On Wednesday, Grampa went into the hospital to investigate what it happening with him, and when Granny and I came home that night, we were both absolutely exhausted. For sure, it was a combination of emotional and physical exhaustion. JoHn had been traveling, and he ran out to get us Chinese food. We all had a glass of wine, JoHn was filled in, and we all talked and sighed and propped each other up.
Blaze showed right up to be and soothe. She coo’d and nuzzled and gazed lovingly into our eyes. We are her people. We are her job.
Marshal Dillon Dingle?
He brought us a ball.
And also dirt.
We were all amazed at how easy Grampa’s admittance to the hospital had gone. He’d actually seemed pretty psyched about it. No problem with the time, tests… nothing.
It wasn’t going to be that easy.
But the next day we woke up, and none of us had gotten a call during the night. We couldn’t believe it! We were showering and getting dressed and getting ready to head over to the hospital…
And the phone rang in Granny’s apartment.
And Granny came into the hallway between the apartment and our part of the house and she was all wHierded out.
They’d transferred Grampa to the third floor, she said.
Chest pains, she said.
We flew around the house, grabbing sweatshirts and coats and bags of stuff we were bringing with us and jumped into the car.
We got to the hospital, found the elevator, headed up to the third floor and grabbed the first nurse we saw who could direct us to Grampa’s room.
We got to the door and he was sleeping, looking so small in his bed.
He opened his eyes and saw us and went to sit up with a hardy, “Hey!” and a smile.
I looked at Granny with furrowed brows (and, I’m certain, a massive question mark that had suddenly appeared above my cranium).
“Hey!” I said, “What’s going on?”
“What do you mean?” He asked.
“Um…” I started, “We got a call that you were having chest pains and they rushed you up her for tests…”
He humphed and grumped and said…
“Pfffffft! I ain’t got no God-damn chest pains.”
Granny asked him what was going on, and he said that he … wait for it… must have – and I’m quoting here: “… itched his skin over my pacemaker and you know this damned place, you make one false move and they are throwing a hundred god damned tests at you and I just want to go home. Mother, get me my God damn coat because I’ve had enough of this!”
One: No way he “itched the skin over your pacemaker” and all this was going on (he’d just come back from an echocardiogram, and was having his blood enzymes checked regularly, and had another EKG).
Two: He was now absolutely pissed about the tests.
Three: I didn’t just topple off the turnip truck, Old Man. You are not getting out of this place that easily. We need answers and you have to hang out a little longer for us to get ’em.
Hello Mr. Hyde.
Ya, rhymes with Giblets (but is not related to poultry).
The term was introduced to me the night before, by the nurses in the ER, who deal with memory impaired patients all the time.
Fiblets are itty bitty lies (okay, sometimes wicked big lies) told to help them feel that they are in control, and/or safe, and/or not memory impaired.
The funny thing is that I’d been lying my ass off to Grampa for a wHile now. I don’t even feel guilty about it because he makes shit up all the time. I figure my own lies are just bringing much-needed balance to the household.
But now I have a wicked cool name for those lies, which is fiblets, and the best part is a nurse told me that term, which means it is medically approved.
So I began fiblet-ing.
I told Grampa that he was absolutely right, that this floor was an awful place to be and he needed to get back on to his regular floor where he wasn’t hooked up to stuff and could wear his own clothes (Grampa hates hospital jonnies, and who doesn’t?!).
He started going on and on about how incompetent everyone was on this floor, for sure.
So I said I was pretty hot under the collar that he was on this floor, just because he itched the skin over his pacemaker, and they were keeping him from his and his doctor’s original plan, which was to do tests downstairs and how dare they?
And Grampa said they were probably just doing it to get his insurance money.
So I agreed with that too.
Granny had stepped back into the corner of the room, out of Grampa’s eyesight and her look of horror at being asked to grab his coat for him, because he was heading home, was now replaced with this sort of wide-eyed wonder.
So Grampa and I started to talk about how this whole heart detour thing was going to make this hospital stay a lot longer and how stupid was that?
And then a nurse came in and Grampa said he really needed to get out of here, and the nurse came very close to him and sort of scrunched down in that ‘I’m on your level and I’m going to look right in your eyes and try to calm you sort of like one of those cobra hypnotizing guys’ way.
And she said, in a sicky-sweet sing-song voice, “Mr. Dingle, unfortunately you are not going home today.”
And I swear to Gawd that Grampa sat right up and insisted:
“WHAT-DA-YA MEAN ‘GO HOME’?! I DON’T WANNA GO HOME! I WANNA GET BACK DOWNSTAIRS TO MY REGULAR FLOOR SO I CAN GET BACK TO MY REGULAR PROGRAM!”
I almost laughed out loud.
I cannot remember being this tired.
But I also have a stubborn streak, and I’m willing to play dirty if it means I can save him even an ounce of fear, or give him back even a smidgen of a sense of control.
Two can play at this game, Old Man.
And I’m pretty motivated to win.
Thanks for readin’.
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I did finally catch up with the nurse on duty when Grampa was transferred upstairs.
Turns out that, at 4 a.m., the morning before, Grampa started insisting to everyone who would listen that he had told every single person in the E.R., when he was admitted (you know, where he charmed everyone around him and where Granny and I were with him the whole time? Yes, that, E.R.?), that he was having chest pains and no one was listening to him!
“I scratched the skin over my pacemaker. And those donkeys went all crazy with heart tests.” my ASS!