Monday, January 12, 2004

So, in addition to working 16 hours yesterday...

...I received some really bad information about my grandfather.

-- see, my grandfather had been living in a Retirement Community for about two years now. After a strange readjustment to living with other people (I told him to just think about the fact he and his grandson were both living in dorms; he was not amused), he actually began to thrive in this community. Since he'd been living alone after my grandmother died several years earlier, he had lost a lot of the vim & vigor his youthful older days possessed. He essentially became a social recluse, and by moving to a place where he was FORCED to interact with other people (and people close to his age, to boot!), he began to take on some of the crotchety old goat mentality that I love about him so much.

Hey, when you decide that you're best friend is 92, and you're going to have to live one year longer than HE does just so you'd get to have more birthdays than he did...well, it did my heart good to hear him arguing, and to see him eating again.

However, in the last few months/ten weeks...his health has taken a turn for the worse. He's developed what is termed "Dry gangrene" on his right foot. The doctors would like to amputate, but his body would not be able to recover from the trauma, to say nothing of the fact of his spirit would be crushed.

The most humbling and touching moment we shared recently was over the Winter Break, where I had to go pick him up from the Nursing Home he'd been moved to. ...yeah, due to the fact that this Nursing Home had better PT equipment, he had to forego the cushy little private room he had at the Retirement Center and into a room with two other men in this Nursing Home. Anyway, I went to go pick him up to bring him to my parents' home for lunch on Chrimma Eve, and I had to help him out of the bed, into a wheelchair, out to the car, into the car, into the house, etc. And, poor Jay...he is so physically weak, that he needed help when he had to use the restroom.

And here I thought, here I am with the man who held me and carried me and used to change me when I was a kid...and now, our roles were reversing. I had to carry him. I had to help him to keep him from making a mess. I found it strangely touching. He was mortified. I told him I'd just put it on his tab, and he'd owe me a drink later.

But...Jay's now in the hospital due to complications from pneumonia. And word came down yesterday that it appears his liver is failing.

I know that I should be terrified about losing this man who was such a GREAT influence in my life, who shaped me in ways I can't even begin to explain, who used to let me play with a nail gun as a child...but somehow...somehow, all I can keep thinking is, "He's earned this rest. His time is drawing to a close. He's missed my grandmother terribly since she left, and now, now they have a chance to be reunited. He'll just fall asleep, and wake up in a better place."

...but then, this bastard is so damn stubborn, he might just remove his own liver JUST to prove that he's strong enough to get on without one.

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