Saturday, March 7, 2015

Last Gift for Grandma

I was recently reminded that Sheila's niece trained the famous Lippizzaner Stallions. Upon hearing that again, I envisioned my grandma...no not as a horse.

She had been in the Intensive Care Unit  in a coma. No amount of stimulus could bring her out of her comatose state.  She had been in ill health and was being transported to a hospital when she took a turn for the worse, and the ambulance had to stop at the nearest hospital. She did not respond to any stimulus until I came into her room and called her name. She awoke for me, her first granddaughter. I was actually sorry to have awakened her, because she suffered a lot those last two months. I was a mom with young children and I stayed overnights at the hospital. It was a rough time for everyone.

After a month of ups and downs and great weight loss, she had a sudden burst of energy and asked the nurses to prove to me and my cousin, Donna, that she wasn't weak and could walk again. Two nurses assisted the poor, little, thin, dear, supporting her one on each side as she pranced like a Lippizzaner Stallion, lifting her legs, high-stepping and prancing around the perimeter of the Intensive Care Unit with a huge smile on her face. 

After that she had to be put on a ventilator, which she hated, and was kept sedated most of the time after her tracheotomy. When the day came to remove the tube, the doctor said, "Anytime someone has asked you a question you've raise your hand and flipped your palm up and down. What are you trying to say? Cover your trache hole and speak."

She flipped her hand and said, "I have to pee."

Everybody cracked up because she had used that hand signal for everything.

Today would have been Grandma's 100th birthday.

My grandma, proud of her German heritage, had these plaster plaques of a little Dutch boy and girl hanging her kitchen for as long as I can remember. They now hang in my kitchen.


Grandma asked me to curl her hair like mine. I told her I had a curly perm. She begged me to give her one. I told her when she got out of the hospital I would. I knew she wasn't coming out. When the call came that she was gravely ill, I rushed to the hospital with my mom, but it was too late. The nurse told us that Grandma had expired. I wish she had said, "died" as Grandma and I never minced words. We spent time in her room talking to her.

I walked to her night stand and took out her bag of pink foam curlers and rolled my grandma's hair. I cried and talked and sobbed and said, "There you go Grandma. There's a halo waiting for those curls." Then  I closed her door and drove my mom and me home.
Happy 100th Grandma

11 comments:

Mevely317 said...

Why, I can just envision your sweet grandma high-stepping her way around the ICU.
You've such a gift for painting us a scene in 'living color' with your words.

Your final act of love -- so precious, so poignant!

Bookie said...

Bittersweet post today,Linda. Happy 100 to your sweet Grandma.
Great new picture of you!
Sun is out here today...hope you are seeing it too!

Sioux said...

Linda--The image of you curling your grandmother's hair after she had died brought tears to my eyes.

I am sure she is having a rollicking good time right now...

Val said...

I'm glad Grandma got her perm. You must think of her when when you see that high-stepping Dutch girl.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

This was so sweet. Now I am all teary and will go off to bed in my drugged state!

K9friend said...

Such a sweet story, Linda. Long ago, when a family member died, the other family members were the ones who cared for and prepared the body. We've been disconnected from doing such things these days. It's beautiful you had the opportunity to serve your grandmother in this loving way.

Pat
Critter Alley

Cathy C. Hall said...

I Noticed your new picture before I read this post, only made even more poignant by the roll and set you gave your grandmother.

That's love, Linda. ( And I think I need a tissue now.)

Lisa Claro said...

Tears and laughter both today, Linda. Your grandmother was proud of you, I'm sure, and she'd be even more proud now and of all you continue to accomplish.

Tammy said...

What a touching story! Happy birthday to Grandma.

Mary Menke said...

Beautiful story, Linda! I can't believe your grandmother would only be 100--my dad would have been 100 next year.

Daisy said...

Very sweet but sad post, Linda. This brought back some memories of my own grandma.