When I last left you, I had said that Mom and I were going to Virginia on Tuesday to talk to doctors. Well, we left at 3 a.m. on Monday, got to Virginia, went to see Grandma, went up to Charlottesville, and headed to University of Virginia to the clinic the next day. After a couple of tests, the doctor gave the final diagnosis: ALS. This meant…well, we didn’t really know what this meant. We headed back to the rehab center and before leaving, we sat with her and Mom and I cried. We were so sad to know that she was never coming home because of a stupid, possibly false diagnosis. We left with the intent of saying good-bye to the house after 20 days.
After coming home, dumbfounded, we went back to see her the next day. As we walked through the door, she turned to us and beamed. The speech therapist, Cliff, was there, giving her an evaluation (find a good starting point). Cliff left and it was just the three of us.
And then she looked at us. She looked at us as she told us something that broke our hearts. “You two were sitting here crying,” she told us through her broken speech that only I seem to be able to understand, “and I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t understand. But then I woke up this morning, and I…understood…” Her face became red and her seemingly dry eyes filled with water. “I thought you were never coming back. I thought you were going to leave me here.” Her speech became even more incoherent as she began to cry. “I thought you were going to put me in a nursing home. I didn’t think you’d be back.” I wanted to cry so hard, but I couldn’t. I had to hear what she had to say. “I started to cry because… I just want to go home.” I looked at Mom as I suddenly started to sob. But that was ok, Mom was too. We went over to Grandma and sat beside her and hugged her. “I just want to go home” she said again.
And that’s what Mom and I had wanted since we knew she was in the hospital. This was the first time that I had seen this independent, strong woman cry. And it was the second time that Mom had seen her cry. It broke our heart. That’s what we wanted too. And that was it, it was time to get some answers. Operation: Get Grandma Home. That was our goal.
The next day, Grandma told us about a nurse who is so mean to her, that it makes her cry. “I just want to go home” she told us again. She told us the same story today. It upset us. You don’t make my grandma cry. She is unhappy already, don’t make her even more so. Poor Grandma, it hurts to see her in there. That place wears me out. I get so tired after a while because of all of the noise and activity.
Wednesday, Mom and I talked to David, the social worker. He said that Grandma was on the rehab floor with the intent to go home.
Wait, she’s coming home?!
Yep, so it seems. David said that after a couple of weeks, the therapists (speech, physical, etc.) would go in for a meeting and give their evaluation and decide if she can go home or if she has to stay in there longer. But today, Thursday, when we walked in, Cliff was there watching her eat lunch. She didn’t choke, praise Jesus (she hadn’t been able to eat or drink anything because her throat didn’t work properly). He gave the o.k. for her to eat breakfast and dinner without supervision. Praise Jesus! Now she doesn’t have to have the feeding tube until after dinner, instead of all day. Her speech is much better, now Mom can…almost understand her.
She walks like a pro, she’s faster than me…sometimes. The only problem she has is talking, and that’s because she’s not a talkative person, and doesn’t have people to talk to. Well, now that Mom and I are here, she won’t have a problem with that.
Now, why are we going to be here, if she’s so much better? She falls. Usually outside. But with ALS, she could quite possibly fall more, the further this disease progresses. In that case, the doctors have said that in order to go home, she can’t be left alone. In comes us.
We lived here for 4 years (3 1/2 really). 2006-2010. We weren’t pleasant people to be around, as Grandma has told us a few time. Of course, we already knew that. Which is why we need her to come home, so we can change her mind about us. “It’s not going to be like that” Mom said to her today. “We’ve grown up” replied Grandma. Yes, Grandma, we have. We love you, and we see the error of our ways. We’re so sorry, that we can’t express to you in words. So, let us express this to you in actions. Actions not like our own in the past. It’s going to be better. We’ve grown up.
Mom and I are waiting for everyone to tell us she can come home, so we can go back to Nashville and grab our stuff and come back. Once we’re in, we’re in for good. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be leaving work. And, shhhh, I’m glad to be leaving the city. I miss this house, I miss the feeling I had when I lived her before, I miss the memories, I miss the atmosphere. I don’t want to go back to work for a while. I never wanted a full-time job after I left college. I wanted a part-time job to focus on writing. That certainly didn’t work. Which is why I’m happy to be here. I did so much writing within those 4 years, and that’s the way I feel when I’m in this house. I will do something that I love, and I will do it around people who I love.
Thanks for sticking around, reader. You mean so much to me, and I’m glad that I have someone to share this with. Welcome to my public diary. I wouldn’t want to share it with anyone else.
Have a great day.