24 March 2008

For Saturday, I had written an entry that was a rather cryptic return from my ten-day hiatus. My mind is in a [somewhat] better place now, so maybe I can get through a rational explanation of the weekend's events.

Easter. Yeah. Great.

... Or maybe not. I just explained the situation to Lindsay--or ranted about it--Michelle and Ian have also sort of heard about it.

My mother's family is certifiable, I'm convinced.

My grandmother had an aneurysm on Thursday.

My mother has six siblings, and none of them knows the value of leaving a message on an answering machine apparently. My parents said they had a dozen calls on Thursday night, all of them resulting in dead air on the answering machine--after which they unplugged the phone because they thought it was over-zealous marketers or kids pulling pranks--because, surely, if the matter were that important, the caller might leave even a sparse message. No.

Since the robbery, my parents have had one dinosaur of a computer in their home. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. And for this reason, it's not very useful for checking email. My father finally received his new desk-top in the mail on Thursday, but he hadn't set it up yet, because he gets home late most nights and is too tired to mess with it.

On Friday night, my mother had managed to make "the dinosaur" log on to the internet. In her inbox, there's an email from my uncle J asking her to get in touch with one of them. Uncle F is angry at my parents for not responding sooner--he doesn't quite believe they were robbed and have one old computer that doesn't quite work all the time. Aunt J is convinced that she could have done something to prevent Nana's aneurysm. Uncle C is now living by himself, but occasionally being looked in on by my uncle S. Aunt K is ... well, she's a bossy bitch.

The family is imploding, basically, and nobody is communicating very well; and my mother can't get a straight story about Nana's condition from any of them. So she messages me on AIM on Friday night (when I'm out at the Publick House with Lindsay, Ahmer, Bob, Kathy, and a silent young man whose name I couldn't catch in the din). When I get home at midnight, this is the message:

"Nana had an aneurysm. She's at Beth Israel, and maybe you can visit for us. Call me."

Midnight seemed an inappropriate time to respond to this message, so I went to bed.

I called in the morning, trying to find out where exactly Nana is at Beth Israel (it's a sprawling hospital), but Mum didn't know that. She knew when visiting hours began, but that was about it. It didn't help that my phone was uncharged, because she wanted me to go there, find out Nana's condition, and call them back immediately. So I let the phone charge for a while, got ready, and walked down to the D line.

My first guess at the buildings was wrong. I went into the East Campus building, because that's the official address for the whole hospital, and was informed that Nana was actually in the West Campus building. And when I got there, the front desk person told me that she was in room 675--but there really isn't a room 675, at least not labeled as such. I wouldn't have known where to go at all if aunt J hadn't spotted me first.

A (aunt J's husband) had taken C to get food, so we were the only ones there to begin with. We stood outside the ICU for a while, because they were in the process of doing something with Nana, and I tried to get J to say something of her condition so that I'd know what to expect. But J doesn't really know what's what.

J: "Well, an aneurysm is like a stroke that happens in the brain."
Me: "Really? I thought that strokes also happened in the brain."
J: "No, strokes happen in the heart... blahblahblah... "
Uhhhh ... I didn't have the patience to argue with her on that front. And I really wanted to hear something from an actual doctor.

Talking to J [inappropriately] reminds me of this commercial:

I really wasn't prepared to see Nana this way. There's a tube that goes through her groin, all the way up into her skull and out to drain the excess fluid from the aneurysm. An orderly--or maybe she was a nurse--came in and re-adjusted the oxygen tube to her nose. She was in an out of consciousness during the time that Jean and I were in the room. For thirty seconds at the most her eyes would be open, and then she'd go back into fitful rest. She talks, but sometimes there's no sound, and when there is sound, it's a gruff lower version of her voice.

She didn't know me at first. J said she recognises people, but she didn't seem to know me. I told her who I was. She smiled and asked me, "What do you have on the docket today?" I had to get her to repeat it before I understood what she'd asked. And then I felt guilty for making her repeat anything. And guilty for feeling and allowing myself to look upset, because I didn't want to upset her. She lapsed back into what J referred to as "her restful state," and I stood there for a while and watched her breathe. J told me to keep talking to her, but I had no idea what to say, and I was fully engrossed in trying to hear anything that she might say in her sleep. "I'm tired" and "it's not working." And I think hypoglycemia was kicking in, because my vision was getting spotty.

I heard a man's voice asking for room 675, and when I turned around uncle J and his girlfriend G were talking to one of the staff--a woman informing them that only two people could see Nana at one time. I vacated, and aunt J was close behind me. F was in the hallway outside the ICU doors, and he asked J if we'd been to see Nana and who was there now? The two of them made faces about uncle J's girlfriend being there, and then aunt J led the way back to the waiting room. F and N had brought their sons, though F didn't seem very happy about it. They asked me about the robbery, where I'm living, and then seemed to be done with me. So I plugged my cell phone into an outlet and called my mother.

I told her who was there, and what I knew, which wasn't--and still isn't--much. C and A came back into the room, but didn't notice me for a while. Then C did, and I motioned that I was still on the phone with my mother--and, regardless, I didn't want to talk to him anyway. And when I was done talking to her, I slipped away to the bathroom. From the bathroom, I made a beeline for the elevators, and out to the Longwood food-court to assuage my hunger and avoid my relatives.


Something completely different: some things that make me laugh ...

"The Return of Mr. Gosh" - I was inspired to look this up by an LJ friend's recent post.

"Magic Muffin" - whenever I see muffins, I think of the comic, and the following animated version ...

Turn the page ...