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Christmas 2010 at Swedish Medical Center - King Rat — LiveJournal
Private Life
Christmas 2010 at Swedish Medical Center

At 12:07 this morning I got a call from my grandfather. When he calls, I answer. He’d passed out in the hallway and had called paramedics. He assumed they would take him to Swedish like they normally do. There’s a “normal” course of events when Gramps has a heart attack. This is his 5th or 6th in 13 months and he has another 3 or 4 hospitalizations in addition during the same time frame.

So I did my normal course. Get dressed. Make coffee. Call Joe. Dawdle on the internet for 15 minutes. Then leave for the hospital. I got there 15 minutes before they did.

I am always fine when I get the call. Driving up Lynn is fine. I start to get worried this will be the last time I see him about the time I get on the freeway. By the James St exit I am a wreck and near bawling. But I pull it together while climbing James St. And I’m all business by the time I get to Swedish.

That is my “normal” progression.

My main concern is Gram. She has dementia and stress makes her worse. So this morning I walked to meet her at the ambulance and took charge of her while the paramedics wheeled Gramps into emergency. They thought I worked there and were surprised I couldn’t tell them the access code for the emergency doors.

Gramps was admitted overnight, though now it has stretched into 2. Gram cannot stay by herself though she thinks she is fine. So I am crashing on her couch for the second, hopefully less sleepless, night.

The docs who downloaded his pacemaker data confirmed a heart attack. Without the builtin defibrillator, he would have died. It’s the 3rd or 4th time it’s saved his life.

Cross-posted from King Rat

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11 comments or Leave a comment
hadaverde From: hadaverde Date: December 26th, 2009 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Give your grandparents my best, and please let me know if there's anything at all I can do to help out.
daystars From: daystars Date: December 26th, 2009 06:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Not a lot to be said here, but I'm thinking of you.
burgunder From: burgunder Date: December 26th, 2009 07:19 am (UTC) (Link)
It's so weird what all can become "normal" through context. I wonder if anyone has sat down and enumerated our core survival skills, and if this ability to adapt our notion of what's normal / expected is a part of it ...
autonomic_pilot From: autonomic_pilot Date: December 26th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm positive that it is, and I'm sure our core survival skills would surprise those of us who haven't had to call on them.
burgunder From: burgunder Date: December 30th, 2009 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been thinking about this for a few days.

I'm not sure I've ever been in a true survival situation.

I had my life threatened by violence a few times, but escaped each through avoidance / intervention / running like hell.

I had my life threatened by drowning a few times when I was under the age of 8.

I almost died when I was 15 of massive dehydration, but I think the only arguable survival skill that got me through that was being in the right circumstance and disposition to have external people who cared about my well-being. And is circumstance really a survival skill ... only if we manifest that circumstance, I guess. Although maybe the tendency for families to strive for such circumstances is a species survival instinct.

I've never been starving, or running for my life for more than a few minutes in an isolated situation ...

The core survival skills no doubt inform a lot of our decisions in lesser situations so I'm not sure it's a misnomer, but it's definitely been an interesting train of thought in my head since I read this comment.

As with so many English words, survive is a bit overloaded. My mom survived incest as a child, but her life was never actually threatened in that situation.

I keep having new thoughts on the subject, but it hasn't really unified into a decent talking point. Nonetheless, here, have some disjointed blather.
gkr From: gkr Date: December 30th, 2009 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Survival skills aren't only determined by imminent life-threatening situations.

Look at how many people give up in the face of relatively mild obstacles. While there are plenty of people who could do what I did with mom for 18 months, there's a significant number who just give up when faced with difficulty. It can viewed as a moral failing, but it could also be just as much a lack of training (mental and physical), knowledge, skills, etc.
webcowgirl From: webcowgirl Date: December 26th, 2009 08:05 am (UTC) (Link)
God, this sounds so stressful.
a_muse_d From: a_muse_d Date: December 26th, 2009 09:39 am (UTC) (Link)
glad everything's okay at this point. since i work at an elderly care facility now, i barely get any adrenaline surge when i have to call the ambulance, which is nearly weekly these days.

good thing he has that built-in defibrillator!
sirensanssmile From: sirensanssmile Date: December 26th, 2009 11:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad he has the built in defibrillator. I will be thinking of you.
autonomic_pilot From: autonomic_pilot Date: December 26th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
The technology of this age impresses me all the time.

I'm saddened by this set of circumstances, it isn't easy on anybody. That said, I'm glad that you're able to be with them and they with you.

Hopefully you'll be able to take some time for yourself, too. I'd bet you could use it.
burgunder From: burgunder Date: December 30th, 2009 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)
How are things going?

Love you.
11 comments or Leave a comment