Yesterday, as I was ho, ho, ho-ing down the hall (side note: Don’t try to mimic a Bawston accent there – taking away the ‘r’s, thinking you are all sorts of cleaver. I was not ‘whore, whore, whore-ing down the hall. I was festive, dammit).
Yesterday, I was making my festive-during-the-Christmas-season way down the hall when I ran into Granny, who was coming out of the laundry room surrounded by Blaze, Marshal Dillon Dingle, and Fred, who were, I can only assume, attending Laundry School.
It was about 12:45, not the normal time I would see Granny exiting the laundry room, so I asked her if she was just pre-nap, or recently post-nap. And Granny’s ‘hi, how are ya’ smile turned more serious and she said that she’d been up all night.
Because Grampa fell again, at 2 a.m.
Before you worry too much, or think I am being insensitive…. he’s fine.
And I know what you are assuming, because you are a kind, sensitive person who does not have one Robert James Dingle as your Dad-in-law.
You’re thinking that he must have fallen getting up and heading toward the bathroom at 2 a.m. You probably have a frown on your face (or a frown feeling in your brain) and are thinking, ‘Poor, fragile, Old Yankee Man’.
He was up at 2:00 a.m. because, regardless of the fact that his rather long recent hospital stay – the one that he had after he broke his freakin’ neck – might have had the benefit of helping him curb his odd sleep/wake schedule (which he said he really wanted to do), it has not.
Also, it seems that Grampa – who turned eighty-five last Sunday – did a little inferring from his last doctor’s appointment.
Let’s look at these two situations one at a time, shall we?
Hang on, I need another cup of coffee.
Okay. I’m back.
Situation One: Why is Grampa up at 2:00 a.m.?
What Grampa will tell you: He is up at 2:00 a.m because, for some reason only known to (insert Deity of your choice here (and notice I capitalized Deity to imply reverence)), he has an odd sleep-wake cycle. He gets up, watches some tv, has a drink because he is ‘parched’ and then heads back to bed. Then he wakes up at about 8:30 each morning to start his day.
The truth: Grampa is up at 2:00 a.m. due to copious amounts of caffeine consumed between the hours of 11:00 a.m. (when he really wakes up, vs. the 8:30 he will tell you he gets up every. single. day.), and 11:00 p.m. when he really goes to sleep (though he will indeed take a nap at about 7:00 p.m. – which is when he falls asleep in front of the television for about an hour, and insists that is not a nap. That he takes. Every night.) He wakes up at 2:00 a.m., drinks more coffee (that doesn’t count to him because it is “leftover coffee” that he leaves, conveniently, on the corner of the counter that is located directly in the path between his bedroom and his favorite chair), eats a snack that mucks with his blood sugar, and then goes back to bed between 4 and 5:00 a.m.
And I know this, because I live in the same house, and I can see the lights on in his apartment if I get up to use the bathroom – not to make toast or watch TV – at 2:00 a.m. Also, if I didn’t get out of bed at 2:00 a.m., I would still know that Grampa was up because he has hearing aids, which he does not put in, so I can hear the mosquito-tones of his taped Nascar races, clear as a bell, from my bed, which is located an entire apartment, two closed doors and a whole entire floor away.
And I know Fred isn’t watching Nascar at 2:00 a.m.
He prefers Animal Planet.
Situation Two: Did Grampa take a little liberty with what his doctor said at his last appointment?
Note: I was not at this particular appointment, as I was trying to support Grampa’s independence. Granny went, and had a notebook and a pen. Because I made her take both. Because I do not trust Grampa.
What Grampa will tell you: He walked into his neurosurgeon’s waiting room, checked in, headed into the x-ray room, flirted with the x-ray technician, and she smiled and laughed and slipped him her number. Grampa and Granny then headed into the neurosurgeon’s office, laughed and smiled as the neurosurgeon declared Grampa a medical miracle, told him he didn’t have to wear his plastic collar any more, go ahead and drive, and asked him when he was scheduling his next triathlon.
The truth: Grampa’s neck has truly healed beautifully. But this man has been unsteady on his feet since he was in a motorcycle accident in his late twenties, and was hospitalized for a long time because he ruined his knees and other things, which is where he met Granny because she was the only nurse who would put up with him (all true).
So when I say that he is the same as the day that I met him, I’m not kidding in many ways. For the purposes of this explanation, let’s focus on the fact that he has had bad knees (both now replaced), a bad back, and achy hips since I met him thirty years ago. So you can imagine how slow and unsteady he would be if he… oh I don’t know … broke his freakin’ neck, underwent surgery, hospitilization, and rehabilitation, all at the ripe old age of 84.
So when the doc said he could take off his collar, and he had no restrictions (e.g., driving, etc.), Grampa seems to have inferred – from that single declaration by a neurosurgeon – that he is actually in way better shape than he was before his accident.
His motorcycle accident.
Fifty years ago.
Why do I think this? Because he immediately ditched the walker he had used since surgery, decided not to do any of his physical therapy exercises, went back to using his cane – lied about how unsteady he was with his cane (even though we could see him), would not listen to Granny’s alternate view of what the doctor said and/or meant – and, about a day later and in a fit of “I’ll show you people!” got in his car, drove to Walmart, and stayed out for four hours.
Oh. And he has fallen – twice – since his Doctor’s appointment two weeks ago.
And since he bounces, nothing is broken (not even bruised).
But right now, he is at the Doctor’s office with my Nearly Perfect Husband. We have asked the Doctor to be a little bit more specific about what he meant when he said, “You can take your neck brace off”. And, this time, John will be a witnesses to what is actually said.
Because it probably doesn’t mean that Grampa should go straight to hanging out at Walmart with his posse for four hours.
Or competing in the Iron Man.
At least this year.
Thanks for readin’.
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