Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

My Granny Betty is not well

My beloved and beautiful Granny Betty who has been an indomitable and incredibly strong yet gentle woman her whole life is final starting to show signs of her age. She fell in the dark 10 days ago and cut the top of her head open. Then on Friday she was sent to frail care with breathing difficulties.

I visited her on Friday, Sunday, last night and am going again today...

She'll be 92 in September.

(From Friday)
She is clearly aging and becoming more and more frail now. BUT she is still completely 'there' as always. She is still bright, cheerful, self-deprecating, thoughtful, kind, informed, gracious, humble and grateful etc. She does struggle to speak - which seems to be both due to an infection the fluid in her lungs and her heart arrhythmia. So she speaks softly and then loses her breath half-way through a sentence and has to gasp a bit to catch her breath. Kind of like trying to talk after running fast. Which is obviously tiring for her. So I tried to do most of the talking and didn't ask too many questions.

She insists that she has no pain from the fall, and the bruising on her face is secondary internal bleeds due to her blood thinning medication and not cos she hit her face directly. So in her usual way she is 'FINE'.

She had thought she'd be in frail-care for a few days, but apparently the Dr has told her to expect to be there for 3-4 weeks. I am not certain what this really means. I think it's either a:
1. Serious lung issue which can heal, but takes long, or less nice option
2. Terminal situation which will slowly deteriorate...

After that she was taken to hospital as she got worse on Saturday. I found her at Constantiaberg...

(From Sunday).
We were very pleased to see that she is actually doing a lot better now than Friday. She is on a drip (probably anti-biotics and/or cortisone?) and has a nasal oxygen feed and is definitely breathing easier so she can now talk better and has perked up a lot. She is visibly more 'pink' too.

We had a good chat, and she seemed in good spirits and is still completely aware of everything around her. She thanks everyone for their concern and thoughts. The boys gave her a big hug too. It was a good visit. There was no doctor around so I am not sure what her diagnosis and/or prognosis is. But she is ok for now and insists she is in no pain and is feeling ok

(Then yesterday)
I think she is definitely getting weaker. Sadly. She now has an oxygen mask (instead of the nasal tube) as I think she needs a bigger more constant oxygen supply. Her eyes are a it bloodshot now too, and apparently they are having to feed her at meal times. She can no longer stand unassisted and is now catheterised. Apparently she is receiving a larger dose of 'wharferan'?. She talks of 'being like a child again'. I think she is finding it a little embarrassing, but is handling it all in her usual very dignified way.

She is still speaking more easily than she was on Friday. So I think overall she is more well (ie I think her chest has cleared a bit), but she is also more tired and weaker if that makes sense...? I am no expert at all, but at this stage I gather they are keeping her comfortable but are not holding out that much hope, which seems supported by the fact that when I phoned to ask about visiting hours and how strict they are and they said they are usually quite strict but that they are happy that I go see her immediately, which was an hour before visiting times.

While we were there the stitches were taken out of her head as that wound has healed quite well. I held her hand as they struggled a bit to get the stitches out since they were quite tangled in her hair.

Again she chatted to us quite nicely,and told me her bank cards etc had been found. She also told me that her living will had not been located, or formally signed though, but mentioned that she'd spoken to the doctor and they they have made a note on her file not to resuscitate her, should it come to that. (I wonder if she senses that the end is near?)

I'll be talking the boys through again tomorrow evening, and they have both started making some beautiful cards for her - out of their own suggestion. I asked if she likes foot rubs and I think I'll take some lotion along tomorrow so I can rub her feet for a while, if she'd like me to.

She is old and I think it is probably 'her time', so I feel fairly accepting of it all, but I do feel sadness and melancholy about it too. She is blessed and wonderful person. I hope she doesn't suffer.

I regret that I never went to see my granddad on my last visit to Cape Town before he died in 1996, and then was not there for my mother when she died (as we were estranged and I didn't realise she was that sick)... so I think since my gran is an amazing person and I am the only one around. I haven't been the most attentive granddaughter to her in recent years, so I feel both obliged and also quite driven to do whatever I can in this situation. She deserves it and I really want to.

My sister and her family are coming down at the week-end and I suspect my dad and possibly other sister will make plans to come through soon. I'll update them all after today's visit again.

1 comment:

  1. Will be thinking of you during this tough time.