Archive for January 27th, 2015

“’There are your fog people & your sun people,’ he said. I said I wasn’t sure which kind I was. He nodded. ‘Fog’ll do that to you,’ he said.”
― Brian Andreas

Grandad has been a solid part of our family for the whole of my life. The charmer, the calmer, the solid dependable presence that everyone knows is there. He and Grandma are the package deal. He’s the calm to her storm, so to speak. He’s Grandad with a double capital G because he’s that important to all of us. I asked a nurse the other day for an answer to explain confusion and she told me, rather matter of factly, ‘He will never be Grandad again.’ I was stunned into silence. Not least because I’d never heard of such a thing before.

Who gave this nurse the right to offer up such a dramatic statement? Who allowed her to think she could define who Grandad is? And what kind of medical diagnosis is ‘Will never be Grandad again?’ I asked for an answer, a reason for the confusion that we’ve all been witnessing. Not a throwaway conceptual statement that holds no weight and no credence amongst family. We have been waiting for weeks for a concrete answer to explain what is keeping Grandad on in hospital. When he had a fall the day after Boxing Day, a plethora of emotions hammered us in quick succession over what was to be the next month. He’s okay. He’s not okay. He’s going to A and E. He’s got a bleed on his brain. You need to be here. We all need to be here. He’s going to be okay. The bleed is receding. It’s staying the same. There’s an infection. There’s confusion. He’s sleeping too much. He’s not eating. Without realising it a part of the world stopped when Grandad went into hospital. An almost imperceptible part which we’re wishing him home soon for so that he can get it going again. A part of the world that will take him back one day, we know it. He’s eighty six. But we’re not ready for it just yet and neither is he.

The month tipped over twenty eight days of difference. Of smiles, recognition, confusion, forgetfulness. My own included. Texts, phone calls, updates, visits – a circle of wait, worry, panic and tears. For all of this and more, the only medical opinion we are offered is ‘he won’t be Grandad again.’ And I want to say to this nurse,  you stupid woman, how would you even know what defines my Grandad anyway? He’s a retired detective, he’s a brother, a father, a husband, an uncle, a great grandfather, a friend, a constant in all our lives. He is. Not was. Is. So then he is Grandad. And Dad. And all those other things.  We’re a family, we’re tied together by all sorts of bits – of string and stuff and nonsense. Things that will take far too long to explain to anyone new. No nurse or doctor will ever take those stuffs away. He’s Grandad. With a double triple capital G. 100 symptoms will never change that, 100 scans, blood tests and screenings. I want to say all of these things, but I don’t. Maybe I couldn’t at the time, maybe I was shocked that she would define such a thing in front of Grandad. Right after we’d had a normal conversation. Whatever the reason I don’t say all of those things, instead I blog about them – maybe Grandad and I will read this together one day and laugh at the insanity of it all. Maybe we won’t. Regardless, he’s Grandad. Always will be.

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