Granddad update

Hospice people are amazing. I sincerely hope and believe there is a special crown these people will receive in heaven. I am blown away by these people. I personally didn’t pursue a medical career because I didn’t think I had the emotional stamina to handle it if I were to lose a patient. These people lose them all. And they have the added responsibility of dealing with family members. They are there 24/7 for anything and everything that might be needed.
I got to meet a special one on Friday. Her name is Katie Ann and she’s a golden retriever. She’s a trained therapy dog. She loves everyone and will let everyone love on her. Kids can pull on her ears. People can squeeze her and cry on her and she just loves them back. If I see her again, I may try to get her picture.
We all thought Friday was Granddad’s last day with us. We’ve said our goodbyes and now we are just waiting for the inevitable. I really hope that he can go peacefully and quickly. I trust that if God continues to keep him here, that he has a good reason to do so, but I have to admit that this is hard.
My husband and I did get to have a very nice dinner with my 3 cousins and their spouses. We had never all gone out together before. We laughed at old stories and our twisted humor that it seems we’ve all inherited. I’m so glad to be rekindling relationships with them.
On Saturday, Granddad’s vitals had actually improved. He’s still arguing with angels. I hate seeing him suffer this way. I know that he will go home when it is time though and God’s time is not my time. It’s hard to be at peace with that. It’s even harder to see Nana struggle so much. She hasn’t left his side. She’s an amazing woman. I don’t envy her place right now. 57.5 years is a long time to be married. That kind of love is worth the pain.

Personal/Family Update

I actually watched the sunrise on Saturday. It came up about 2 hours after I got up. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that. We had to be up at 4:30 so we could get the kiddo up, fed, and at the school by 5:45. Funny how it’s hard to go back to bed after 5 shots of espresso. Once he was off to his chess tournament, we headed back home. I parked on the stationary bike that has yet to find a better home than my front porch and used the handlebars as a make shift tripod and took a couple of pictures. I haven’t downloaded them from my camera yet. I’ll share them when I do.

Lately, it doesn’t feel like I’ve had any just peaceful moments, but Saturday morning was good for me. I was reminded that no matter what else is going on, the sun keeps rising. New days begin. Anyone that has been reading this knows that I am certainly the cynic, but if its possible to be both a cynic and an optimist, then that’s me. I’m feeling a little more like myself and hope to be returning to more entertaining fare. Although, I will likely continue to get personal from time to time. I will be making an attempt to get back to my opinions and commentary about random stuff. No promises that there will not be some bleed through.

Here is today’s personal update.

Granddad moved to the hospice facility on Saturday. It seems to be a very nice place and the nursing staff is great. They flirt with him, blow him kisses, and one even offered to marry him and take him home. I talked to him after he got settled in. He told me that he knew the doctors were telling him that he wasn’t going to win this one, but that didn’t mean he was ready to give up the fight. I told him that I would pray for him to be strong.

He’s been taking this opportunity to tell the family some old stories. Some I had heard before, some I hadn’t. I’ll try to put together what I can. He felt his most important thing to say was not a fun one. He told us that killing someone in war is awful. I can’t believe he had been carrying that around for the last 60 years. As I told him, I am so proud and so thankful that he did that. And so sorry that he had to experience it. Real men don’t go to war because they want to, they do it because it’s their duty. He was one of the lucky ones that performed his duty well and came home from WWII. He wanted to say it because there are so many so-called men that like to brag about how many people they killed in the war. Granddad went to war because his country called him to do so and to be a man. I wish there were more men like Granddad.

Lots of family came down to visit on Sunday so I didn’t stay long at hospice. He’s was in good spirits even though he was very tired.

Family-update

Went to visit Granddad last night. My son and his 2 year old cousin spent the whole time giggling in the adjacent sitting room. It’s been so nice to have the space. Granddad seemed to be feeling kind of peaceful. We asked him if the kids were making too much noise, and he told us that the giggles sounded good to him. Laughter has always been music to Granddad.

My mother wasn’t there. Earlier in the day, she slipped on the freshly mopped floor in Granddad’s room and fell and broke her wrist. She is heart-broken that she had to go home. She needed to spend a night in her own bed though.

He is able to swallow now. I’m relieved that he can actually have some food instead of just what they can put through an IV. They will be moving him to the hospice facility sometime soon.

My mother asked us to email stories about Granddad to help comfort him and Nana. I will share what I wrote here:

I will never forget summer time when Mandy and I would go and stay with Nana and Granddad. Granddad would see us in our swimsuits ready to play in the sprinkler and say, “Now you boys don’t get wet.” We’d put our hands on our hips and tell him emphatically that we weren’t boys. He’d just smile with that ornery twinkle in his eye. Of course, you would have to have a sense of humor to not only survive living in a house full of Bullington women, but to invite 2 grand-daughters to take over your basement as their ‘apartment’ as we called it. He had seemingly limitless patience with our coffee table concerts. We would sing into hair brushes or flashlights while standing on the coffee table in the basement.
I remember Granddad’s van. The grandkids liked to sit in the very back because when you hit a bump you would float out of your seat. To this day I still think of those as Granddaddy bumps. We would land and giggle and he would laugh with us. I always felt safe and loved when I was with Nana and Granddad.
I was so happy when Granddad retired and they moved to Yukon. As a teenager, I would often escape there when I wanted to feel at home but didn’t really want to be around my parents. I liked to sit on the porch swing and talk to Granddad while he filled the bird feeders and cleaned the bird bath. I could talk about anything with them.

I owe much of the person I am today to the time I spent growing up around Nana and Granddad.

