As most of you know, I usually only commemorate my favorite authors’ birthdays on my blog. But today is special. Today is my Grandma Toby’s 95th birthday. And even though she never wrote a book, she read me plenty of them. Also, she’s the same Grandma Toby that my novel What Would The Neighbors Think? is based upon.
As I’ve frequently shared, my grandparents raised me from birth, so Grandma is really my mom.
I’m sure it’s kind of a bittersweet day for her. Toby’s two favorite things were eating and talking. She’s also stubborn, silly, and prideful.
But about three years ago, her dementia was getting bad, and she kept falling down. Because she’s so old, her skin was about as thick as that of an onion, and she kept bleeding all over the place and couldn’t get stitches. Then she got a stomach malady and had to be hospitalized.
While she was in the hospital, they discovered that she had some sort of thing wrong where she was inhaling part of her food and beverage into her lungs when she ate, so they insisted on giving her a feeding tube. What they failed to tell me or my birth mom was that the breathing tube would be permanent. We were led to believe it would be out in a couple of weeks.
So, to make a long story longer, she couldn’t live at home with my birth mom any longer once the tube was in. Only certain nursing homes are even equipped to take patients with feeding tubes, and they are not the better ones.
She had an advance directive (living will) that stated that she didn’t want such life saving measures taken. She would’ve preferred to die with dignity. (Actually, she would’ve preferred to never die, but if she absolutely had to, she’d have wanted to die in her own home!)
So now, she can’t eat or drink, not even a Tic-tac and a sip of water. She’s had a series of mini-strokes after she went into the home, so she can’t talk anymore. Her face is now forever paralyzed in a silent scream. (So much for being stubborn and proud.) She can’t walk or use the restroom anymore. The advanced Alzheimer’s has set in, and now she can’t even remember her own name.
Yes, her body is as healthy as a horse (at least a horse that’s in good health), and she’ll likely outlive everybody else at The Home.
So, let this be a lesson to all of you: Be careful what you wish for.
Happy Birthday, Grandma Toby! I love you, wherever you are!