Monday, May 11, 2009

Space Cadet

These have not been the best of times for me. Granted, these aren't the worst I've seen, but they have been pretty rough. I'm feeling relatively good emotionally, though physically I've been plagued with some vague but real symptoms. I'm thinking they are due to the stress of the end of the semester, but I'm seeing a doctor just in case.

Today, however, I'm completely out of it. I found out that my grandmother had a massive stroke yesterday. She's had a bunch in her life, but this one was the most severe: she is paralyzed on one full side of her body. She can't eat on her own because the thing in the throat that moves over to let food go down the wrong pipe isn't working. She is breathing on her own, however. 

The worst part about it is that she is fully alert, even though she can't move and can't talk. This is very bad for her because she has always been a fiercely independent woman; she's also extremely stubborn. My dad says that she keeps trying to talk and trying to move and is getting very frustrated with her inability to do so. I'm very upset by this news. This should be expected, I know, but it surprises me.

We knew this was going to happen. After her first stroke about four years ago, the doctors told my dad that it was the beginning of the end. Her brain and her body were shutting down. She would slowing stop remembering words, faces. Then her brain would stop remembering how to take care of itself. At the time, we thought that whole process would happen quickly. Four years later, she's still here. Which made me think that she would be here for quite a while longer.

I've never been very close to my grandma. I know she loves me, but every time I saw her, she criticized me. Getting to know each other wasn't really high on our priority list. I don't feel guilty about that, but right now, I am aching for her. That she is aware of her inability to move or talk must be torturous for her. The woman has been incredibly strong for more than 90 years; now her body has stopped cooperating.

I'm spending the afternoon staring at my computer screen, trying to do work, and talking on the phone. What I really want to do is take a nap.

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