Saturday, December 13, 2008

Update: Grandpa No-legs

It's not looking good for Grandpa No-legs.

Last year sometime, he started acting a fool and demanded to be put into a nursing home. My mother wasn't having it and ignored him. Then he started surreptitiously calling social service organizations claiming my mother was abusing him.

If a person could get in trouble for wanting to abuse a person, we'd all be behind bars. I never understood elder abuse before he turned into an elder I wanted to abuse. But that guy had it made. He was running my poor mother ragged and to repay her he accused her of abusing him.

He's a capital fellow, my grandfather.

My mother suffered grief over this and ultimately acquiesced and put him in a nursing home six or so months ago. He bounced around a bit before finally landing in a nursing home just around the corner from us in Holyoke. The others he tried out just didn't suit him.

Honestly, I didn't visit him much, mostly because he's an asshole. Also, because he hardly really noticed who visited him. He retreated into a strange la-la land. Basically, he had no idea he was blind or anything because he was having hallucinations all the time, inventing realities that were real only to him.

And they were weird. He was having eye pain and invented a story of someone breaking glass into his eye. He told my mother that there was glass in his eye and the nursing home wasn't doing anything about it. My mother checked in with the nurse, of course, and the nurse told her that he told them there was glass in his eye as well, so they called the appropriate professionals to check his eyes and, well, there was no glass.

More recently, his ear was hurting him. He told the nurse that his wife had been beating him up side the head. If my grandmother were beating him up side the head, she'd certainly have good cause, but she hadn't visited him without my mother at her side and there was no beating of any kind.

And when he wasn't out to lunch, he was still pretty jerky. But lately there's been less jerky and more out-to-lunch than ever before.

This past week he's taken a serious turn. My mother called this morning to advise me that visiting today was a good idea. He'd stopped eating and drinking.

I went over to the nursing home this afternoon. He was lying in the bed looking really small. Smaller still since he doesn't wear his prosthetic legs anymore. I shouted hello to him. Announced myself. He didn't respond. I shouted again, "Grandpy, can you hear me?" He responded, "Yes?" So I told him I loved him and that I was lucky to have a Grandpa deep into my thirties. I rubbed his head for a while. Then I started to cry quietly to myself.

And I kept crying for a while. Not out loud or anything. But shortly a nurse came in and put her hand on my back and said she was sorry. I thanked her. Then I cried a little more and I left.


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