As I'm sure anyone who reads this blog (and doesn't already know me) has figured out, I have a lot of family around and we are all very close. I love my family, and I love having children of my own.
My parents and my aunt Jane and uncle Ed are all away- in Paris, to be precise. In their absence, I am the emergency contact for my grandparents and P. Last night the phone rang with a "wireless caller" with a local number. I answered it- it was the nurse from the assisted living home where my grandparents live. Of course my stomach just dropped. "It's not bad," she said. I thought, "how could it not be bad if you're calling me?"
My grandfather had lost his balance and fallen backwards, and hit his head on the wall behind him. He had an "abrasion," but the nurse thought he was really ok. A place like that can't just send someone with a head injury to bed without further inspection, so they sent him to the ER. At 9:30, I got in the car and drove to the hospital to be with my grandpa.
I really didn't want to go- at that hour I had been thinking my schedule for the evening was going to be dessert, garbage TV, and early bedtime. But I couldn't stand the idea of him at the emergency room by himself. Plus with his aphasia, I worried he would have a hard time telling the nurses and doctor some personal information.
When I walked in and saw him there (and he had just gotten in, I heard them announcing the ambulance over the loudspeaker as I walked in), surrounded by strangers, I was so glad that I went. I felt protective of him the same way I do of my kids, which was a strange feeling, considering that for most of my life, my grandfather has been a very authoritative and imposing figure. I almost started to cry, but I stopped myself.
They took very good and respectful care of my grandpa. There was the usual waiting around that you get at any ER visit, but they were fairly efficient. A doctor came in very shortly after my grandpa was registered, and he told us that grandpa would need some staples, a tetanus shot, and a CAT scan. All in all, it took 2 hours.
My grandpa was alert and coherent the whole time, which was reassuring. In fact, I heard him talk more last night than I have in months, maybe even years! We had a wonderful conversation about our family, and about how special our family is because we are so supportive of each other. It's true, we are a loving and, in my grandfather's words, cohesive family.
After they discharged my grandpa, I took him home and back to my grandma (who had called the ER looking for him after I didn't call with an update for 45 minutes), and then went home and jumped into bed- at 12:30. Then the boys woke up at 6:45! Eric let me sleep later, but I woke up at 8 and rushed around to get the boys ready for school, and myself ready for work. When I got in the car to drive to work and had a moment to think, I started to cry.
Last night was hard- not the being up late- but seeing my grandfather that way, and at the same time feeling closer to him than I have in a long time. He thanked me for being with him, which I said was my pleasure, and he said that he appreciated how I was able to talk to the doctors and nurses. It made me feel good to be helpful. But I miss my grandparents so much; maybe that sounds crazy because they are "here," but they are not the people they used to be. My grandpa was wearing a shirt he used to wear in the summer on the Cape, and it just made me miss those days and those relationships. I know this is life, that my grandparents are aging, and one day they will be gone, and I am bringing a new life into the world to carry on their legacy. It's why my boys and I have my mom's maiden name as our middle names, because this family is so important to all of us.
I'm actually grateful for the moment I had to spend with my grandfather. It is so easy to be caught up in the needs of my own immediate family, and when I am with my grandparents and my kids I tend to focus on my children. I spent a lot of time last night thinking about and remembering the special moments I have had with my grandpa- living with my grandparents in Paris when I was 11 and slipping a prayer into the Western Wall when we visited Israel to ask that my grandfather and I not argue anymore; living at their house the year that I met Eric, having them dance at my wedding. I'm lucky, and I made sure I told my grandpa that last night, and I rubbed my belly and told Petunia that this morning- she is one lucky girl to come into a family like this.
I'm thankful that my grandfather is fine, and that it was nothing serious, and I'm thankful we got a moment together for me to remember how much my grandparents mean to me. Tomorrow the boys and I are going over to them for lunch. Asher actually threw a tantrum on the lawn after school today because I told him we were going tomorrow and he wanted to go NOW! He definitely has his mommy's family-oriented attitude!