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Grandaddy

Today's Non Sequitur seems to reflect my grandfather's situation right now:

nq081105.gif

Last week, my mom let the family know that Grandaddy was admitted to the hospital for heart problems (she's the only family member where he lives right now). Things seemed pretty bad, with diagnoses of congestive heart failure and heart attack coming from the doctors. Then he went through a phase of not being able to swallow, not eating, barely breathing, etc., and his doctor called the family to say he might not make it through this week (this was Friday night/Saturday morning).

On Sunday, though, apparently he rebounded. He was swallowing, his color was better, he was eating. But then yesterday apparently was another downward bounce; not swallowing again.

As morbid as posting the above comic may seem, I'm really of mixed emotions on this situation. My grandfather really hasn't been the same person since my grandmother died in 1987. He seemed to be drinking himself into a slow stupor, with multiple bottles of wine and some Scotch each day. His life seemed to consist of sitting at home, reading and drinking.

When he remarried in 1991, his new wife was a world of good. She and I did not get along at all, but the good she did for grandaddy was worth everything. She was able to limit his alcohol consumption and she got him out and traveling around the world.

But then she also died of cancer in 1997. Since then, it's seemed to be a downward spiral. A couple of years ago, the family had to admit him to an assisted living facility because his alcoholism was leading to his inability to manage living alone in his huge house. It seems that he's had several series of small strokes since 1997, all of which have affected his memory. Now, whether it's just an act or is really his personality, he's turned into a cranky old man (my relationship with him has also declined since his second wife died--it seems like he only remembered all of my faults, when he remembered me at all). I don't get the impression that he's really enjoyed life at all since 1997; I know he doesn't like the facility where he lives, he doesn't like the fact that my mother is the only person still in the town where he lives. When does a person get to say, "Ok, I've had enough?"

Comments

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather. Getting old is hard; getting old when you're lonely and alone is even harder. :(

Best wishes to both of you. Long life isn't always a blessing.