Let me rewind a bit to replay some of the details...
My mom called me about a month ago to tell me that I should really start looking at flights to fly home to Colorado and see Grams, stat. I panicked a little and jumped online, hoping I'd find a sweet deal, pronto. No dice. Ticket prices ranged from $600 to $800--what the what?! Yes. I just want to go home to see my Grams, not play tourist in the mountains! It was infuriating
I continued checking, looking farther and farther in to September, then October.... Please God, let her wait for me... please let these crazy prices drop...
Last Thursday my mom called me in the middle of the day. She never does this, knowing I'm at work, so I figured it was important. Before I hit "accept", I just knew it was about Grams.
Grams was in the hospital. ICU. Her lung had filled with fluid, she couldn't breathe on her own. Ventilator, sedated. Cancer.
Back to the interwebs. My work colleagues helped me search flights for that night. Does $550 work for you? Boom, I'll take it. Ticket purchased, I rushed home to pack, then rushed to catch my buses to get to the airport. I hopped a couple planes and landed in Denver about midnight that night. Please God, let her wait for me...
I headed to the hospital Friday morning. She was sleeping, but would stir when we talked to her and even opened her eyes, under the influence of the sedatives. Her eyes stared blankly back at me, but I chatted her up anyway, told her I had finally come, that I was there.
The plan at that point was to turn everything off, unplug, say goodbye and let go on Sunday. But Grams had other ideas.
On Friday afternoon, her status began to steadily improve. By Friday evening, the doctor's plan was to wean her off the sedatives and test the waters with some breathing exercises, seeing how she might fare off the ventilator. On Saturday, she was a star patient--she was awake, she responded to questions by nodding her head, and she was sure ticked off that she had a tube down her throat. It was decided: come Sunday morning the ventilator was to be shut down and the tube would come out.
Sunday morning, the family gathered. We fidgeted and paced the hallway, awaiting the doctor to finish rounds. The time arrived at last--success! We rushed in and took turns hugging her, talking to her, holding her hand. All the nurses and doctors marveled at what a strong fighter she was and discussed release from the hospital the next day!
My flight back to Pittsburgh was scheduled for Monday morning. I said goodbye to Grams on Sunday night, giving her lots of kisses on the forehead. She said she would see me again.
They released her home yesterday afternoon. Mom sent me a text late last night, telling me she was home and that hospice was set up.
This morning I awoke to find another text from Mom: your Grams passed tonight.
See, Grams hated hospitals. Hated. Them. She knew her time had come but refused to breathe her last within the hospital's walls. She would be home.
I am so grateful that I was able to finally make it home to see my beloved Grams. I am at peace knowing she is no longer suffering, that her last moments were in the house she had lived in for 60-plus years, that my mom and uncle were by her side up until the final moments, and that she is finally back with Grampa.
|Three generations on my wedding day, August 2012. Isn't she lovely??|
Goodbye, my Gramma C. Nighty night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bight. I will love you forever and ever.
your Jessi C