Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Find Her An Empty Lap, Fellas

My Nanny, best favorite wonderful grandmother, had a stroke. I'm back in my hometown, sitting with her in the hospital while my parents are at work. She used to take care of me when I was little and had to stay home sick from school while my parents were at work, so it only seems fair.

Her CT scans look good, but she's 92, so it's complicated. She has a common infection, which is responding to antibiotics, so that's good. But the antibiotics make her nauseous, which is bad. As it turns out, I've become much less bothered by my loved one's bodily functions these days (thank you, pets) but man, it will be awhile before I drink orange juice again.

While I of course wish this weren't happening, I am really kind of happy being the one who gets to be with her right now. My relationship with Nanny is the least complicated one in my life. My mere presence makes her happy. Our relationship isn't something I have to "work on." She gets me, and I get her.

She doesn't like needles. She's what they call a "hard stick." It always takes a few tries. Like most of us, she can't watch when she gets a shot. She happened to look down today as the nurse was injecting meds into her IV and yelped. The nurses were instantly like, "What's wrong?!?!" and I love that I can be like, "You really wish you hadn't just seen that needle, right?" Yup. Totally.

I tell the nurses about her, funny little stories about why everyone calls her Dolly. Her oldest sister, whom I named after** was 18 when Nanny was born. Her next oldest sister was 16. They all called her Dolly, since she was everyone's baby doll. I told that story to a nurse who called her Dottie by accident, and she grinned and called her Miss Dolly for the rest of the day.

**sort of. my mom hated the nickname Lynn for Lindsay, so that became my middle name, and my dad thought it would be fun to have a daughter whom he could address as both "my Angela" and "Yo Ang." Plus he liked his Aunt Angie.

When Nanny started getting nauseous again tonight, we had meds, an extra blanket, a different kind of foam pillow thing for her legs in less than five minutes. Maybe it was just slow on her floor tonight, but I think the little anecdotes- which I tell quickly; I know they're busy- they make the nurses fall just a little bit in love with her, too.

I did not tell them that my great-grandmother, Nanny's mom, had a minor stroke on the last day of Nanny and Pop-Pop's honeymoon in 1948. Nanny was just a little younger than i am now. They came home from their trip to New York City, desperately worried. My Pop-Pop, a Navy man who had to report back to Virginia, insisted that she stay with her mom. Instead of one more night with her new husband, Nan slept beside her mom in her childhood home, only a few blocks from the hospital she's in right now. It's a parallel that's not lost on me as I stretch out on the fold-out recliner beside her.

She rushed home from New York City, and so did I.


michelle said...

My Grandma's nickname was Dottie :) I love the elderly. Such a wonderful generation of people. Give your Nanny a squeeze for me - my Grandma passed when I was 18, but she was the first love of my life, and she's forever tattooed on my ankle. As you would say, take gentle care.

Jillian said...

This is so beautifully written. Thinking of you, your Nanny and your family. Call if you need to!