Posted by: angelnorman | January 29, 2009


My grandmother is in the hospital. For the past two weeks, she’s been sick with what she thought was a stomach virus, and she got a little too dehydrated this week according to my uncle, hence why she was admitted. Yesterday they ran some tests and learned she has diverticulitis. I didn’t know much about it, but I read today on WebMD that if left untreated, there can be complications like bowel obstructions. Since that’s exactly what Nick had- an obstructed bowel- I can sort of guess at how bad she must be feeling. He, too, was dehydrated, with stomach cramps, unable to eat, vomitting, etc. I can only imagine how not fun that must have been for her– for two whole weeks!

First I will say, that just visiting her there made me emotional. I was really sad to see her lying in her hospital bed. When we first walked in last night, I was sure I had the wrong room because no one was in there visiting with her. Lost was playing on the tv overhead, and I saw her little head or at least her fuzzy white hair pop up as she called to me, “Come on in!” We tiptoed in (Why are people always trying to be super quiet when they walk into a hospital room? It’s one of those things that I’ve never noticed until now. I suppose though it would be ridiculous of people to walk in all, “Heyyyy!” really loudly. But still.) and we gave her gifts, a bunch of word search and crossword puzzle books. Something for her to do. I inquired about my grandfather and my grandmother told me that he had already gone home. I understood that my grandfather didn’t need to be up there with her, he needed to be at home where he could take care of himself too, but I felt really badly for my grandmother. I knew right away it was going to be hard to leave knowing that she was just going to keep lying there alone… all night.

In good news, she was not in any visible pain, and she was seemingly her normal self. By that I mean that she was talking solely to Nicholas and trying her damnedest to get him to acknowledge her. “Look at how flirty he is,” she exclaimed. I could see the wheels a-turnin’ as she switched up her tactics a bit every few minutes. “I have a present for you in my purse!”

Note: Her purse wasn’t even there. My grandfather took it home with him. No matter, as Nick wouldn’t even attempt to accept this present, which was surely going to be a dollar and probably some change.

We sat with her for awhile and tried to cover our impatience with Nicholas, who refused to walk anywhere near her bed and who also turned his head and smiled into his coat collar everytime she spoke to him. Then we tried to cover our smiles when Nanny asked a million and one questions about Lost. It was surely proof that people who know nothing about Lost should not just start watching it all willy-nilly.

About Ben…
Nanny: Is he the killer?
Me: Um. What do you mean? (Lots of people are killers on Lost. She had to be more specific if she was going to get answers.)
Nanny: Did he kill all them people? Is he bad? I thought I saw him with their plane tickets. Did he buy them all plane tickets?

Then about Kate and Aaron:
Nanny: Oh no, is she going to be mean to that little boy?
Me: No, that’s her son. Kind of.

On the phone with whomever called:
Nanny: I think Mike and Angel have seen this before and they’re grinning and not telling me what happens. I keep asking questions and they keep smiling at me.

Before I left, I explained to her that I’m not sure if Ben is good or bad anymore. All I know is that it’s been three years since he was awful, and yeah, when they were on the island, he had killed lots of people. Also, I told her I just knew that he was trying to get them all to go back to the island to save all the other Flight 815 survivors. She looked at me blankly and said, “What show is this?”

“Lost,” I said, matter-of-factly.

“Oh, I recognize that name! I thought this was a new show.”

I told her it was in its 5th season and we laughed.

Then, as we were getting ready to leave, she called Nicholas “Mouse”. I stopped breathing for a second, I think. “Remember when I used to call him that?” She asked me. I smiled at her. The truth was though that she had, at an earlier point in our visit, also referred to him as Mikey, which could have been a normal slip of the tongue as he was in Mike’s lap. But when she called him “Mouse”, I realized that she had him confused with my brother Micah, whose nicknames were always “Mikey”, “Mickey”, “Mickey Mouse”, and sometimes just “Mouse”. She has never called my son “Mouse” before, but I wasn’t about to correct her.

Suddenly my Nanny reminded me a lot of my Granny. I know, I know. It’s a very different situation. My Granny had dementia, and Nanny could have just been under a little bit too much medication, ya know? Haha. I understand this. However, that didn’t stop my mind from making the immediate connection. She sounds like Granny.

That was all it took to send me into a tailspin of emotion. A familiar pang of sadness welled up inside me. I have said since Granny’s death that I cannot bear to watch another person become that way, the way that starts as innocently as “a little forgetful” and continues on and on until they can’t even recognize who you are when you walk into their room. My cousin Elizabeth is experiencing that very thing right now with her other grandmother, and we just talked on the phone last Friday about how awful it makes you feel. It destroys chunks of your heart at a time when someone you love so dearly forgets who you are.

Needless to say, my heart was hurting as I left the hospital.

But it wasn’t just that particular thing. When it comes right down to it, her innocent forgetfulness was merely the trigger of a lot of other things I was taking in and not properly processing. Seeing her there made me sad. Realizing she wouldn’t be around forever made me sad. Knowing she was in pain but was covering that pain so as not to scare us or Nick made me sad. Being back at Baptist Hospital, where my child was born prematurely just shy of four months after my grandmother died there, made me sad. Thinking of Granny made me sad. Remembering the last time I saw her made me sad. Thinking about how the fact my Granny never got to meet or hold Nicholas- especially since he just asked my mom the other day if Granny ever held him when he was a baby- makes me sad, but it also makes me sad that even if she had met him, he’d only ignore her like he does my Nanny. It made me sad that Nicholas was so excited to make Nanny Dot a card but then wouldn’t say a word to her. It made me sad that Michael tried to take my mind off of it immediately in the parking garage. Sometimes, I need to be sad, you know. That’s just how I function. I have to get through it.

Truth be told, I’m still trying to get through it. I’m pretty sure I will always be trying to get through it. That’s life, after all.



  1. This is pretty emotional. I realize that no one will be around forever, but I have these moments where I really think about it and it hits me hard. It seems that I’m even more emotional about it now that I’m a mom. I can’t stand the thought that one day I’ll leave my baby or that she’ll leave me (even if we’re both old…)

  2. Yes, I totally know what you mean. I think being a mom opens you up to a whole new level of emotions that you didn’t even know existed. Like, sure, you were sad before you were a mom, but not in the same way about everything. Now, you look at the world through “mom glasses”.

    Sometimes, I think forward to dying and leaving my family and it makes me so sad. I think it’s the sole reason I’m afraid of death. I don’t worry about where my spirit is going or what will happen to my body, but I dread having to say goodbye to my children. I know that’s pretty morbid to daydream about my imminent death, right? Hehe. I’m weird I guess.

    Recently I read something though in “Traveling Mercies” that struck a chord with me. She said that she always viewed her son as on loan from God, that he never really belonged to her. I happened to be sitting with Nicholas on the couch, holding him while he nibbled on some crackers, and I just started to cry when I read that. I think the best word to describe the way it made me feel is “fragile”. I notice the fragility of everything more now that I’m a mom.

    I imagine many people feel the way we do, though. The emotions that come along with motherhood can be a real doozy sometimes.

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