This morning, just as Beve's brother and sister-in-law were walking out the door to travel back across the pass to their home in the Yakima Valley, Beve got a call that Grampie was unresponsive and had been taken to the hospital. Plans changed in a flash. Beve and I quickly threw on some clothes (I wound up in black yoga pants, an oversized 'Life is good' long-sleeved sleep-shirt hanging below my Northface Fleece and FatBaby boots--yep, one of my finer fashion looks!), and while he went to get Thyrza, I rode with B & N to the hospital. We actually arrived ahead of the ambulance, so I really could have taken another moment with my attire. Oh well.
It was/is our 4th trip to the emergency room since September 10. If that doesn't make us regulars, I don't know what does. I certainly knew the protocol, knew that only one person would be allowed back with him, and knew it would have to be me because they'd need to know about his medications, and any pertinent pieces of his medical history. For example, the doctor asked Thyrza if Grampie's ever had prostate problems. and when she said no, unfortunately, I had to correct her (which is NEVER good--and makes Thyrza think I've been keeping secrets from her, because, "I know I wouldn't have forgotten that!"). At least this doctor continued to address her questions to Thyrza, which isn't always the case, even though she (the doctor) waited for my answers.
Beve's still over there with Thyrza. Grampie's been admitted now, with a UTI (Urinary Track Infection). Possible Kidney damage. We'll see how it goes. I had a very candid conversation with Grampie's wife this morning about what is really happening with Grampie. That is, what the doctors won't quite say--that one of these days or one of these trips to the hospital, Grampie will die. I told her as gently as I could that we needed to value every day we have with him, and feel peace with the knowledge not only that he has lived long and well, but that he is very ready to go home. Thyrza got a little teary as we spoke, and told me they had talked about it only a little, because Grampie's so "private about these things." ( I haven't found him so, but then, I tend to push him to answer my questions. I mean, I ask and he answers. It works.) During our conversation it seemed like Grampie was sound asleep, his head back, mouth open. Looked like sleep to me. Just as Thyrza was wiping her nose and I was rubbing her shoulder, a nurse came in and offered Grampie a drink of juice, and sat him up. As she did, he opened his eyes and winked at me.
Yep, he winked at me and smiled broadly. Thyrza and I burst out laughing. He's still here, he seemed to be saying. But also, like he and I were sharing a joke. I love that.
Sure, he drifted off a few minutes later. He's a frequent flyer in the hospital, losing weight before our very eyes, but the wit is still in there. And that's good enough for this day.