Two days before my grandma's visit was to end, she had to be rushed to the ER for some internal bleeding. They performed emergency surgery to repair a hernia that ruptured through her intenstine wall. Needlesstosay, her stay has been extended.
I went yesterday to visit her in ICU and it was both hard and sweet. As I approached the ICU ward I walked by the rooms and looked in to see which one held her. I walked slowly and as I passed the doorways, I'd take a quick peek in to see where she was. I walked by them all and didn't see her, yet saw a host of extremely ill people connected to so much equipment it was spooky.
I figured they had moved her to the regular hospital ward. Thank god. I went up to the nurse to ask what room my grandma had been moved to. I asked the desk nurse, "Where can I find Ann D'Amore?" She hestitated as if the name didn't sounds familiar. She then said "Oh, Ann Damore, she's right there." And points to the room right behind me. I turned to see a small, feable woman with slicked-back gray hair, eyes closed, tubes down her throat and nose. Tubes coming out of her sides, and a machine forcing her to breath. It was my grandma. Just moments before, I had completely walked by, looked in, and dismissed her as someone I didn't know. That was hard.
Within 3 minutes of me being there, the Pulmonist came in and said they were taking her off the breathing tube, so they pulled all the tape away from her mouth and then started pulling the tube out. She coughed and gagged but seemed very relieved to have it out. Once they were done, they pointed at me, and asked her "Ann, do you know who that is?" And her eyes opened heavily and she coarsely mouthed, "That's my baby." That was sweet.
I stayed for about 2 hours but her eyes were closed and she seemed to be sleeping for the most part, but every so often she would push her eyes open, with a very drugged and dazed look on her face. She looked so uncomfortable, in pain, and really out of it so I just stroked her arm, and rubbed her fingers and run my fingers on her forehead. At one point she opened her eyes, forced a teeeny smile, and mouthed "I love you." and that made me well up.
To see her so weak and near death was really a disturbing moment. She's always so spicy, firey, and sassy. She really looked like she was going to pass away and that was a terrible sight. The one thing we were totally happy about was this happened here - and not in NJ. She doesn't have anyone that can really care for her back home, so at least she can recover here at my parents' house and my mom can take care of her.
My parents showed up and we started talking about her recovery, and her insurance, and questioning whether or not her coverage is good enough for an emergency surgery and 3 days in ICU. While standing over her, we started talking about our healthcare compared to other countries that have socialized medicine and taking the perspective that other countries like Norway, Sweden, and Canada may actually do healthcare better. I look down and my grandma mouths to me "Fuck You." I started cracking up it was so good to see that sassiness coming through. She's a proud American and hates when people bad mouth America... so even in her foggy recovery, it was nice to know she could understand us - and still be a firecracker even in ICU.
I love you grandma.