i know if i should live one hundred years
i'ld never see another face like yours
on stranger seas or brighter shores
cos i know
that my love is real
-- David Gray
this should have been a nice weekend. we had not too much planned, and i was looking forward to going out to hear our favorite local band on Saturday.
instead, things fell apart. earl found out Saturday morning that his gram is back in the hospital, this time in ICU. and i was an utter ass to him.
in my defense, all i can say is that people behave badly when they're scared.
his gram had been in the hospital recently with an irregular heartbeat. nothing dramatic had happened, but her regular doctor was concerned after a routine checkup. so she was admitted for observation, to see if she needed a pacemaker. somewhere along the middle of the second day, her cardiologist comes in and asks why she's there. he dismisses the doctor's evaluation, deems that it can all be managed by changing her medications, and sends her home.
now, her primary doctor is apparently no treat. he's recommended surgery to her before, and when it didn't work, decided that he wouldn't go for the same thing. so the cardiologist's comments seemed to make sense. come to find out, the cardiologist didn't adjust her medications; he took her off all of them. All. Of. Them. with apparently little to no monitoring. now who's the bright bulb?
his gram was having a hard time breathing Friday night, and somehow got herself taken to the hospital. i don't know if she was able to call the ambulance, or if she had someone with her. turns out that the change in medications led to a fluid buildup around her heart. she was doing better by the time his mom called, but it's still frightening. the hospital was allowing visitors for 10 minutes an hour, and it was hard getting ahold of anyone to find out who would be at the hospital when. earl decided he was just going to go, and wait if he had to. i said i'd go with him; he said 'no. i want to do this alone.' not 'thanks very much for the offer, but i'd rather go alone.' not 'that's sweet, but it would be too hard for me to have you there.' just 'no.' this is where the going gets selfish. his family has been part of my life for over two years now. i care about his grandmother; she's one of the sweetest people on the face of the earth. i wanted to go for many of the same reasons that earl did - someone i care about is in the hospital, and going to visit or offer support by just waiting with everyone else is at least doing something. did i just back off and realize that this is a huge issue for my sweetie? did i ask what i could do to help? nope. i just got pissed off that he didn't want me to go, didn't register that i was upset too, didn't want me around for support. and all the while, this neon billboard was flashing 'Selfish Bitch' in my head. part of me knew i was behaving badly. but the best i could do was keep my mouth shut, and find my own way home. of course, this didn't translate well, either, any better than saying what i was thinking would have.
he spent five hours at the hospital, sitting with his gram; apparently, the 10 minute rule isn't really all that stringent. i worried and slept, in between bouts of kicking myself and trying to feel more sympathetic.
maybe it's because he woke me up from a nap. maybe my blood sugar was low. or maybe i'm just as horrible as he thinks i am right now. when he came by the house, we got into a huge fight. he's pissed off that i said what i did, that on top of worrying about his grandmother he feels obligated to worry about my feelings, that i'm being horribly unsympathetic, that i tried to corner him into saying things that he didn't feel. and when i started asking about who was monitoring the doctors, he said that the doctors will take care of everything. we come from different backgrounds, he and me. i question every damn thing that the doctors tell me, and won't follow their advice unless they help me understand their choices. he... doesn't do that so much, if at all. the doctors know best. and i can certainly appreciate that approach; it's just not the one i follow. i can only guess that that part of the conversation came across as 'you dolt, they'll kill her if you don't keep an eye on them.' true? possibly. comforting? not so much.
so instead of just setting all this aside for a little while and going out to hear the band, we sat and stared at each other for a little bit, and then he decided he was really angry and left. and i haven't heard from him since.
my brain just wouldn't shut up, and it wasn't saying anything helpful. so what genius decision did we make? we decided to go out and get blindingly drunk. well, that's a positive, mature approach, isn't it?at least it let me sleep for the rest of the weekend. i would have slept all day today, as well, except for that small niggling thing called a job. oh, yeah. gainful employment. i really had to argue with myself to get my ass out of bed; logically, i knew that the depression was what was keeping me under the covers. rationally, it made more sense to get up and go to work, because there's nothing that feeds a depression like isolation. but, oh... it was a tough battle with myself.
mostly, this whole thing has made me think about my grandfather, specifically his stay in the hospital just before he died. he had had a stroke, and they moved him to a hospital up here in Boston. for reasons i don't quite comprehend, my family said their goodbyes before he came up here. i went to visit him the day after he got up here. it was one of the toughest things i've ever done, and to this day, i kick myself for not telling him i loved him when i was there. part of me didn't want to say goodbye, and that may be why those words never left my mouth. but what a simple comfort to offer, at so little cost.
i sat with him for a half hour or so, and he told me stories about his college years, about the room he had in Hope College, how one of his roommates brought an Oriental rug to decorate the room, how he loved his classes. the nurses for some reason had brought him spaghetti and coffee for lunch. it didn't taste good to him, but i didn't have the nerve to go ask for something better. and that was the last time i saw my grandfather.
a few days later, he had another stroke. and in direct violation of the DNR order, they kept him alive. there was noone there to make sure the doctors did the right thing, and the doctors ended up prolonging his life in such a painful way, rather than letting him go, which is clearly what his body wanted.
i remember getting the call from my dad a day or two after that. i was in the kitchen, and just slid down the wall, sat on the floor, and cried. my roommate came down to make sure i wasn't hurt, and tried to find some words to console me.
maybe i acted the way i did this weekend because that hurt is back; i'm thinking about my grandfather and not wanting to see that happen to anyone else. when i'm hurt or scared, i get very logical and cold. the only way i can keep a cap on the pain is to try to fix things. and unfortunately, i end up hurting people in the process. what i said wasn't wrong or bad, but it came out the wrong way, at the wrong time. and there just wasn't enough visible compassion to balance it. and of all the people, of all the times for this to happen, this is one of the worst. my honey deserves better.
unfortunately, we're up against a tough situation that neither one of us is very good at handling (geez, who *is* good at handling stuff like this?), and the communication skills have just gone out the window. he's hurt, in a lot of ways, and silent. all i can do is give him his space, send virtual hugs, and wait. wait to hear that things are better. or at least, that we can talk.