A post from some time ago.. I find that if I revisit these subjects I learn something new evertime I read...
Two weeks ago Ed's grandfather entered the hospital. At first we are very apprehensive and a bit scared to think about what he could he facing. It's not long till we find out that yes, he has colon cancer. Last year at this exact time we were faced with the reality that sometimes as hard as you fight with cancer sometimes people don't win. We lost Ed's mother one year ago on Sept.27th, after a year long battle with lung cancer. So as I enter his hospital room the familiar sights, sounds and smells overcome my senses and I can't help but go over every detail of the previous year.......the treatments, the decision and the helplessness felt when things are truly out of your control.
How can I do this again? I know it sounds horribly selfish, but do I have enough strength to survive this ... Can I actually be of any help or am I going to be so overwhelmed that I would be somewhat harmful to the entire situation? After all Ed's brother is showing signs of actually stepping up and handling his treatment.
I am relived, I can be the visitor who brings the "thinking of you" balloon and just try to bring a sale to his face for a little while. It's a much easier job than speaking with every Dr., spending countless hours at the hospital, making 100's of phone calls, meeting with social workers you name it.....If this was my chance to sit back , I think I'll take it.
While enjoying my new hands off approach to managing a family members health care , I had an appiphany . Somewhere during one of the 7 1/2 hours of waiting for Grand Pop to get done surgery. No wait I know exactly when it was, it was when I was telling my Brother in law what the surgeon had just told us that it hit me........It hit me because as I am trying to pull myself together to make sure he understands that we still have a long road ahead, that he while seeming to listen to what I was saying, he abruptly walks away and proceeds to BUTT into another family's business just down the hall. See this family was trying to figure out how to get through a set of doors into the ICU. While speaking into a speaker and such, I noticed this family's difficulty...While I was trying to explain Grand pop's condition. He walked up right behind these people and literally was looking over their shoulders like he was asked for help or something. I was embarrassed and kinda fealty like a fool because it took me a minute to stop talking as he walked away. After a few minutes he returns like nothing is wrong, and I finish giving him the specifics of OUR loved one's condition.
I have never professed to be an expert or a professional but throughout my 35 years I have had some first hand experience with doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals. I am proud when I can carry on an intelligent conversation and know exactly what the Doctor is talking about. And God knows, that if I don't understand I ask or I seek out the information, so that next time I will know what they are talking about. That being said brings me to my next revelation. As I tell him that it is essays to leave him hooked up to a ventilator , he does ask a question. " Is that a drain?" yeah .... "is that a drain?"
"drain? No he does have a drain on the right side of the incision but no, that's a machine to help him breathe" I answer
" What do you mean incision? They didn't go up his butt?" he asks puzzled.
"oh No, they had to remove part of his intestine, he has a good size incision right in the middle of his stomach"
I panic .....wait I let him be in charge of his medical care until now, Holy crap What have I done......
As I drive home I try to shake the "hospital headache" that I'm working on . ( definition of hospital headache: a headache brought on by stress and anxiety coupled with the fact that all you've had to eat or drink is something you had to punch in the numbers in on a vending machine, made increasing severe when having to deal with family members who don't know how to act in public.)
My darling bro in law calls and says he could not cash g-pop's SSI check at the bank. He asked if I know how his mother did it in years past when G-Pop could not make it to the bank. I reply , you just sign the back under G-Pop's name. No but wait he says that he never got G Pop to sign it. Basic Banking , Basic freaking Banking I cannot deal with him another minute. He's a 35 year old married father of one...with no idea how to cash a check.
This is the same person who after Ed's mother passed away took G-Pop to the bank and had his name out on all of his accounts so when the day comes he can take care of the banking when G-pop is no longer able to do so. Scary huh.
I can't help but feel that I must step in and be the help that I know G-Pop needs right now. I will fight my constant flashbacks to last year and the feelings that consumed a great deal of the last two years of my life. And I pray that I have the strength to pass on to grand pop during this difficult time.
To be continued.................