The other day I received yet another demanding phone call from Grannie Annie, the matriarch of the family. Grannie Annie is my grandmother and as I have mentioned in previous posts a tough, strong, demanding survivor. Gazing upon this 92 year old you would be in awe of her beauty and how she is so smartly dressed even at her age. My grandmother is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. More cunning and manipulating than you could ever give one credit for.
My Aunt and I have made countless trips to the Emergency room the last four months with Grannie Annie crying wolf. The last time my husband and I received a phone call at 11:30 pm From Grannie Annie telling me she was dying and I needed to get over there so she wouldn’t die alone.
So my husband and I threw ourselves together and off we went. I knew this was either the real deal or a setup as I put the keys in the door only to NOT find the regular barricading of her front door in place. We always ask her NOT to do this because it just complicates getting into her home when we get calls like this.
We find Grannie Annie in bed lying very still. My husband a real softie when it comes to Grannie Annie rushes to her bedside. I, on the other hand have the job of interrogating this incorrigible drama queen again. Grannie Annie captures my husband’s emotions upon impact and I see now I will have to do battle with both of them to sort out the reality.
My questions seem cold and to the point. I seem clinical in my approach as I have my husband sit her up for me to take her blood pressure and heart rate. I examined her mouth, tongue and elasticity of her skin. I watched her heart rate and observed her respiration. All while she was recounting to my husband how she arrived in this condition from only a few hours before. My grandmother had expressed all year that she wanted to die since my other Aunt had passed away earlier in the 2009. My grandmother took a physical and mental dive after the death of her youngest daughter.
My observations brought me to the conclusion that she was in respiratory failure and dehydrated. This was maybe the fourth time I have observed Grannie Annie in this physical state these past several months.
I felt it appropriate to tell Grannie Annie my findings and see how she wanted to proceed especially since she said she wanted to die. My husband was furious that I concurred that she was indeed dying and was letting her know the facts.
What my husband had failed to realize was that because I have dealt with prior emergencies with my grandmother, I have already reconciled her death. I expect to one day walk in her home to find her passed on. Roll back several years and Grannie Annie had lived in our home recuperating from a triple by-pass heart surgery. Every day I would wait for the children to be off to school before I checked on her. I did not want to find a dead grandmother with my children home.
So pretty much I have been in boot camp for this situation.
I also felt the need to call my Aunt and Uncle and let them know the very serious side of this scenario. They needed to take control of this situation being the elders.
As my husband coddled and held my grandmother’s hand I walked around the house only to find all the medicine she has stashed that she decided NOT to take. I brought it all to her and showed her. She coldly stared at me and told me NOT to tell my aunt. I refused to agree with her request. I told her that she was sabotaging her health and she was probably in this situation because of it.
Well to shorten the story my Aunt and Uncle arrived and it was decided not to grant her desire to die in her bed that night. She was transported to the hospital. It was validated that her oxygen level was in the critical zone and she was dehydrated. She would have indeed died without intervention.
Well Grannie Annie refuses to give her consent to go in a nursing home and I refuse to respond to her demanding phone calls. I know for her own protection she needs to be taken care of. My Aunt continues to honor Grannie Annie’s wishes and I have decided on the next hospital run I will call in intervention to help my Aunt truly see what the right thing to do is.
Since Grannie Annie told me that night that she could not eat,
I told my grandmother she better not demand a turkey sandwich when we arrive at the hospital as she has had the past three times.
Inside of an hour she sent my husband and Uncle to a diner for her turkey sandwich!
I love my grandmother and recognize that she has an innate drive to truly live.
The hardest decision loved ones have to make is to help a loved one see that 24 hours assistance is what is needed to sustain a life that is so compromised.