Saturday, December 7, 2013

What's November 2013?

I lost the entire month of November and so now this is my attempt to try and remember.  It all started with a voice mail message on Skype that I needed to call home and I cannot honestly remember if anything was mentioned about the situation back in the the voice mail.  I do know that when I called my sister back that the news was not good.  My Grandmother was in the hospital in the ICU and had been for a day or so. I thankfully caught my sister at a moment where she was not in the room at the time and was able to talk to me honestly thank goodness, because nurses were acutely caring for my Grandmother.  My sister explained what brought my Gram into the hospital and it was quite a story as most of them are when our loved ones are independent, strong-willed, my Gram, and 98 years old.

My Gram had been living in her own home (split-level home, no less) thanks to my sister, despite many, many serious illnesses and setbacks over several years.  You have to understand that this meant that to go the restroom she had to go up or down stairs, and the electric chair lift didn't arrive until the last couple of years.  Maybe it helped her health by having to walk up or down to do the most basic things.  Who knows?

So what brought her to the hospital?  Compression socks.  She had many quite serious ailments, but her most recent ICU hospitalization came down to something that is supposed to be helpful and preventative.  On a day or time of day that my sister wasn't there with her, she was trying to get a compression sock off that was stubborn and pulled a muscle with a dramatic move when the sock was already loose, and maybe caused more damage than anyone realized.  In any case, it started a cascade of events that would not be good.

Gram called my sister and told her, and my sister was there in a heartbeat as she always was.  My Gram refused to go to the hospital for days and tried to find comfort at her home.  A comfortable position to sleep in, sit in, anything, and that would be the case for days.  Finally, after she celebrated her 98th birthday with a party several days later with the rest of the family, she finally admitted she should go to the hospital.  

So, back to the phone call.  I learned that Gram had been unable to get comfortable, to the extent that she was hollering out in pain a lot.  This is totally uncharacteristic of her, a very composed and together woman.  I could tell that it was wearing on my sister and when I said I would come, the reaction I got from her told me that I needed to be there.  There were no words exchanged.

Within about 12 hours I was able to get my flight scheduled and then within 24 hours of that I was on a plane to the U.S.  My Gram is really the only Grandparent I knew.  Both my grandfathers passed away before I was born and my maternal grandmother died when I was either 2 or 4.  I can't remember which because she died, and my Gram's brother and sister-in-law died in that time frame and for a toddler, it seemed to blend together.  Both my parents are only children, so we have had a very close relationship with my Gram. She was always there, and more than a grandmother, great-grandmother, or mother, she was EVERYONE'S friend and confidant.
Fredericka Mary Catherine "Kay" Calhoun

Next post...arriving in the U.S. in November from Dhaka and helping take care of my Gram


  1. Telling your story about your grandma will help you and will be there later for you and for your children. I'm proud of you for doing it though I know it's painful.

  2. Sorry to here about your Gram. She sounds like a wonderful woman!