I Didn’t Know We Got Presents On Labor Day


My mom woke me up and told me Grandma was going to take a shower.  She asked me to keep an ear out and listen for any big booms.  While putting the dishes away, I saw Grandma walking towards me.  “Can you help me?” she asked.  I put on my bathing suit and by the time I got back to her room, she was already in the shower.  I jumped in and helped her wash her hair.  “Help me” she said.  I am helping you, I thought.  “Help me” she said again.  I then realized, “help me” was far beyond taking a shower.  I watched as Grandma got out and dried herself.  I looked at her.  She’s not “skinny,” but she sure doesn’t look the way she used to.  As I watched her, all I could think was, my grandma is dying.

On Sunday, Grandma was eating, she was up talking to us, she was in high spirits.  Except last night, there were faces in the plants.  Now today.  Earlier, Mom caught Grandma in the kitchen reaching for the scissors.   She really does not like that tube.

I looked at her underwear and was puzzled as to why it was so dirty, when it was a new pair.  Grandma sat in a chair in her room, and took a drink of water.  I kept staring at the spot, and then I saw some black stuff come out of the hole in her stomach.  That had never happened before.  I jumped up and quickly made my way to my mother, and told her what I had just witnessed.  We concluded that Grandma must have tried to pull it out (why else would stuff come out of the hole?).  I went back to see what Grandma was up to.  Grandma held up her tube and said, “It’s leaking.”  She said this earlier, when I had just woken up, so I didn’t pay attention to it.  But this time, I took a closer look.  Stuff was coming out of a hole, but it wasn’t the one in her stomach.  There was a hole in the tube.  Grandma had cut it.  It’s very possible that when Mom caught Grandma reaching for the scissors, Grandma was actually putting them back.

I ran to get some tape, and on the way, I told Mom about my new discovery.  I put the tape around the hole, but it didn’t work.  The water did not make it stick.  I ran downstairs to get some duct tape, which didn’t do the job as well as I would have liked, but it helped.

“Why did you cut it?” Mom asked her.  “I didn’t” Grandma said.  “I didn’t” she kept saying.  We think she did, because, she’s had it for three months, and there has never been a hole (and, why would you use a material that can break like that?).  After I told Mom about this, she called the hospice nurse and told her what had happened.  The nurse said she and her supervisor were on their way out here to see if they can take it out.  Mom had already planned on calling the hospital tomorrow, since today was Labor Day.  But no, Grandma couldn’t wait.

The hospice nurse and supervisor came out and took a look at the tube.  “Depending on what kind of tube it is, you might have to go to the E.R.” said the supervisor.  She called up her boss, and after a minute I heard her say, “So just pull really hard?”  I looked at Mom, who looked at me then bolted out of the room.  “I can’t watch” she said.  I did though.  The supervisor positioned herself, put one hand on Grandma’s stomach, and pulled really hard on the tube.  Pop!  Grandma looked up at me with a huge smile as the supervisor held the tube in her hand.  That was officially it, no more tube feedings.

Grandma gave her and the nurse really big hugs, and told them both “Thank you.”  She was very happy to finally have it out.

Mom and I thought she would only have days to live.  But, it will be a week on Monday, and Grandma is taking sips of water, and apple juice, and sometimes pop.  She eats a piece of fruit here and there, and some ice cream, and she seems to be doing quite well.

There is a legal issue that Grandma wants taken care of, and that is her motivation for staying alive right now.  But it doesn’t seem to be getting taken care of very fast.  But to my mother and I, we have found out that it seems to be already taken care of, but not to Grandma.

She’s starting to not care about much anymore.  And that’s alright with us.  It’s not that we don’t want her here, but if she wants to “leave,” then she can.  We’re going to be ok.

Mom and I went to the funeral home to see where Grandma is going to be cremated.  A lady there gave us a tour of the “downstairs,” where the crematorium is (the freezer, the furnace, etc.)  And to our surprise, we have the option of helping out with the process.  Mom and I have decided that we’re going to do it.  We told Grandma we were going to be with her the whole way, and by God, we’re going to be.

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