Friday, November 23, 2007

Hospitalized for the Holidays

My family does do well on holidays and special occasions. It's not that we get mad at each other and storm off in a huff or end up in tears. We just tend to get sick. Really sick. Or dead.

When I was 5 I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia on Christmas Day. I stayed two days which, to a 5 year old, is an eternity, especially when there are new toys to be played with. My grandfather (my mother's father) died of a heart attack (or stroke, I'm never sure which) on December 24th when I was about 3. My mother's brother was struck and killed by a drunk driver a week before I was born which also happens to be a week before my mother's birthday. And this Thanksgiving, my grandfather, Papa, (my stepmother's father) ended up in intensive care with a severe case of pneumonia. He's going to be in the hospital for at least 4 days.

Papa is 80+. He's one of those guys from Maine who say "Ayuh" and "You can't get theyah from heyah." He is a strong man. He got his first cavity at 70. He lost his first finger at 75 or so. That sounds strange until you find out he's been a butcher, a carpenter, and he's run his own sawmill for the last 40 some-odd years. The saw is jury rigged and run by a VW bug engine, still in the body of the car. He's been lifting logs, building houses, and going like the energizer bunny for as long as I've known him. Unfortunately, over the last year his health has been fading. He had some heart trouble and was hospitalized for a month. I think being forced to slow down has made his body realize just how old he is. Before he was waylaid by his illness this summer, he didn't really allow himself to be his age.

I'd like to think he's a fighter. Everything in his past says that he is. I'm concerned that he's going to fall and fall hard. Like a relatively healthy and independent person who falls and breaks their hip. Something about losing the independence (not to mention the infections in the hospital) causes them to go into a rapid decline. I'm now very glad I made sure to go visit him a couple weekends ago. I wanted to make sure Friendster Guy had a chance to meet him. They have a similar calmness to them. So on this Thanksgiving, I am thankful that I went only slightly out of my way to see Papa. I should do it more often. Here's hoping we'll have many more holidays in the future.

1 comment:

Queen Geek said...

I hope Papa pulls through okay. I've got my fingers crossed for him.