Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Still Watching Grandma

Am back home but I’m still watching Grandma--in my dreams, in the back of my mind. It is Tuesday morning the day after Labor Day but it feels as tho this past week has been one long day. All week long, even with my eyes closed, even while asleep, I was watching Grandma. Once I was chasing after her down the long corridors of a hospital, pushing her walker as she leapt like a gazelle on the moon over obstacles, trailing shards of mischievous laughter. Once I followed after her shaky baby-sized shuffles down the night-shadowed hallway of her house gazing with concern at her trembling left arm as it passed under the dim night-light on the wall, fearing she was going to fall if she continued to push the wheeled walker so far in front of her in her eagerness to get to the front room.

The first was a dream the second a surreal reality. I had been wakened by the wail of ‘Clairol, Clairol!’ after less than three hours of sleep Saturday night. That is what I heard in my dream as I woke to the fact it was real and Grandma was standing in the open doorway calling me by my sister-in-law’s name, Carol, who had once lived with her and slept in that room. She was in terrible distress but it was all emotional and I feared she would work herself into an asthma attack if she kept it up. She was crying like a grief-stricken child that some one had stole her dog. I tried to reassure her that Spot was sleeping in the living room with her Great-granddaughter who was spending the night with us but she would not be consoled until she lay eyes on her.

She wailed over and over us we shuffled together down the hall and thru the kitchen and around the breakfast bar that her dog was gone, she couldn’t find her dog, some one stole her dog, why would someone steal her dog. She didn’t pause for breath until she spotted Spot laying next to the couch. Then she let me lead her back to bed and help her use the breathing machine.

I thought that after that incident she would sleep in but she didn’t seem to get back to sleep at all. I lay in the other bedroom listening to her restless shifting and breathing until the sky lightened about six-thirty whereupon she got up and went to her recliner in the living room where she could gaze upon her beloved Spot and watch the birds morning fracas in the yard.

That is just one incident out of the time I spent with her. Almost every moment I was there was full of the same anxiety and surrealism. I was preparing a post in my head all week about the need to elevate respect for our elders and their caretakers. But it kept degenerating into a rant because my emotions are all fraught with the personal experience. I can’t back up my statements with statistics or studies or anything like objective analysis. All I have is personal anecdote and personal angst based on first-hand observation and hearsay of stuff that happened to friends and family over the last half a century. I wore myself out trying to find an angle that I could take that wouldn’t sound like either a tirade or a whine.

Then when I finally got back online, for two hours before noon on Monday and then again just after midnight, I was too busy tending to email and chasing down a week’s worth of blogs and news for reading and tending to a variety of blogmaster tasks that didn‘t involve writing. I’m just too weary to think deep and my attention span is severely warped. I keep startling out of whatever I get focused on, thinking that I have forgotten to do something important. The same feeling I would have at Grandma’s whenever I would read more than a page without glancing in her direction to make sure she was where I thought she was and doing what I thought she was doing.

It is now after eleven Tuesday morning and the only sleep I’ve had since waking with the birds Monday morning was a two hour nap in the afternoon which was followed by a family BBQ that evening. I can’t believe I am still awake. I am craving sleep like a child craves candy. Deep and dreamless sleep. Drool on my pillow sleep. Now by the time I get settled down in the bedroom I’m going to have less than six hours before I am called for dinner.

1 tell me a story:

Anonymous,  9/16/2006 12:38 AM  

I know what Joy means to be always alert. She whached a movie with me the night I was there she could baraly keep her eyes open but she looked at every nouise that she could hear. I feel sorry for Joy
because I get tierd of her and I only spend one day with her. I love my grandma but sometimes she can be a pain.


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