My grandmother is in a nursing home right now. She’s been back and forth between there and the hospital ever since she fell and broke her knee early January. This was the first time I’d been able to visit her in the home, having seen her at the hospital once. She’s jumped back and forth so many times, I’ve had to ask where she was before going to visit or call. At one point, she was somewhere in Chandler and I just couldn’t drive out that far at the time. Right now, she’s off the Loop 101 on the border of Mesa/Tempe/Chandler. I have to say I’m less than impressed with the place. In fact, I’m downright disgusted.
Today, her words were muffled, mumbled phrases I could only understand half of as I strained to listen while she spoke. I did catch the sorrow, though. It nearly killed me. She’s losing her will to live.
“Why is God punishing me?” was one question in the midst of several similar phrases. “I must have done something awful.”
“He’s not punishing you, grandma. You haven’t done anything awful,” I tried to reassure while holding her hand. But how do you tell a woman who’s lying there, unable to move, who’s in pain, who can’t yet go home because she hasn’t done her physical therapy, that God isn’t punishing her?
“It feels like He is,” she said.
I’m pretty damn certain it does because I’ve felt that before. I understand the pain she’s in, both physically and spiritually.
“Trials and tribulations, grandma,” I said. “It’s just a part of life.”
God isn’t punishing her. Life is the bitch that punishes. She’s the one who takes away your dignity in your final moments. I don’t quite understand the reason for it, but it’s like we have this final stage of pain and humiliation to pass through before we can move forward. I don’t want my grandmother to die like this, in this hellhole as the last of her humanity is stripped from her by morons who don’t give a fuck about her because she’s just another patient in a room.
My grandfather, who’s been gone for 35 years, wouldn’t want her end to be like this either, and neither would my father, who passed away the day after Thanksgiving last year. They’re both watching over her right now.
I tried not to let her see my tears because the whole visit was causing a flashback of when my maternal grandmother passed away in 2003. It was the nursing home’s fault. They killed her.
Apparently this home has almost killed my grandmother twice now. We’d like to not give them a third chance.
I called my uncle as soon as Umi and I left. He’s in Oklahoma, and I wanted him to hear the perspective of someone who isn’t trying to keep her in a home, who isn’t trying to gain anything from her being there, and who is not one fucking bit happy that she’s there and being treated the way she is!
By 3 p.m., no one from physical therapy had been by to see her yet, and she doesn’t even get PT on the weekend. When she asks about it, they reply with “well, we have twenty-six patients.” Excuse me? She’s one of your twenty-six goddamn patients. They get her out of bed, put her in a chair, and leave her there for a couple of hours. Tell me exactly how this is therapy. I know she needs to sit up periodically, but seriously? What. The. Fuck? Is she being a stubborn patient?
G-ma also has asthma and the a/c unit in her room has a dirty filter, so she’s having trouble breathing even though she’s on oxygen.
I asked Unca T if there was any way possible to have home care for her. We’re looking into it, but right now she needs 24/7 care. We don’t see how that’s possible. Tuesday or Wednesday I’m going back to the nursing home to speak with a few people. Cousin S may be all peachy fucking keen with putting her parents in a home, but I’m not down with that for g-ma after seeing her today. She needs to be in her home, with her things, where people who care about her are before the nursing home kills her. The insurance should completely cover home care. The decision, of course, belongs to my aunt and uncle, her children, and as her granddaughter, I’m standing by them and whatever decision they make.
And if I have to get in someone’s face and scream at the top of my lungs, so help me God, I will. My voice will not be silent in this family. It was for too many years.
She’s the only grandparent I have left, and I will not allow her to be treated like this or to die like this!
Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe I’m not. On the off chance I’m not, I need to investigate the matter. My aunt can’t be there physically and my uncle is in another state. No one outside of cousin S and my stepmother have really visited her.
Excuse me while I adjust the weight already on my shoulders. I need to make room for one of my most important things in the world–my g-ma.
Pray for my sanity and pray for my g-ma. We’ll both need it.