Last weekend was interesting. It was supposed to be a vacation, to visit family and enjoy Colorado. We ended up spending the weekend in and out of the hospital with my grandpa, and dealing with adult issues that I am still just learning to face.
My sister and I were headed out Friday morning when my dad called and said that my grandfather had fallen and was in the hospital. He has fallen before, but they have been happening more frequently, and this situation was probably the worst. When we arrived, we headed straight to the hospital, to poke our head in and say hi. While he was groggy and grey looking, he remembered us, and was able to carry on a conversation (he suffers from early onset dementia so this was a fun little victory!).
The remainder of the night was spent at the hospital, and to give my grandma and aunt a break, I stayed with Grandpa Friday night. I tried to keep everyone positive, to have them look at the bright side. Even the fact that we were there was a blessing. We didn’t need a crazy fun trip. We were lucky to be there to help our family in a time of need and provide support. I didn’t sleep badly, but I didn’t sleep good. Getting up every time a nurse walks in can be pretty draining. Saturday was another day filled with hospital visits, but we also made sure to spend time with my two little cousins, taking them to climb on rocks and enjoy the beautiful Colorado scenery. But I spent my day in a fog. A tired, lack of sleep, sick to my stomach over my grandpa, hazy fog. As much as I didn’t want to leave the hospital, I needed to go home. I needed a nap. I also must have needed a shower because that was the first thing I did. And it felt amazing! And so did a 3 hour nap.
We woke up to my grandma being gone. She had headed back to the hospital to keep grandpa company. We decided to have a pizza party with my aunt and our cousins and I stayed home for the evening.
The reality started sinking in though. This fall was pretty drastic, and there is a good chance he won’t be coming home. He will need to make a new home, which will probably consist of a nursing home facility. Now there is a plus side to this. This means that my grandma will not be on call 24 hours a day. She will not need to maneuver a man around the house who is larger than her and who is stiff all over. She will not need to be a caregiver, nurse, friend, wife, and companion all at once. She can focus on being his support, his friend, his companion. And she can have some time to take care of herself, because that has dropped among the list of priorities. The responsibilities she has taken on our out of this world. She does it all, times 2. And I know she wishes she could continue to do that, but I hope she finds the peace to understand that given the circumstances, she can’t expect herself to do it all. It is physically not possible.
Sunday morning, I think everyone need a break. We decided to try and enjoy the day and do some non-hospital activities. We did some shopping and picked up Christmas decorations. We found a cute little tree to bring to the hospital, and a bag of festive candy. We also decided to make a big meal for supper and enjoy over at Grandma’s. We had stopped into see Grandpa and headed back home for dinner, knowing we would be back after. We finished eating and headed back to the hospital. It was our last night in Colorado. We laughed and joked around. We talked to Grandpa as much as we could, and tried to perk him up. Then it was time to leave. And I could no longer play the role of the positive one. The tears just welled up. It sucks to see someone in pain. To see them unhappy and lost. But once I got home and regrouped, I reaffirmed in my mind that this is for the best. It is the next step, and it will be the healthiest for everyone involved. It just isn't very fun to deal with.