07 September 2003 - 10:06 PM
My grandfather is dying.
The Viking and I spent a large portion of yesterday with him and with Grandmaman. When we first got there, we felt pretty sanguine about his chances of recovering -- he was alert, eating, talking, and while there was some aphasia, his weakness was equally balanced between right and left hands and feet. His blood pressure was ridiculously high, which was the biggest worry. The Viking's guess was perhaps that he had a TIA (transient ischemic attack, aka mini-stroke) which would account for the aphasia-without-weakness, in addition to the infection and existing health problems.
Then we went over to Grandmaman's to check on her. She's holding up relatively well -- today the doctor wrote her a prescription for Atavan -- but she is quite understandably upset. After we'd done what we could to cheer her up and distract her from her woes, we went back to Grandpapa.
The second visit left us both feeling pessimistic. The aphasia was worse and he was definitely less responsive overall. We didn't go over today, but Maman went over with Sis and the Engineer, and the Avuncular One came down from his abode as well as Grandpapa's children from his first marriage. Sis reports that he seemed to recognise most of them, but that he was unable to talk at all, he's lost his grip in his right hand, and while he will eat and drink, he has trouble swallowing. All quite different from yesterday morning and none of it a good sign.
I don't know that anyone from the family has successfully talked to his GP, although I know the doc signed off on a fresh DNR and advance medical directives instructing that pain only be treated. I know that Grandpapa's hematologist was in today and talked to the assembled masses. He thought that Grandpapa had suffered a full-blown cerebrovascular accident (the current technical term for a stroke) and is very pessimistic. The Viking suspects that rather than a CVA, there have been a series of the TIAs which have had more or less the same effect. It doesn't really matter which it is. I don't think any of us expect that he will recover.
The good news is that Grandmaman is taken care of (another advantage to the retirement community) and she will be able to move to assisted living care and/or full nursing, as needed, within the same facility. All the family have been alerted and have been able to visit within the last couple of days. The medical paperwork is under control. And while this I'm sure is not the way Grandpapa would have chosen to depart, he's 87 years old, and he's had a darned good run. And so, now we wait, and pray.
If any of you have family you haven't seen recently, call them up and tell them you love them. Call the ones you have seen recently and tell them, too.