Sunday, August 7

Helpless



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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45 lovely comments:

Jayne on August 7, 2011 at 9:28 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

So sorry this has happened to your nan. She sounds lovely <3 Sending love and light for her recovery.

Anonymous said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

My Thoughts and praywers are with you and your family <3

reality raver on August 7, 2011 at 9:31 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Big hugs. Horrible for you, horrible for you Nan.

MJ on August 7, 2011 at 9:31 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I'm so sorry this is going on in your life :( My grandfather had a stroke 4.5 years ago, it was horrible to watch, but amazing to watch him come so far afterwards too... there is some light there <3 Wishing you healing as well as her, it's traumatic to watch xxxxxxx

Kerrie Czernia said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

oh Liss, I am so sorry to hear about your nan, your being trapped and the feelings today has brought to you. I hope that she improves quickly over the next few days. xxx

•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• on August 7, 2011 at 9:32 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

So sorry your Nan is unwell and that you are all going through this uncertainty too. It must have been stressful trapped in the lift too. Nan is in a great place for treatment and hope they have answers soon,and she has a smooth recovery.

kim at allconsuming on August 7, 2011 at 9:33 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

OH BLOSS - forgive me my awfully naive tweet about when you were stuck in the lift. I had no idea.

I remember when my Nan had her first stroke. That awful awful face they have - it's almost childlike. Bewildered but still them, but not them at all.

My heart is hurting for you.

I have mini bread & butter puds. I shall drop some off for you tomorrow.

xxxxxK

NannaMel on August 7, 2011 at 9:35 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I am sorry you are going through this. Wishing your nan a speedy recovery and I will be keeping you and yours in my thoughts and prayers xxx

Christie on August 7, 2011 at 9:35 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Sending much love and strength your way Liss. (I broke down at the part where your Nan said "my beautiful granddaughter").
Thinking of you xx

Charelle said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

OMG u poor thing - hope it gets better soon - look after yourself xxx

Kristie on August 7, 2011 at 9:42 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Oh Liss... much love and strength to your whole family, and to you..

Aneets on August 7, 2011 at 9:48 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

What a horrible day. Thinking of you all and hoping your nan is ok.

robyn on August 7, 2011 at 9:51 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Oh this made me cry! We lost my Grandma last year and she was just as wonderful as your Nan sounds. Hubs and I bought the house next to her so we were very, very close. I'm praying- and remember it may not be that bad! So sorry for you and I hope like anything that she will improve and things will be okay for your family.

Carol said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Lord God Almighty, release Your tender mercies upon this family! Pour out lavish abundant overflowing waves of healing upon Nan. Grant her PEACE, calm the storm of confusion raging around this event in her life. Grant to the family HOPE, as we know NOTHING is impossible for You, with You ALL things are possible.I speak LIFE to Nan's body! LIFE, LIFE, LIFE into every part of her being!!!She shall live and not die. Lord, revive, restore, renew the blood vessels, cell structure, damaged nerves in Nan strengthen her body to the days of her youth. Turn the family's sorrows, pain, confusion into JOY...it is written, the JOY of the Lord is our strength. May the coming days be filled with JOY as you and your family make the journey with Nan and see before your very eyes the healing coming upon her body!!! May the Lord BLESS each of you beyond your wildest imagination and may you all proclaim the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!!! Thank you JEsus for what You are doing for this family!!! Amen

Lisa said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Oh wow, what a day! I have no words but am sending you and your nan love, hugs and best wishes for the days and weeks ahead!

happyreader said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Sorry to hear your family is going through this difficult time. Hope it helps to know people care. x

jenny on August 7, 2011 at 10:15 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Okay, strokes are terrifying and it is completely awful for your nan and your family to be going through this but I want you to know that my Dad had a stroke 3 years ago and when i first got to Manly hospital to see him he was so lost and confused that my world fell apart - but he recovered and while they thought he might not be able to drive a car he does - at 80 he even sails his yacht around the harbor. Hold on to hope.

Becci Bird on August 7, 2011 at 10:15 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

So sorry to hear what you've gone through. Its a shock to see your Nan in that lost world, I remember when my Mum had her stroke 16 years ago and though she never regained all her memory it was never as bad as that first day. She passed away 6 wks ago at age 86 but always retained her dry wit and stubborness to the end. My thoughts are with you and your Nan.

Jen on August 7, 2011 at 10:18 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

thinking of you, your nan and your family at this time xx

Ms Styling You on August 7, 2011 at 10:20 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Oh Liss, I went through exactly the same thing with my Nan earlier in the year. Except the getting trapped in the lift thing. It was so awful watching her not being able to answer the most simple questions. And being afraid because she didn't know where she was. Thinking of you and your Nan xx

Samelia's Mum on August 7, 2011 at 10:20 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I feel for you and your family. It is heart wrenching to see a loved one who was vibrant and clever, forget the simplest things.

