“I don’t know whether to shit or go blind.”

This phrase has probably saved my sanity today. For whatever reason, hearing my 5’2″ 110 pound, hard core Southern Baptist Grandmother say these words has made me laugh out loud. And, honestly, I need a good laugh these days.

I’ve nearly lost my mind. If I had any self respect, I wouldn’t admit this. But, we know I’m brutally honest and I am more than fine with airing my dirty laundry, or lack there of…. The last 3 days have been so crazy, I am so tired, and so out of it that I totally forgot to put my underwear on this morning. Praise the Lord, I did remember my pants. But, I went to the bathroom earlier and thought, what the crap?!?! So, I had to leave the hospital and go grab me some drawers. I needed the mental break anyway….

This round of craziness has gone a little something like this…. I left for work about 9:45 Monday morning. At 11:00, Grandmother calls to tell me that she is having chest pains and can’t stand up out of her chair. I ask a couple more questions, and decide I need to call 911. Chest pains are obvious signs of a heart attack, and the fact that she can’t stand up was a pretty good indicator that her internal defibrillator had activated, shocking her heart back into working. I got to the house about 5 minutes after the ambulance arrived and was able to talk to the EMT team. I followed them to St. Thomas, even though further from my house it was our hospital of choice because it is where her cardiac team practices.

Soon after we arrived they were able to confirm a heart attack and that her defibrillator had activated, thus admitting her for further monitoring. She was a great patient Monday and Monday evening. By midday on Tuesday, she had decided it was time to go. She became restless and gave the nurses a run for their money. Her doctor didn’t round until almost 5pm, but he indicated that all looked well and she should be able to be dismissed on Wednesday. They took her for a stress test Wednesday morning to make sure that everything looked good for dismissal. And, then things got complicated. The stress test indicated that she had 2 heart attacks recently, and had some heart damage. And, when your heart is only functioning at 35% to begin with, damage isn’t a good thing. As soon as she figured out that she wasn’t getting to come home as he had originally promised, “it was on!” She got dressed and tried to leave. She fussed and cussed, she cried (fake tears), and told me what a terrible person I was and that I was only looking out for myself.

I’m quiet proud of my self. I haven’t lost my temper at all this week. I have firmly explained how things need to be. I have told her that she needs to consider the kids, and not come home until she is well. But, I haven’t lost it like I usually do. Maybe I am improving. Maybe I am just too tired to yell….

My friend Kati is a nurse on the 3rd floor and she just came by to check on us. While she was here she asked what the arteriogram revealed. They said it was as good as could be expected with only minor blockages. That is good news on a couple fronts. One, I don’t have to make the decision on whether or not to have surgery. I know in my heart of hearts that surgery isn’t the best option for her. But, it is also quiet difficult to sign your name to a piece of paper saying that you don’t want them to do something that could potentially save her life.

I wrestled with that decision all Monday night. They asked me to sign a Do Not Resuscitate order. She has a living will and medical directive. But, because it was originally initiated in KY and she is now a TN resident and I am her Power of Attorney, they wanted my signature on a new one. Again, I know it is what she would want, and the best thing for her. But, putting ink to a “don’t save her if it comes to that” isn’t fun. You know what else isn’t fun? Calling a high school friend who runs the funeral home in town and explaining your situation. Kirk, Grandmother isn’t doing good. I am a crappy person, and I am going to be unavailable for about 10 days anyway. If something goes down during that time, I’m going to need you to come pick her up and put her on ice a few days. And, if her sisters want to go ahead with a funeral, that’s fine too. I can visit her grave when we get back. Thankfully, he knows me, knows my heart, and knows I haven’t been crazy my whole life. It sounds so terrible. It makes me feel like a terrible person. And, for the love of pete, nobody mentioned having to have these conversations and make these decisions in any of the life skills classes I took in high school or college. Adulting is hard work folks!

So, we’ve had an interesting week. I had planned on spending the week catching up on work, preparing for some out of state clients that are looking to relocate to the area; and preparing for Sam’s birthday party that is this Saturday. At this point, I am just thankful these folks aren’t coming in this week, and that it is Sam’s party. If it was LK’s party, I’d be in trouble. But, Sam is less concerned with the details being perfect. If I don’t get all the little decorations and extras done, it’ll be fine with Sam. Thankfully, I put the water bottles and goody bags together last week, and had the sense to know this isn’t the time in my life to be Super Mom and decorate the PacMan cake myself, so I hired someone awesome to do it. Bare minimum, we have a location, we have cake and ice cream, and drinks, a piñata and goodie bags. The 7 year old boys will be thrilled.

And, to wrap it this up because my brain hurts so bad I have no idea if I am making any sense…. God answers our prayers in a very weird way sometimes. 21 days for now, Jeff and I will be taking the kids on a very exciting adventure. It’s part of their Christmas present and because LK sometimes reads this blog, I won’t spell out the details. But, it has left me in a tight spot as to what to do with Grandmother. As her health gets worse, she can’t be home alone. Her sisters who would normally keep her for me all have problems of their own going on right now. Paying someone to be at our house was going to cost nearly $5000; yes they charge $20/hr to sleep at my house. Putting her in a nursing home for a short term stay was going to cost $2700. That wasn’t my favorite option, but honestly it was our best option. $2700 is expensive, but it was really all we were down to. Then, our little hospital stint happens. Do you know that if you spend 72 hours in a hospital that medicare will pay up to 30 days in a rehab facility? And just because God gives us exactly what we need when we need it, if she is admitted to rehab tomorrow, it will be exactly 30 days until we get back from our adventure. You can’t tell me that God isn’t in those details. I am not sure that it will be the route we will end up going. I’ve learned now to quit making plans. But, I love that God shows up and confirms that He cares enough to show up and confirm He’s there, He’s working, and He’s got this.

So, when you don’t know whether to “shit or go blind”, pray. Maybe the answer is to “hold one eye open and fart” God will take care of the rest.


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