Saturday, April 7, 2012

My Granny

Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life. -Albert Einstein.

My granny was {it's going to take some time to get used to speaking of her in past tense} an amazing woman who loved unconditionally with all of her heart. She and I were very close. We shared many great things and I cherish the things I have learned from her and those that I have gained genetically. I am STRONG like her. I am WITTY like her. I am KIND like her. I am SARCASTIC like her. I will learn to LOVE like her. I always joked with her that she was my "fragile granny". She was everything BUT fragile for much of her life. When I was pregnant with Chyenne I would take her to the store (the only task she didn't do on her own was driving) and she would gripe at ME for carrying her groceries for her. She was in her late 70s for goodness sake! She was tough.

Please bare with me, as this will probably get quite long.

Last year (2011) in November, my granny fell. She NEVER fell. She was NEVER ill. She NEVER complained of anything. But we came home to find her on the floor, face down on the hard tiles, screaming in pain, surrounded by blood. We thought the worst and called for an ambulance. I didn't know at the time that this would be the first step of my granny's rapid decline. The ambulance came and brought 2 {very rude, uneducated} EMTs along. They did NOT check her blood pressure or any other stats. They needed HELP from US (my sister, mother and myself) to lift her to her chair. She was only 130 lbs!!! She had a broken nose from her fall and her knee hurt really bad but the EMTs told her that it was just bruised and not broken. She was in pain, but didn't tell us. She said "well if they don't think it's anything to worry about, I am FINE!" Stubborn ole lady. I get that from her too.

So the next morning, she couldn't MOVE! Her knee was swollen to three times it's normal size and she had used the restroom on herself during the night because she was too prideful to call for help. We called an ambulance again and they took her straight to the hospital.
She had completely BROKEN her knee. My poor granny. She suffered ALL night because some EMTs didn't do their job! AH! So, because of her age (she was 80) she could not go through with knee surgery until they performed a heart cath on her.

She went in for her heart cath and before they were finished, they came and told my mom that my granny would be transferred immediately to St. Joseph's hospital for open-heart surgery. ALL of her major valves were at least 70% blocked. We panicked. But Granny didn't. She was as calm as could be. She said "I am GOING TO BE JUST FINE" and she was. She made it through her quadruple bypass amazingly. She was SO STRONG. Even with her broken knee, broken nose, bruises, and now broken chest, she was STRONG! She healed from that much sooner than the doctors expected. I AM SO PROUD of her. She is such an inspiration.

Less than a week later, still recovering from her major heart surgery, she went in for surgery to FINALLY repair her knee. She amazed the doctors once more and was recovering quite well. Again, my granny was strong. She was tough and she fought hard!

Following her surgeries, she was doing therapy for both in order to COME HOME! BUT the doctors suggested that she go to a rehab facility to GET WELL. So, we made arrangements for her to go to a "rehab" place at a local nursing home. Biggest mistake and regret ever. She spent Christmas 2011 there. She soon got bronchitis and then pneumonia that sent her back to the hospital. Before she was completely over that, she was discharged from the hospital and back at the "rehab". We celebrated her 81st birthday in the "rehab" place with cake, family, and lots of love! With only a MONTH at the "rehab facility", we noticed a BED SORE on granny. We took her out and she went to live with my sister Jennifer (who stays home with her kids all day). Home Health Care came every couple of days to check on Granny. Her spirits were up and we were determined to get her better! She was doing well despite not being able to walk unassisted.

Then she took a turn for the worst and was back in the hospital for her bronchitis. Oh my sweet granny. She was beginning to look OLD... she was beginning to look FRAGILE! I could barely stand to see her like that. She came home once again on breathing treatments and we were once again determined to get her better. THEN, she took another step downwards. Her bed sore, despite being cared for every day, was getting much, much worse. She had developed an infection in her bloodstream. She went back to the hospital with extremely low blood pressure. Oh my granny. When I got to the hospital with her she said "Now all of my girls are here, I can go home". Tears welled up in my eyes as I stared at my FRAGILE granny surrounded by my mom and two sisters. She looked so weak. She was in ICU and the doctors explained to us that this was probably the end of her life. So much pain, so much heart ache. I spent much time with my granny in ICU. We talked, we laughed, we cried. She told me that I was "her strong one and I shouldn't cry". What do you say when you're sweet granny is lying in bed, ready to die!? Oh my. BUT something clicked and granny started to GET BETTER! She was TOO TOUGH to let all of this get her down. She had been through SO much in just a few short months. It was February now, just 4 months from her fall. :( WAY TOO FAST.

So she was sent home from the hospital once again. We just KNEW she would GET BETTER! She had been SO TOUGH and despite having so many hurdles to overcome, she DID! She kept doing better. BUT her bed sore kept getting worse and her body stopped fighting for her. Her white blood cells were not performing and her medicine was not working. Home Health Care sent the wonderful people of Hospice to us. She wasn't going to make it. We didn't know then how long she would have. We hoped for much, much more time than God gave us. BUT we cherished the last bits of time with her. Her grand children (myself, my sisters, our cousins) and great grandchildren (my kids, my sisters' kids, my cousins' kids) spent much time with her. It was precious time that we will never forget.

Then, late one evening, she called us all to my sister's house because she knew it was time to "go dance with Jesus". We waited, we prayed, we held her hands and kissed her head. She didn't eat for 3 days. She slept a lot and her blood pressure got lower. We had promised to keep her out of pain, so that's exactly what we did, with the help of her wonderful Hospice nurses. For several days, my sisters, mom and I waited with her. We held her. We loved her. She got really sick. She began releasing her bowels without knowing and vomiting profusely (in my hands because it was so sudden). I held her and apologized for her being so sick and in pain. She cried. Then she got some better the next day. We called family to see her to say goodbye. She laughed, she cried, she gave advice (to me she said "if the oil gets too hot, turn the heat down"...... hmmmm). She then slept. Her Hospice nurses gave her a maximum of 72 hours to live and I didn't go back home. I stayed with her. I held her hand and talked to her. Her breathing slowed and got deep. She was no longer talking or waking. She just slept. She trembled and then got the most peaceful look on her face. I knew she was going home. I called my sister and mom into the room. We all knew she was going home.

My oldest sister and I held her hands and my mom {quite frantic} listened to her heart beat its last beats with a stethoscope. Her breathing slowed and slowed and she never breathed again. She's not in pain anymore. She is watching over us now. She passed at 9:22pm on March 23rd, 2012. Just 2 days before Chyenne's birthday.

Oh my sweet fragile granny. Our time together was not enough but my memories will last a lifetime.  We buried her on Monday, March 26th in a plot that she had beside her parents and brothers. RIP my granny. I love you forever.

Chyenne says that Granny is her angel. She and granny talked about that. Granny told Chyenne that she would see her again in Heaven. Cohen still talks to go see Granny & boy do I wish I could take him to see her again. I miss her like crazy and it's so hard to imagine life without her. I am hurting. I am sad. I am being selfish but I NEEDED more time with her. Her decline and passing was far too quick. Just 5 months. All from a stupid fall! A stupid fall that was most likely caused by her heart. A stupid pair of EMTs that didn't get her to the hospital. A horrible "rehab" facility that didn't properly care for her. Too many struggles for my sweet granny.

Oh granny I love you and I will always cherish everything about you until I see you again. Thank you for showing me love. Thank you for teaching me about life, thank you for being you.

Pics soon to come.

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