Monday, June 14, 2010

"Will You Think That You're All Alone When No One's There to Hold Your Hand?"

OK, I really need to start blogging again. A lot has happened lately, but tonight I'm just going to focus on what it's like to watch someone near the end of their life. You guessed it - it sucks!

Wednesday, Paw (my grandfather on my mom's side) had a heart attack...AND NOBODY CALLED ME. Thank goodness my 15-year-old cousin updates his Facebook frequently. Also, hospice got involved a few weeks ago...AND NOBODY CALLED ME. Are you noticing a trend here?

I went to the hospital after work Wednesday night. Around 11 they moved him to the cardiac ICU. We went up to see him, and the double doors were shut with visiting hours posted. When this issue came up, I responded, "Well, they're not guarding the door, so I'm going in." And I did. The rest of the family followed after I got the OK from the nurses, and we said goodnight and went home.

I spent a lot of time there Friday, but he wasn't really alert at all. He looked right at me Saturday, though, and he was talking some. He ate some today, so I think that's an improvement. We still aren't sure what's going on, but it's really hard to be there and be so helpless.

I didn't really cry until Saturday night at work. I was sweeping the walk-in and just started bawling. Luckily, no one saw. I've been doing pretty well with it. There are worse things than people dying in their late 70s I suppose. He hasn't really been able to do things for himself for the past few years because of the Parkinson's. But it doesn't make it easy, and watching my grandmother cry is quite possibly the most depressing thing ever.

My mom was really upset, too, for obvious reasons. And if something happens I want my dad there, which I'm sure will cause unnecessary drama. Sigh. Sometimes I feel like the only grown-up. But right now I just feel like a little kid, and I don't want to lose somebody I love, and I know it's going to happen and I can't do anything about it.

And, though I know it's totally selfish and inappropriate to say, it really irritates me that apparently it only matters if you have pain in my family and you're old. My mom was crying because of Paw being in pain. I understand that, of course, because pain and I are intimately acquainted. I don't want anyone to be in pain. But I've been in pain for the last two years. We had 9 people in Paw's room yesterday. Yet the number of times my family visited me during my 11 months in bed is less than 20. So I got a visit about twice a month on average. I don't mean to seem petty, but I need to get that off my chest.

I don't remember what it feels like not to hurt. I want so badly to feel something good, just for a little while. And I know I could take a few of these pills and probably feel as good as I'll ever feel, and I don't. I choose pain over pills almost every time, because I'm afraid of what happens if I choose pills. But I've been dealing with this for two years now, and to my credit I've avoided addiction, which I consider a great accomplishment because I'm doing this the hard way.

But nobody notices. Just the fact that I have pills freaks out my mom, who keeps insisting they need to take me off of them. They need to take me off of pain - then I won't need pills. I still have bad days where I have to take something to get through work, but most of the time I just suffer through it.

Then I look at my grandfather in the hospital, and he's not himself anymore. I know he's hurting, if not physically then psychologically. His medication gives him confusion, and I know he's scared and he probably feels alone. And I know there are things worse than death.

Trying to sleep now, which hasn't worked out for me lately. Here's hoping Dr. Williams can give me some valium or something so I can have some peace, if only for a fleeting moment.

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