just ponderin'

… on happenings with a hospitalized Old Yankee Man

going home (2)

True Angel and Old Devil

The Old Yankee Man, also known as ‘Grampa’, is home.

And he is also bionic, because he has a brand-y new pacemaker.

I have to say, I’m pretty excited about this new piece of equipment.  For a whole host of geeky reasons (there may or may not have been a discussion about letting a certain me into a certain O.R. to watch the procedure, and I may or may not have leaned rather heavily on the rationale that he was going to be awake during it and I was an excellent translator because I speak Old Yankee Man fluently).

I was denied.

Where was I?

Oh!

Anyway the most important reason I am excited, of course, is that he is home and alive. I am very happy to hear any crankiness waft through the hallway between the apartment and my spot in the kitchen.

Also, he is watching NASCAR right now.

I know this because I can hear it all the way down the hallway.

Why can I hear it?

Have you not been listening?  He’s an Old Yankee Man!

He’ll wear his hearing aids when he is God Damned good and ready!

So now that he is home, I feel like I can share some of the more comedic aspects of spending two and a half days in the hospital with him.

What?

You thought we weren’t going to do this?

Oh, we are…

Funny Things That Happened When Grampa Was Hospitalized for Bionification:

1.  When I arrived at the hospital, Grampa had just made a flatline on his EKG paper.

I know this because the nurse handed me the paper and there were many up lines, and many down lines, and then a sort of long-ish flat line.

I looked at him and he said, “My heart just stopped.”

I told him it did not stop but it was not beating as quickly as it needed to.

He leaned up, looked me in the eye, and asked me what it means when his heart beats and then pauses.

“What’s the goddamn pause?!” he demanded.

I said it was in between beats.

He asked me what it was doing in between beats.

I said, “nothing”.

He looked totally vindicated.

“Told you.” he said, and relaxed back into the bed.

I wasn’t giving in because sometimes I need to be right, even with the Old Yankee Man and especially when he is being so ornery.

“Fine.” I said. “Then half the time, every single dang day, your heart is stopped.”

He said, “Don’t antagonize me, my heart just stopped.”

Point: Grampa.

…………………………

2.  Nurse comes in a few minutes later with a paper.  Says we have to talk about a DNR order because I am Grampa’s proxy.

She says she will leave so we can discuss it as a family.

JoHn arrives in the ER room where we are, because he has now parked the car.

I am happy because I need a witness, mostly so I don’t kill Grampa before we get the DNR thing set.

Because this:

Grampa: “What’s that now.”

Me: “Okay, it’s a DNR order so we have to talk about this okay?”

Grampa: “What is that?”

Me: “Well, if something happens, like if your heart stops for good,” (I leaned in to make the point that I am not talking about it stopping between beats) “do you want them to try to revive you?”

Grampa looks over at Granny.

Granny puts her hand over her eyes and turns away toward the wall and no she is not crying.  She is hiding.

I suddenly remember why I am legally Grampa’s health care proxy.

JoHn makes a very funny face and I try not to laugh because we are talking about a Do Not Resuscitate Order!

Grampa: “Well, I think we’ll just let things go. I don’t want all that stuff to wake me up.”

My Brain: “Liar.”

Me: “Hmmm. Okay let me tell you what I would do, you know, if it were me.”

Grampa: “Okay.”

Granny slowly looks over.

Me:  “I would let them try to wake me up. Because we don’t even know what’s wrong yet, and what if it’s a wicked easy fix? It would be a shame to, you know, die, and then find out later on that all you had to do was take a pill and you could live another few decades.”

Grampa: “Oh. Okay, that sounds like the way to go then.”

Just like that.

JoHn rubbed my shoulders and kissed my cheek and Granny thanked Grampa for making such a good decision and I was left thinking that I really need to find a profession where I can do this all the time.

Because saving lives is a piece of cake.

…………………………

3.  The orderlies come in to move Grampa from a very uncomfortable Emergency Room gurney type bed to a nicer bed with lots of electronics on it (and also, I guess, a comfier mattress).  Here is the scene:

A 190 pound, eighty-six year old man in a hospital gown that ties in the back but is not tied very well.

So the entire time that two hulky hospital orderlies are trying to lift him gently over to the new bed, Grampa is trying to tie the ties on his hospital gown.

So he is pretty much slippery.

And the orderlies are doing their damnedest just to keep hold of him and get him safely to the other bed because of two things:

1.  Grampa can’t hear them asking him to stop trying to tie his hospital gown because, even though the nurse said it would be at least three hours until he would be moved to a room upstairs, Grampa decided he should take out his expensive hearing aids and give them to Granny so no one could steal them.

and

2.  Granny has chosen this moment to decide that Grampa should take his shoes off.

Yes.

He was wearing his shoes.

His chunky clunky brown orthopedic shoes with two-inch velcro strips.

The velcro strips that Granny was now trying to rip open to remove Grampa’s shoes while the orderlies were trying to get him into the other bed and he was trying to re-tie the back of his own hospital gown.

I had nothing to do other than record these images in my brain so that I could share them with you right now.

…………………………

All that happened on the first night!

I don’t even have the energy to go into Day of the Procedure and Grampa’s Sprung! Day.  

But I will.

When I collect myself, I totally will.

And, no, that is not a threat.

It’s a promise.

In the mean time…

Thanks for readin’.

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Elena Peters

midlife blogger & pinterest master

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