It’s been so hard to watch his health deteriorate. He’s always been one of the strongest people I know. His sense of humor is still there though. I honored to get to hold his hand and offer him some comfort. And I’m glad I inherited enough humor to make him crack a smile.

He’s always been a sort of pillar in my life. I’m so glad that his suffering is nearly over, but I wish I didn’t have to lose him for that to happen.

Family-Part 2

There have been so many ups and downs with this whole thing. I just don’t know how to feel. I’m very upset and either crying or near tears most of the time. I don’t want to lose GrandDad, but it would be horribly selfish to want him to keep going in his current condition. I don’t even want that in my most selfish inner self. It’s so painful to watch him suffer like that. I trust that God is in control and has the absolute best outcome laid out for this. I really do. But I have to say that this emotional roller coaster is torture on all of us. I know that often we have to fall down completely before we can accept that God is picking us up and carrying us through.

I think that old footprints poem that so many people have hung in their homes is missing something. At least in the case of someone as stubborn and hard headed as I am. In mine, there includes marks of limping and crawling and trying claw ahead on my own and then the mark left by my body in a heap before I just let God pick me up and carry me through. Either that, or there is some kind of big stick that he used to knock me out laying on the side of the path. But that’s because I’m stubborn and really do think that I can do it most of the time. I’m proven wrong regularly. I’m just too thick headed to get the idea.

God, I give up. I can’t do it. Please carry me.

We got the biopsy results today. He has lung cancer. The doctor gave him 2 months to live provided there are no further complications. He said there were no treatment options given his weakened state. He said to give him whatever he wants. If he asks for a hamburger, the instructions are to try and let him eat it.

So I guess that’s it. I’m glad we know that he’s going home. I’m really going to miss him. I can’t put into words how much.

Family

I have to apologize for not making an entry yesterday, but I have a good reason. But I want the 5 of you that read this to know that I really do appreciate you and don’t want to slight you any randomness that crosses my mind. I wasn’t funny or cynical or especially sarcastic yesterday. I may not be today. For one, I was sick. My stomach was upset and I had major vertigo. Hard to type on moving keys. And I swear, I had not been drinking. I’m a little better today. The world is not spinning so I can deal with the spiny urchin that appears to have taken up residence in my stomach. It’s really not that bad, I’m exaggerating for effect. But that really wasn’t the biggest reason I didn’t make an entry. I could have griped and moaned and acted pathetic so you would feel sorry for me. Although the sympathy is nice, I really don’t need it.

Shortly after I got home, my mother called. She was telling me that they are transferring my granddad from one hospital to another for a biopsy. My granddad has been sick for some time now. He had a bad fall Memorial Day weekend and nothing has been right since. He spent the summer going between hospital rooms and a nursing home. We all really thought he was doing better though. Last Friday, he got to go home. The summer’s ordeal has left him weak, but he has been going through rehabilitation and could get around to a limited degree. Although nervous, we were all glad to see him get to be home. On Saturday, he was in so much pain that they called the ambulance. In the ER, they discovered that he has three compression fractures in his spine. There is a nifty sounding procedure for that involving a balloon and cement. If it works, it should give him immediate pain relief. In the work-up for that, they found a couple of spots in his liver that they fear could be cancer. The big scary C word. They transferred him to another hospital to do a biopsy. The frightening part about it is that he has grown so weak that just putting him under the anesthesia is a major risk. There is a definite possibility that he will not wake up. They have signed a Do Not Resuscitate order. Everyone is in agreement that it is time. So we spent the afternoon to evening with the rest of my family in the hospital.

Granddad still has his sense of humor. Without that, what do we have left? He made jokes with the doctor and all of us. He can’t wear his teeth right now and is hard of hearing, so he is very difficult to understand. He’s glad to have all of us around. He may be having hallucinations, but he still has hit wit.

He has a really great doctor. This guy had really done his homework and studied Granddad’s records before he arrived. He has phenomenal bedside manner. He welcomed all of us into the hospital room and talked to all of us. He didn’t make us go away while he talked to Granddad and asked him all the medical history questions. When he started that, Granddad smarted off to him saying that he had all the records, he didn’t need to ask. Said with a smile. The doctor laughed along with us. The doctor said to Granddad, “As long as you are here, you are Dad to me. And I will treat you that way.” He also told him that he may be the captain of this ship, but God is the admiral and whatever happens, God is the one running the show. Then he joined hands with all of us and prayed. He signed the form saying that it is a medical necessity for Granddad to have a private room. He let all of us ask questions and talked frankly with us. He told us what he knows and what he does not know. He said that if we needed to talk to him, to leave a note on Granddad’s chart. He told us that he would rather give no information than wrong information, so he would call when he was sitting in front of the chart. I was so very impressed. This doctor helped with a lot of stress for all of us. It was very emotional and everyone cried. He asked Granddad that if God were to call him home whether or not Granddad wanted the doctor to try and bring him back. Granddad very clearly said no. We know the time we have left is likely short. It is wonderful that God sent us a doctor that will handle it with such sensitivity, dignity and respect.

I heard from my mother today. They will not be doing the biopsy until tomorrow. The doctor thinks that Granddad may have double pneumonia. Since Granddad has refused a feeding tube, if he’s got it, there really isn’t anything they can do. We hope the prognosis is better, but that’s in God’s hands.

It’s just not in me to rant about current events or just stream random thoughts. Please bear with me. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming soon.

Update: He can’t swallow. Not water or pudding. They are deciding now whether or not to do the back surgery. Realistically, there wouldn’t be much point. They probably will not do the biopsy. They are making arrangements with hospice to make him comfortable