Sunday, March 15, 2009


Bill and I went to see Hanna's grandfather today. I met two hospice nurses; one was leaving and one coming on. They more or less prepared us for what we would see. He was so yellow. They said his liver was shutting down. He talked to us for a few minutes and then we left because we didn't want to tire him. We talked to some of his family and also one of Hanna's Moms. We had brought a ham dinner over and they were setting that all up for those that were there. I would have stayed to help but there were so many people in that little house so we just took our leave. It was a sobering visit. I think we are very aware of how precious this life is. I don't need any reminders but I keep getting them just the same. This situation with Hanna's grandfather is just a shock to everyone because one day he was fine and the next day he's dying. Or so it seemed. That's what everyone looked like, as if they were shell shocked. I'm hoping that the dinner will last them a few days, maybe ham sandwiches tomorrow. I'm just not sure what people are doing to help. I told them to call or have Hanna call me if they need anything but that was too general I know. I may call back tomorrow and just ask one of her Mom's what she needs and maybe just drop things off from time to time. I remember when Brian died how important that was for us because we couldn't seem to get it together for so long. Sigh Life is tough some times. Mr. D, Hanna's grandfather, believes in God and a hereafter and he told Bill he was ready to go but he'd sure like to stay a while longer. I'm glad we got to speak to him while he was still talking. They were talking about calling the Dr and that he would likely increase the dosage of morphine because Mr. D is in so much pain and can't go as long between injections. He said it was his stomach that hurt him so bad. So very sad.

I may not need any reminders right now about how precious life is but I sure did need the reminder of how important the colonoscopy was. Boy, do I dread that, the prep for it. I would dread hurting like he is hurting more though so I think I'll just sing a song as I chug a lug that awful concoction and prepare for my next one. I'll just be thankful I'm getting the test.
It's hard to say how long Mr. D had cancer. It started in his colon but has spread throughout his body. He would never go to the Dr., that's why they really knew he was sick when he told him he wanted to see a Dr. this time for what he thought was the flu he just couldn't shake.

Everyone please get tested when you need to and go for those check-ups. Mr. D may be ready to go but his granddaughter and grandson are not ready to loose him, nor are the rest of the family. It's really not for us that we do those things, though I know it should be that, too.
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Darrell said...

Judy: A very sobering reminder of how tenuous life is. We are experiencing our own reminder as we read your words about Hanna's grandfather. Our good friend Betty (ironic, don't you think?) is facing her own destiny. She works with Mary, and she is a wonderful person. Her story is unbelievable, but to try and capsulize it, here goes. Her son Shawn, who was 21 at the time, was dying a few years ago. Then, things started turning around for him. Betty was so happy. Everyone was. Finally, he was released from the hospital. The next day, he was driving down the expressway, a girl lost control of her car, crossed the median, struck Shawn's truck, and killed him. How does this kind of thing make any sense? Well, it doesn't. Betty was so devastated, she withdrew into herself, and set about making jams and jellies, and canning vegetables for us and all of her other friends. It was her therapy, and it got her through the darkest of days.

Fast forward now. The past week or two, Mary has told me that Betty hasn't been herself. Couldn't put her finger on it, but she just kept saying, "Betty, are you OK?' Betty kept getting annoyed and said "Yes, now quit!" Three days ago, Mary's at work, Betty comes in to get her check, Mary sees that something is wrong, but she is wrapped up in her work, so she doesn't press the issue. Betty leaves, and she is supposed to call Mary to let her know when she gets home. Betty never calls. Mary calls her daughter, who lives an hour away, tells her what is going on, and her daughter says, "You know she'd call. Something is wrong. Call 911" So Mary does, they go by the house, Betty's not there. Long story short, when Betty left, she pulled out of the parking lot, and crashed into another car. The police evidently weren't alarmed, they sent her on her way. She never made it home. Several people were out looking for her. I was getting ready to leave myself, when I got the call from Mary. Her niece found her. Parked in the middle of the road, pushing her power window button up and down, saying, "I'm going home, I'm going home". At this point, an ambulance takes her to the hospital, and she's saying, "I'm gonna kick Mary's ass for this". She has no clue that anything is really wrong. After an MRI and a Cat Scan, they find the culprit--Betty has a mass the size of a golf ball just above her left eye. It has caused so much swelling and bleeding on her brain that the entire affected area is the size of a GRAPEFRUIT. Yet this is not visible by looking at her. Can you imagine this?
Tomorrow, Betty has surgery, and we will find out what this thing is in her head. And we are all reminded, never ever take your health for granted. A few days ago, Betty was at the Farmer's Market buying me a bag of fresh peanuts because she knew how much I loved them. Today, she is laying in a hospital bed, head shaved, awaiting brain surgery to see what this thing is in her head. We are counting our blessings today. We are healthy, and our 4 kids are healthy. We complex beings are lucky for every healthy day we have. You never, ever know. God bless Hanna's Grandfather, and Betty, and everyone else who is facing such scary challenges. I'm so glad Hanna has you as her Big Sister. Life can be so sad, but I know that you can teach her how life can also be so full of hope and promise. Hopefully this tragic circumstance will somehow teach her about the whole spectrum of life, as she matures. Life sucks, but life is also beautiful. It tires me to think on these things, so I'm going to bed now. But, may we all remember, this is how it is. We will survive, thrive, grow stronger. This is what we have to go through as humans. And somehow, we do it.


Mary said...

This IS such a sad situation, Judy. Your story is a reminder to me that there are many of these situations going on not far from our midst, but we don't see or know about them. Life is indeed precious, and I am another one who should schedule a colonoscopy.

Victoria said...

I thought the word sob ering too, like Darrell - and I'm glad you were able to visit Mr. D and support hanna and her family.