. The blanket covering the area that once was a leg. We didn't talk about it.

We joked about the hospital food and the location of her room. She was located at the end of the hall - this would be good for the crowd of people she would probably have visiting her. Doctors came in and out to check on her. I left for dinner around 4:45 and told her I would see her Saturday. My Uncle stayed.

Grandma had refused to eat her cucumbers in her salad so I told her we could do a little spa treatment and place them on her eyes.

She is such a trooper and I am sure the drugs helped.

Saturday was a big day for her. I walked in her room and the blanket was pulled back so everyone could see the brace and wrapped up area where the open wound is. The (SUPER HOT) physical therapist came in and told her it was time to get out of bed. She laughed. He said "I'm serious" - or something like that - I was too busy drooling. He got Grandma out of the bed which she was certain she could not do. She was amazed and everyone that phoned her during the hour that she was out of the bed got to hear all about it. She is too cute. Tomorrow she goes to the hyper-baric chamber then off to rehab.

There is a whole other layer of personal, family drama that goes along with this and will be better left off of the world wide web - I just wanted to give everyone a huge verbal hug and say thanks.

Also - a huge shout out to Alex, Jon and Bailey for hosting me Saturday night and letting me crash at their home. I had a blast at dinner and cannot thank you enough for the hospitality.

Make it a great week guys!


Emily said...

That pic of your grandma is fantastic! Sounds like you two have similar spirits.

Hope this week is much better for you! xoxo

Wishing 4 One said...

SO SO SO GLAD that Grandma made it through surgery! What a trooper for real! She reminds me of my Gram and how I miss her SO SO MUCH! Its great that you all were there for her i am sure it made it easier for her.

Now be sure to go back when the hottie comes back to take to her therapy...Thinking of you Kara...xoxoxoxo

kate said...

Woo hoo for grandma! I'm thrilled that she made it out of surgery okay. It looks from the picture like she was in pretty good spirits. I'll have to remember that for the next time that I'm in the hospital- I always wondered what use the food was, since it was clearly 100% inedible. Now I know! Spa treatments!

I am sure she will be up and moving very soon, especially with the motivation of an attractive physical therapist! How lucky!

(And yeah. I listened to some questionable things when I was a kid, too. The fact that the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack brings back childhood memories should say something, I'm sure.)

annacyclopedia said...

So glad your grandma made it through the surgery with her humour and grit intact, and I absolutely love the photo! Sending warm thoughts for quick healing to her and peace to you.

And I couldn't agree with you more about the gravitas required in a hospital waiting room. That sounds really appalling, actually!

Emily (Apron Strings) said...

Luuuv the picture of Grandma! So glad she's got you and the fam to keep her laughing.

So sorry about the whole family drama ... but big props to you to be bigger than that!

Hugs, Em

Barb said...

Lots of hugs too! Sorry I haven't been around!