Sunday, August 7
Author: Liss Klemke | | at 8/07/2011 09:23:00 PM |
I'll apologise in advance as this is not my usual 'happy place' type post. Today has changed my life forever. I need to write this down not only to help me process the day but preserve this moment. Although it's not the best moment I need to remember them, you can't appreciate the highs if you don't have the lows. If you want to understand the relationship I have with my Nan, read this post first. It will help you understand what I'm writing here.
I was making portuguese tarts. My Nan loves them as do I, I and I was almost at the baking stage getting ready to visit with her with these little gems when the phone rang. I picked it up and heard the words 'Your Nan has been taken to hospital, she doesn't feel well'. I sprung to action. 'Girls, shoes on! I hopped in the shower, got dressed, turned the oven off and quickly did hair before we were burning down forest way towards the hospital. I frantically left messages for my Mum, my Dad neither of which I could get through to - feeling helpless - rang my Aunt - told her I would update her as soon as I knew anything.
I could hear my heart beating in my ears, tears silently streamed down my face. I worried her emphysema had taken another turn for the worst - each time it gets worse... I was beside myself with the thoughts of the unknown. Walking into the hospital and my legs couldn't carry me fast enough. I kept buzzing to be let into emergency but no one was coming. I was bobbing up and down and tears were welling up. I felt so helpless, let me in!
Finally we get in and I see her there sitting in the waiting room. I have never been so glad to see her. No oxygen? No bed? I hugged her, I kissed her, I hugged her again. I couldn't explain the tears, but then I saw her face. She was only half there. She recognised the frills but couldn't say their names. She didn't understand where she was. Something was really wrong. I was totally unprepared. I took my husband's car keys and asked him to stay there with her I needed to make a call.
I called my Aunt back - I told her to come quick, get on a plane, get here NOW. This was much more serious than even I had thought, and then my Aunt said it: 'Oh has she had a stroke?'.
'It guess so. I don't know. She's not herself, she doesn't know who the girls are. She doesn't understand what she's doing here' I'm thinking to myself 'this can't be happening to my Nan' 'My Nan is a quick-witted-funny warm and beautiful person - this isn't my Nan'. I had to excuse myself from the phone to throw up. It was clearly too much to take on.
I headed back inside and gained my composure. I had to for my frills and my Nan's sake. We took her through to a bed and then we were taken (after some time) to have chest x-ray and c-t scan. I explained to her calmly why we were having each procedure, why they needed blood tests and I think each time I explained it she understood. I worried how much she understood because as an occupational therapist of many years she's treated and helped so many stroke victims.
But then I'd have to remind her fifteen minutes later, where we were, why, what was going on, who the nurses and the doctors were. She was trying to engage me in conversation, ask me questions but half-way through - she would scrunch up her face and it was like it was inside her head and couldn't get utside her mouth. Then all of a sudden she would say 'Now I want you to go home soon, your babies will be missing you'. It was all so sad.
The results of the scan came in and it was confirmed she'd had a 'small stroke'. Didn't seem so small to me but when I consider that she could walk, and lift and was outwardly mobile - I suppose it is. Doctors worked out how to medicate her (basically blood thinning) and then we got confirmation she was being admitted and would be there for at the least a few days. The doctor couldn't give me any indication how much she would or even if she would recover. How could they say that? Why can't they fix it? What happens now?
And that's exactly what my Nan said to me. Over and over. 'What am I going to do now?'. 'We'll figure it out together, lets see what the medication does first' I said reassuringly - but honestly I was screaming out that question on the inside too. The doctor asked my Nan what her name was. She couldn't say although she knew. She couldn't recite her date of birth and she tried to write down her address, and instead wrote her lung specialist's name. Too heartbreaking.
What do we do know? I just don't know. I just have to hope for the best. Never felt so helpless.
So then we got moved up to her ward and it looks over the harbour which is some consolation. The nurse was lovely and again, asked the same questions: Name: no. Address: no. Date of birth: no. Where are you? no. Who is this person sitting next to you?' The only question she answered the whole entire day: 'That's my beautiful grand-daughter, Melissa'.
I lost it. I could hold back tears no longer. The woman cannot recount her own name, but she can mine. I have never felt so loved in my entire life. I mean that. Soon afterwards my hubby arrived to pick me up. I got in the elevator, I was a little relieved to go home and I wanted to hug my girls and have something to eat and call my Mum (Nan is her Mum).
But that was not to be. I was trapped in the elevator. For 45 minutes I was left alone with my thoughts, my day and the overwhelming feeling of helplessness. Security came, hospital management came, police came, then the fire brigade rescued me. (Thank you twitter mates for tweeting me through it all). There was seriously 15 people there waiting for me when I eventually got out. I took the stairs out of the building and then had to go back to A&E where I spent all day to be 'looked over' before I could leave.
Now I'm home. I'm wondering what tomorrow holds. I'm trying to be hopeful, but feeling helpless. I cannot control the outcome of this one, no matter how much I love this woman, my angel I can't reverse the last 12 hours and I really wish I could.
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