Friday around ten or eleven o’clock, my dad called to let me know my grandmother was in the hospital. He’d gone over Thursday to take her shopping, and found several days’ worth of papers on the porch, the lights out, and the doors locked. He had to break in, found her lying on the floor half in the hall and half in the bathroom, and called an ambulance.
We may never know for sure exactly what happened; Grandma herself can’t remember—her impression was that she was lying on the floor for a couple of hours, but from the newspapers on the porch we know it was two or three days. It looks as if she fell in the bedroom, and at some point afterwards came around enough to try and pull herself into the bathroom. Thursday she was very weak and disoriented, and couldn’t move her legs, but it’s hard to tell how much of that was caused by whatever happened, and how much was caused by dehydration, hunger, and the various other problems that will occur in a human body when it lies in one position for a long time.
I spent a few hours Friday afternoon in the hospital; she seemed fairly alert, although weak and tired and quiet. Saturday I woke up with a nasty cold, so I thought it was probably best not to bring that to her in the hospital. I got reports from my parents; seems she’s talking nonstop again, so she must be feeling better. She was able to stand up with assistance.
Scary shit. Puts me in mind of those stories you read in the paper, about some old gomer who collapsed in his kitchen and his body wasn’t found for two or three weeks. Makes me wonder how many of them actually died when they collapsed, and how many just collapsed but didn’t have family checking in on them regularly to find them and help. I know my dad feels guilty that he didn’t find her sooner, but he goes over there at least twice a week to take her shopping and make sure she has whatever she needs, so he’s hardly a negligent son.
Getting old sucks. I understand the biological necessity of death; without death there is no change, no evolution, and we’d still be dragging around in the primordial ooze and reproducing by fission. Nonetheless I would like the universe at large to make an exception for me and anyone I care about, because it sucks.