Adrift

Yes, it has been a long time since I blogged….

I was busy, busy, busy, and then…  I just wasn’t up to it.

Ever feel like you’ve been hit by a Tsunami?

Not so much death and destruction, but rather being totally carried by a wave with no control what so ever about direction, speed, or where you get to stop and rest…

I am recovering from riding my own personal tsunami.  Events have converged to keep me utterly exhausted.

One stressful event after another has hit.  Not all bad things, but ones that required lot of work, or energy and have left me drained.

Wah wah wah.   Pity party – table of one, right this way…

The highlights:

It has been a crazy month.  My grandmother, who turned 98 today, was in the hospital.  We call her G.G.  short for great grandmother, both great as in grand and as in matriarch of 4 generations.  I always write it Gigi – seems more personal.

When I graduated from college, I got a job in MI, and lived with Gigi for a while.  It was going to be until I found my own place, but then plans changed and I stayed 5 months until I moved across the country to start grad school.  For those 5 months, my grandmother spoiled me rotten, cooking for me, doing laundry and telling me fabulous stories about her life.  And what a life she’s had.  I think the reason for her longevity lies in her attitude – perseverance with a good dollop of humor.

I lost the rest of my grandparents a good many years ago, and though I loved them all, I think age has made me appreciate them more.

The drive up to see Gigi was interminably long and arduous, with Toto, I mean Tot, asking to stop every 30 minutes to go potty.   Given the guilt we incurred upon finding out that her potty accidents really aren’t her fault and trying to reward or punish her for any of it would just lead to lots and lots of therapy bills, given that — we made a point of stopping every time she asked.  Begrudgingly yes.  Teeth gritted after the 6th or 8th or 12th time?  Yes, but stop we did, again and again and again.  The trip was made not knowing whether Gigi would still be alive or able to respond in a meaningful way.  We also debated whether to have Tot visit with her if she was in bad shape. She had even said that she didn’t want Tot to see her because she didn’t want to scare her.  It was a very hard trip.   But it was all worthwhile.  My initial visit with her was just prior to a medical procedure, and it was shocking.  She didn’t even look like herself, let alone seem like the same woman I knew.   Then they removed an entire wine bottle of fluid from her lungs, and her transformation back to the Gigi I knew began.

It was a sobering (no pun intended) time to get an up-close look at the process of ending one’s life.  What to expect, the fears, the pain, the struggle.  Despite an abiding faith and comfort in what lay after death, the process of dying is formidable. I hadn’t even considered that.  Her dreams seemed to be a review of her life and fears.  It was odd to see my grandmother who had always seemed so matter-of-fact, face everything as it comes type of person, seem to have a internal battle of sorts.  She perked up more every day we were there and asked to see Tot, who asked at one point if we could spend the night with Gigi.  She ended up going home the day before we left after about 12 days in the hospital.  Hospice care was arranged since the pain involved with some of the normal medical treatments was ridiculous, and she regained her appetite and her ability to sleep peacefully.  It has been two and a half weeks since our visit, and now I am convinced she will live to 105.

I have so much more to say on the subject of Gigi and how my daughter has inherited so much spunk from her and her other great grandmother that she never got to meet.  But this is getting long, and I’m getting tired.

Then there was my friend’s unthinkableg crisis:  This past Friday night, my good friend’s 25 year old daughter, Laura, the one who when she was 12 or so, and I was invited to Easter dinner at their house felt it necessary to test me by yelling in my ear all through dinner, was hit by a car at 40mph.  She was flung 7 feet high, flipped twice over the top of the car, and landed on her head 69 feet away.  She was unconscious and stopped breathing.  They had to intubate her.  The driver never slowed down.  It’s a miracle she survived that kind of collision — an estimated 4000 lbs of steel  moving at 59 feet per second smashed into her.  Not only did she survive, but within 24 hours, they determined that she had no discernible brain damage, broken bones or internal injuries.  It’s been less than 4 full days in the hospital, and she’s been released, not even on pain killers.  I suffer from repercussions of my gym workouts longer than that.  That is not to say she’s not still requiring a lot of recovery and therapy and evidently her therapist is pretty cute and there’s already joking about the impending nuptials, but considering the magnitude of the impact, somebody was watching out for her.  She’ll probably be back doing triathlons next month.

When I first heard about the accident, (though from the behavior of the driver, it seems pretty intentional) before we knew that Laura would be okay, my first reaction was shock and fear and pain, not only for Laura, and her mother, Sharon, and their family and friends, but also for myself.  I did this weird, maybe not so weird, maybe normal thing, where I felt the fear of something unspeakable happening to my own daughter.  That same Saturday, a close friend of Mr.Tot’s posted a photographic tribute to her daughter who died from a progressive disease that did not manifest itself for years.  She had years of thinking her daughter was healthy and then the symptoms appeared.  The confluence of these 2 events – 2 ways in which a child could be stolen from a parent despite all the care and nurturing, was more than I could handle.  I was a weepy mess the rest of that day, at least until we heard that Laura was stable, and even then, I felt like a limp dishrag.   I just wanted to curl up with my Tot and drink her in, but when Tot’s not in a snuggling mood, forcing that issue is practically suicidal.

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, we can return to the lighthearted posts I usually write…

Like the other day, Tot asked Mr.Tot whether we would give her away.  Thinking she was feeling insecure, Mr.Tot reassured her that we would never give her away.  When he told me about it, we both felt quite guilty at the joking we had done  – that who ever took her would bring her back because she is such a handful.  So later, I asked her why she asked that, if she was afraid we would give her away.  Turns out, she was HOPING we would give her away – she wants to live with our next door neighbors.  D’oh!!!

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