Friday, December 6, 2013

Helpless and Hopeful

Sometimes life is simply beyond my control and out of my hands...

What seems like months ago, actually only 2 weeks, my Gram was admitted to the hospital. Three days prior to that she had already been to the emergency room with complaints of horrible back pain. They pumped her full of pain meds and let her on her way. Now my girlfriend who works in ER would probably encourage me to see the bigger picture before bashing the health care system in Leamington for not running further tests. Truthfully it's not because they wouldn't run further tests that I am peeved, it's because they never took the time to determine how out of the ordinary this scenario was for my Grandma.

She is 83, 84 on Monday, and very active. She walks, she drives, she moved OUT of a condo and into a townhouse last year so she could have a little yard to tend to if she wanted. She volunteers at the nursing home pushing people younger than her down the hallways to Bingo and to get their hair done. She goes out every Thursday to get her own hair done and watches hockey like it's her job! THIS was out of the norm for her, so I am pissed that she got treated as 'just another old person coming in with aches and pains'. Now perhaps my Gram made little fuss about this, blowing it off and hoping it would didn't. So what started off as horrible back pain spiraled fairly quickly into kidney failure, blood infections and the true source (likely) of everything INCLUDING the pain, an infected abscess on her spinal cord resulting in back surgery. Since then she's been on a road to recovery, laced with minor setbacks that are quickly taken care of.

Perhaps odd, and perhaps not, once they determined what the source of pain was and informed us they were going to operate on it, I felt totally at peace. She was in the hands of an extremely great neurosurgeon whose confidence and humility reminded me that sometimes it's just time to let go and let God. Some people were put on this earth to perform miraculous things and they come in all shapes, sizes, races and genders. They are skilled and the really good ones are also gifted ontop of that. When you go to a surgeon's website and they state that belief and prayer can far outweigh've got someone who sees a much bigger picture! My kind of professional!

Prior to the surgery there were frequent visits to the part of my brain that said 'what if she doesn't make it through this?' but since then all I can think about is 'when will she get home' rather than 'will she get home'. Mind you, the road between here and there has it's own challenges. A very impatient and fed up woman who would, if she could, walk out the doors tomorrow, lays in a hospital bed every single day frustrated as hell. She has good days and bad days, today was rough. She has physio and she can walk, just not far. She is slowly building back her strength while endurance is another story. But it's hard to see her in her bed when she's unhappy. When she can't quite lay right or get comfy or she's restless or hungry because the hospital food tastes like crap (it really does....I tried it). The worst is when she dreads the night time. She says it's as if time stands still in those hours between dark and daylight.

It's funny because she was originally supposed to have a mastectomy on Nov 26...instead she had back surgery...makes me wonder whether she would have ever made it through had it all gone according to 'the plans' with all the other complications she encountered. But that, I will never know the answer too and I am ok not knowing the answer to that one because it is not an issue that is even on the table right now. My deepest hope and belief is that the cancer was just a manifestation of all the other shit and once this heals, perhaps it will be gone as well. I am grateful for the hospital teams and I am also grateful that I have alternative perspectives to provide myself and my family about the entire thing. Not that everyone listens all the time, yet I know it goes in there somewhere :)

I have learned that we all do things because we care and on the other side of that coin is a different kind of caring; a caring that says, I need to give all of this space, I need to give you space, I am not the person who can help you right now, but I will sit here in case I can. I say we because I have seen it every day for the last two weeks with family after family going through the intensive care unit. I can also say I because doing things is a way I show I care just the same as not doing things and just being is as well.

I am proud of myself for acting upon the important things in my life and for asking for support when I really needed it without hesitation and from the people I 'didn't want to bother'. Turns out that asking others to care, even just a little, can result in some powerful peace, gratitude and release.

Thank you ;)