Tuesday, May 5, 2009

the beauty and the bones

Well friends, in case you haven't noticed...I haven't been up to much blogging lately. And this poor old blog here, the truest calling I've ever known that lets me lay bare the beauty and bones of life- has taken a back seat to all the goings on recently.

I have just driven home from the hospital, the one I took my grandma to this morning, this early AM. She called around 7:00 and was pretty shook up and bleeding. I raced over there as fast as I could, got her into the hospital, to the good hands people- and set to twist and wring my hands right along side her all day. She's about four years behind her actual age in the telling, so we'll just keep letting on like she's 88, that's what she'd want you to think. Anyway- we sat, I worried- not because she hasn't had a long life or a good one for that matter. She's a strong women, never was much of a loving sort, but I knew- yes indeed, I always knew. She's the independent type and I've tried my very best to keep her in her home, safe and secure. She's been feeling pretty feeble for quite some time now, the early morning call was one she did not want to make, especially to me because she thinks I've got my hands full and then some. After 12 long hours of laying, in pain, blood tests revealing internal hemorrhaging somewhere and no health care to speak of there in that hospital. Just false hopes...I didn't say a word, just carried on with her like everything was going to be OK. Finally, I made a mental note that if the IV, the blood transfusion, the promised hospital room wasn't employed in the final hour of 9:00 PM, I was going to talk to somebody, matter of fact my mental note was a zinger and somebody was going to listen and then act. I stood around the nurse's station, not wanting to vent- I could see with my own two eyes how busy every one seemed. But- I made a promise to my old girl that she could trust me, count on me when the chips were down. Again- no verbal promise from her lips to my ears ever in my 40 plus years was ever made- but I knew, I always knew she'd look out for me. So, finally I locked eyes with a sensible looking young nurse and I asked her this question-

"Do you have a grandma?"

"Yes" she said.

"What would you do if you found her bleeding, took her to the hospital and sat with her while she worried and wondered, after 10 hours- if someone in the medical profession was going to look after her. Could you sit by much longer and wonder if the transfusion was ever going to come, or wonder dreadfully, thinking what if this is it? Her life just slipping away in a hospital no less, and you're just standing by letting all that happen? Could you look her in the eye and tell her all will be well, when not even one nurse had peeped her head in just to say how are you doing? Could you just sit and take all that knowing the poor thing hasn't been able to eat or sleep for days, unable to keep anything down or anything in? And somehow found the courage to make a call that would take her to a hospital she might never come out of? I know she's old, I know maybe she's not top priority because of her age, maybe you folks feel she's a bit expendable, but she's my grandma. She's a good women, worked hard all her life, never asks anybody for anything. And the one time she does, she gets to lay in a bed that no one attends and slowly bleed from some unknown place in her belly because, well- that's what I need to know. Why aren't you doing anything for my grandma?"

I didn't get mad, I guess I got really sad, felt powerless, felt that there had to be some good reason that folks just like her get treatment like that because, well- because they don't whine, they don't whimper- they never even squeak. They just take it, like they have all their life- doing the best they know how to do and one day, they grow old and hell, doesn't anybody care anymore about the plain and simple people?

The nurse listened. (And thank goodness, acted.) That's all I wanted I guess, not to be right- at least to be heard. When I left the hospital, and believe me you- that was a very hard thing to do, leave her laying there- I guess I took about the longest quietest ride home I ever took. And I thought long and hard on how we don't notice one another anymore- how we don't really care to be bothered by the bonafide goodness of one soul, but we pull out all the stops for the ones who don't give two cents for anything of value, they demand the best and give the least. Time for me to head to bed...maybe say a little prayer for the whole wide world, somebody's got to say something for the lack of love in the all too many these days.

And one last note to my family, if you're reading or listening to a retelling of this story. Time to exchange the wishbone for a back bone. Grandma needs us all and I'm tired, and I'm spent and my back bone is getting pretty sore. You could learn something or two from this old lady who's done so much for so little.

Thanks for listening and giving a damn, take care-


~Red Tin Heart~ said...

I will be praying for your Grandma. I am so sorry she was treated that way..
Our Nation needs Universal Health care. Our medical system needs a complete over haul.
My daughter is 19 and has no health care coverage right now and has been having health problems. It is so scary without coverage.

My heart is with you and I hope you will be able to get some rest.

xoxo Nita

Jane said...

Thoughts and prayers are with you and your grandmother.


Anonymous said...

Well said sweet girl.
With you in her corner, your G'ma at least has a fighting chance. Our older people need advocates. All would do well to keep in mind, we will be there soon, so treat our seniors like you want to be treated.
Love you, stay strong.

Anonymous said...

I will hold your grandma and you in my thoughts and prayers.


Jayne said...

I feel your pain, and helplessness, and it's what I strive to remember each and every time I come in contact with any patient who is at my mercy. Thankfully, even after 25 years of doing this, I can feel empathy pretty easily and let people know I am listening and that I care. Prayers ascend for you and for her.

Evelyn said...

Ah, the heartache! I'm so glad you were able to speak so eloquently! I pray that your family steps up and gives a hand.

Lorrie said...

If I ever want a good cry, I need only to pop in here for a quick read. I hate that this has happened to you, but I'm so glad you shared, because dammit, we all need a backbone once in a while, and to be reminded of that need. I hope Grandma is doing well and being cared for in the manner she deserves. Thought-proviking stuff, as usual. You are so amazing.

truewonder said...
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