My life has been set on pause for the last few months.
Every day I have been waiting; waiting for the nurse to return my call, waiting while driving an hour to the hospital, waiting for the doctor, waiting for a lift, waiting in line at the café around the street because the hospital has banned my beloved Coca Cola, waiting for the night to end without receiving an urgent call about her condition, waiting at a specialists, waiting for a time machine to be invented so I can go back to last year and prepare for said waiting.
My grandmothers health has been poor since late last year. A late night trip to the hospital last August revealed a long sinus pause in her heart, the doctor was slightly concerned and referred her to a cardiologist who performed various tests. One of the last tests he ordered was a holter monitor in February. After wearing the holter monitor for 24 hours she was told that the cardiologist would take a look and get back to her in a few days. She strolled down to the bus stop and decided to stop in the city to do some shopping before returning home. Just as the bus pulled up to the stop and she prepared to board, she heard someone screaming her name. It was two nurses, running in her direction and screaming her name, followed by another nurse with a wheelchair. When they finally reached her, they told her that there was a serious problem, that the cardiologist wanted to admit her so he could assess her situation. My grandmother, stubborn at heart, asked them if she could come back later, as she wanted to do some shopping. Five minutes later the nurses finally convinced her that it was urgent, then a few hours later my Gran was on a ward, hooked up the heart monitors, having her blood pressure taken hourly and still unsure what all the fuss was about.
The fuss was about a three second sinus pauses during the day and a six-ten second sinus pauses at night time. She was kept in hospital for over a week in late February. Treatment was a pacemaker, but her doctors were concerned about her high blood pressure, various clotting medications and low white blood cell count, they decided to postpone the procedure for a week and try to stabilise her blood pressure and blood count. My Gran spend her days in hospital protesting politely. She is very independent and despises anyone making a fuss. She told the doctors to just get on with and and not worry about her, as she was sure they had more important things to do, they laughed and pointed out that worrying about her was their job and she was their most critical patient in their care.
When I visited her in hospital, I first noticed that she was hooked up to monitors and looking quite sickly and tired, the first things she asked me was “who won the cricket last night?” I laughed, she told me that her motto is ‘nothing in life is more important than lotto, cricket and football’. After I found out the cricket scores from another patient, I went to find a vase for the flowers I had bought her. I found a vase near the nurses station, as I snipped off the stems the head nurses said, “your Gran really scares the night staff” in a serious tone that caught me off guard. I asked why – given that she in her late 80’s and doesn’t own a gun – he replied, “her sinus pauses at night, they’re becoming too long, they sit watching the monitor ready to page the doctor.” After that confession I no longer slept well at night either.
During another visit I stopped by her unit to gather some of her belongings. Betty, one of my Grandmothers friends, met me outside and inquired about when she was coming home. I told her I was unsure, then she asked if I would pass on well wishes to my Gran and that she missed gossiping with her. I replied, “of course, I’m sure she misses your company and can’t wait to see you again” with a smile. Betty was pleased. She bid goodbye and proceeded to walk away. Then she suddenly paused and turned around to say possibly one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received, “you remind me of my granddaughter, she always looks me in the eye when she talks to me and has such a warmth about her. You don’t see that in a lot of young people these day. Your Grandmother is lucky to have you.”
I must say, RPH have fantastic staff. I am astounded by their professionalism and friendliness. You simply look confused in a corridor and a orderly appears – as if by teleportation – and asks you if you need some assistance. It’s sad that the government plan to close such a historical hospital.
My only gripe – a frivolous one at that – is there seems to be a ban on classic Coca Cola at the hospital. Upon consulting the nurses, I found out they score a hit of Coke from the dealers down the street and I then started buying Coke in bulk for myself and the day nurses.
My grandmother was discharged from the hospital two days after they put in the pacemaker. She then stayed with me for a week so I could keep an eye on her and while she watched the cricket. Apart from some bruising and the pacemaker needed it’s pulse/speed changed, she is feeling dramatically better. She has returned home to gossip with her friend Betty and is quite perplexed as to why she feels a tad weak when walking to the shops. Her doctor says it will take six-eight weeks for her to fully recover and for her to take it easy.
Alas, easy is not how my Gran rolls.
I read that post with increasing trepidation but I’m pleased your gran is home again and feeling better. She’s sounds like a great lady – long may she follow the cricket.
Got to admit, I also felt increasing fear while reading. It’s really good to hear that your gran got through this ordeal and has people around her who care so much. She sounds like a very strong woman.
Oh and welcome back Kitta! 🙂
Thanks Kazzi. 😀
So glad to hear she’s doing better. All my prayers are with her, you, and your family.
glad that she’s home to gossip with her buddies again – and that really is a nice compliment to get, hope you had yourself another can of coke to celebrate 🙂
Great to hear from you girl… and that your Gran is doing “ok” if not 100% 🙂
Hospitals can be horrible places, and the longer you’re there, the longer it seems to take to get out… 😦 *memories of my grandfather last year* he just never made it out in the end…
Look after her 🙂
Such a lovely well written piece Kitta, it had me on tenderhooks all the way. We’ve all been thinking of you and your Gran and we are glad your back and happy.
I lost my Mum in November after a 3 week stay in intensive care in which we barely left the hospital. Luckily for us our local hospital issued Coke and Snickers on prescription and we found when added to severe sleep deprivation you could achieve a “Massive” sugar rush…….wheeeeeeeeeeeee
Unfortunately my 83 year old mother in-law has started having strokes/seizures and has been admitted 3 times since xmas. Sleeping with one hand on the phone is uncomfortable but as she makes a full recovery each time I’m just wondering which one of us will go first, her to a stroke or me to heart failure?
The main thing is that just like your Gran, she’s here now and she’s happy and that makes me happy.
Welcome back honey
This post really got me close to tears!
I share your feelings as my grand-mother’s health condition declined a couple years ago.
Keep up the good spirit 🙂
Kitta, I am glad to hear that your gran is feeling well again, I cannot imagine the sleepless nights you must have had waiting on news. I am going back to Scotland tomorrow to visit my own gran who is unfortunately now in a hospice and your post has reminded me of how little I have seen her over the past few years.
Take care, Adam
Don’t you just hate the waiting?!
Typical Hospital / Doctor visit…
“Well, Ed, your test results are back and you only have a week to live. Come back in two weeks and we’ll discuss your options.”
Good to know that you, and your Grandmother, are OK. I was beginning to worry a little.
You have me all teary eyed Kitta…I’ll leave it at that.
Great story Kitta. Got to love a happy ending.
😥 This a a beautiful little story and i really hope your grandmother will stay with you for a long time..
I’ve never felt such fears for my grandfather at this time..It makes me so sad to know that he can leave me at any moment from now…
I found your blog by accident by twitter. And I’ll be back.
Give her our best. We will pry for her. I hope she feels better and back to herself soon.
she have to take it easy on the shopping 🙂
all the best.
Lovely post. I’m glad that things have worked out. Now, take Gran out for lunch and shopping!