Wishing your family lot's of well wishes xx

Sarah Stewart on August 7, 2011 at 10:20 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

So sorry. Hope your Nan improves and you get happy news. X

MANDI on August 7, 2011 at 11:15 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Thinking of you and your family and sending every good wish for your Nan.

allison tait on August 7, 2011 at 11:27 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Oh Liss, what a terrible day. Sending love and all extremities crossed for tomorrow. x

Glowless @ Where's My Glow on August 8, 2011 at 12:02 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

How much must you light up her life for you to remember your name. Amazing. Sending you and your family love, Liss.

Chantelle {fat mum slim} on August 8, 2011 at 2:43 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I am thinking of you and your beautiful Nan. x

DV on August 8, 2011 at 5:56 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Oh :( My heart goes out to you and your family.

Kirsty S said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Thinking of you and your family and hoping that your gorgeous Nan makes a good recovery.

Anonymous said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Oh I'm so sorry :( . I hope your Nan recovers realy well.

Anonymous said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Just wanted to say that my thoughts are with you and your beautiful nan xxxx

Super Sarah on August 8, 2011 at 8:41 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Thinking of you and your family and your beloved Nan, so sorry to hear the news Liss. Take care of yourself now, you need your strength xx

Permanently twenty three on August 8, 2011 at 8:46 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

So sorry Liss, I hope your nan is OK. xx

Deb_in_oz on August 8, 2011 at 10:10 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

So sorry to read this today Liss. Sending your family all the strength you need at this difficult time - and sending your Nan an extra dose of strength and improved health!

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo on August 8, 2011 at 10:32 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I cared for my nanna through a few strokes.

And then I had my own.

So I know from both sides.

Sending you all my love, I understand how you are feeling.

Bake those tarts.

x

Melissa on August 8, 2011 at 11:28 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

As trite as this might sound (I don't mean it to be) my thoughts really are with you and your beautiful Nan.

I hope that it was caught early enough for SOME of it to be regained. I hope she can make sense of it.

I hope she is ok. I hope you are ok. I was so worried about you last night, and that was without even knowing WHY you were at the hosptial. It's so much worse now, knowing what you had already been through.

Sandra Reynolds said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Sweetheart, I well know the agony of bedside vigils and I send you much strength and love while you and your family walk through this time together.

The good news is that slowly, very slowly, the odds are in your Nan's favour. As her brain injury heals a little some part of her recall may well re-emerge. The immediate symptoms will lessen. Her spirit and strength will undoubtably re-appear.

In the meantime, take time out for you. Know that you have thousands of well wishers who are sending you their thoughts and prayers and good wishes for you and your family. Take strength that here, in this place, you can be you, no matter the moment.

Lots of love and light to you,

Sandra ($120 Food Challenge)

katepickle on August 8, 2011 at 11:38 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Oh Liss... how heart breaking. Sending love and strength for you all

edenland on August 8, 2011 at 12:54 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Crying for you, my beautiful Liss. Sending you my love and thoughts and best wishes. Can't wait to see you again.

What a double whammy from the Universe yesterday. Bloody hell. Really hoping your nan's memory loss is temporary.

Love love love XOXOXOXOX

Jane on August 8, 2011 at 2:12 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Liss, I honestly don't know what to say. I read this post and got goosebumps. You and your nan are so lucky to have each other xxx

Leimay on August 8, 2011 at 7:44 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Oh Liss, i am so very sorry you are going through this, as a fellow grand daughter of a stroke victim, things can get better and i hope and pray that your nan regains her memory.

Cass said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Big love to you and your fam Liss. Wishing your Nan swift improvement xxx

Laney @ Crash Test Mummy on August 9, 2011 at 11:41 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Your Nan is so lucky to have you close by Melissa. Stay strong and best wishes.

Sannah on August 9, 2011 at 1:26 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

So sorry to hear what you are going through, it must be incredibly difficult for you. My grandparents were all quite a bit older, and the last one died in my early teens, so I was never close the way you are to your nan. so touching that she could remember your name, but not her own. Sad, but very special. Hope the news improves for you.

Amy on August 9, 2011 at 9:05 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Liss, I am so behind in the blog world at the moment. My thoughts are with you and your family.

My grandad had a stroke after heart surgery in January, I kind of get what you are feeling. I wish your nan a speeding recovery. My Grandad is doing well after his stroke and seems to have minimal long term damage (he is 73).

shirls on August 9, 2011 at 9:16 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Thinking of you and yours Liss. Your Nan is in good hands. And as she improves, given her strength of charachter and her profession she will have great insights into how and what, an OT for a Nan makes her a super-nan! I am an OT too (at RNS), feels like one of our own, much love to you all. Xx


 

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