The weekend before last, my mother received calls from two of her siblings. Both live out of state and were calling to tell her they’d been unable to get a hold of my grandfather.
My grandfather is strong-willed and values his independence and privacy. He also has progressive medical issues that make it difficult for him to walk, even with the assistance of a walker. Because of these issues, my grandfather has great difficulty getting up should he fall.
My grandmother has suffered from Alzheimer’s for nearly a decade, we think. It’s progressed to the point that she is not able to remember anything said to her just moments before. The only person she seems familiar with is my grandfather. I suspect that’s because of their long marriage. She hasn’t recognized neither me nor my mother for years.
Anyway, when my aunt and uncle couldn’t reach my grandfather, they notified my mother, who also attempted to reach my grandfather. When that failed, she decided something was wrong and she needed to investigate. My dad was busy and I had no idea what my mom was about to find, so I went with her.
I will never forget the dread I felt as we walked up the steps to my grandparents’ front door and found four days worth of newspapers on the porch. Mom and I exchanged looks and she hesitated before knocking on the 8door. Surprisingly, my grandmother answered. Mom asked where Grandpa was and Grandma pointed at an empty couch. Mom called for him and he thankfully answered. He had fallen in the bathtub. A phone was on the sink, but he couldn’t reach it to call for help and Grandma wouldn’t bring it to him.
Mom covered Grandpa and started asking about injuries while I called the paramedics. Grandpa was transported to the hospital. Mom grabbed some clothes for him, helped me prepare food for Grandma, and then followed. I watched Grandma for several hours while doctors ran tests to see if Grandpa was injured.
Mom arranged for 24-hour care for Grandma. Grandpa wasn’t hurt in the fall, but tests indicated his mobility has suffered to the point that his muscles were starting to break down and release toxins into his blood. He was sent to a rehab clinic for physical therapy, but demanded to go home the next day. He spent one night at home. The caregiver looking after Grandma became concerned with his confusion and other symptoms and called the paramedics. He is back in the hospital recovering from a UTI. Mom will be looking into getting things for his home that will make it easier for him to get around.
I know Grandpa wants to see that Grandma gets the care she needs. He wishes to outlive her to ensure this. Time is against him, though. He is several years older and his health is deteriorating. Mom told me the other day that she believes he’ll pass away soon. If his condition continues to decline…. Our goal at this point is to get him home and make sure he’s comfortable. He wants to be home. He wants to be with Grandma. We intend to fulfill those wishes.