From Caregiver to Grieving in Four Days
As the population ages many will take on the role of caregiver. One of the most challenging for me was the transition from granddaughter to caregiver. Gramps was stubborn as an Ox and felt he didn’t need any help.
My grandfather died in 2010 at 92 years old. I spent more time with him in 2010 than at home. I cherish the time we had, regardless how painful. His health declined so fast that for two days I did not realize that he was dying now, not in a couple of weeks. He was at home under hospice care and would not get in the hospital bed until two days before he passed. He fell out of bed that morning, which forced him to move in order to eat. He was so weak when he fell, it was difficult for me to get him back in bed. I was hurt more than him. He would have not have moved to the hospital bed if he had not fallen. For him the bed meant death and he was still fighting.
My grandfather had End Stage Kidney Disease. An earlier ER trip to for his AFIB is when we learned heard he about two months to live. What they fail to tell is the older patients die faster. We knew his kidneys were losing function but I was not ready for a timeline. His doctor had not given me the impression on last visit, I asked her to review the hospitalal records. I was saddened she agreed with the prognosis. It took a couple of weeks for my grandfather to believe the doctors were right. Kidney failure without dialysis, is a silent killer and luckily not a painful one. You start sleeping more until you sleep yourself into a coma.
I arrived on Sunday afternoon after two days of relief and he looked fine. Monday I knew he was out of it by the things he was saying. I called backup. Tuesday he was sick after falling out of bed. Dead weight, it took everything I had to get him back in bed. My grandfather died on Thursday. I’m so thankful that we had time together to say what we wanted, cry for the loss and enjoy the memories. I have no regrets.
Cleaning out the house was so hard, 46 years of memories everywhere. My grandmother left notes on everything, it was like mourning her death as I found each note. Notes on back of photos, on little pieces of paper and even masking tape. I knew all the notes were there, we had looked at them many times. Everything’s being packed and house cleared. My grandparents were like parents, they were the best you could ever pray for. The house is empty but I see my life in every room. The great memories with my grandparents are everywhere you look.
Side notes: My grandparents lived in the hood , major drug trafficking. They had little of value just antiques passed down. I would not leave the house empty at night so I stayed for two weeks until we could pack up. Everyone thought I was crazy, I thought I’m Rambo. I had my Colt 38 Revolver, would never stand up to drug lords today. I cousins husband Sgt. for department casually mentioned the houses around me where under drug/gang watch.
One night after midnight I heard this huge sound and had to check out. The streets were shut down in every direction, every yard, Black ATF truck and guy is tactical gear, paddy wagon. I had to laugh, with the whisper under his breath, I knew it was going down. I watched through the window to see what all they do is a big bust, at least 20-25 people in-house. They were zipped tied together. The entire yard was searched with high beams and guy with flashlight.
I was having a blast, called to my husband, he didn’t find it funny.