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Four months ago, my grandpa had a stroke. It happened the day before I was supposed to visit, so when I got there, he was in the hospital. My grandpa had been on the phone with a friend that night, and my grandma noticed that he hadn't been talking for awhile, but she figured he was listening to a story. A woman came to the door and said she was sent by the man on the phone because my grandpa had stopped talking. My grandma looked over and grandpa was still smiling and nodding, but she knew something was wrong.
My grandma ran next door in her stocking feet and got my grandpa's brother to come over. I think they gave my grandpa aspirin--or something that's supposed to help with strokes--and called an ambulance. The paramedics arrived, and when they realized my grandpa had had a stroke, they took him to a hospital that was further away because the one in town was not going to be able to help him. At the hospital, the doctors realized the stroke was bad, so they had my grandpa airlifted to the Cleveland Clinic (from Pennsylvania). Luckily my aunt lives there.
When I arrived in Cleveland, my grandpa was still in fairly critical condition, but everyone was optimistic that he would improve. His right side was paralyzed, and he couldn't talk or swallow food/water. My mom arrived the same day I did, and when we went into the room to see him, we both started crying, and so did he. It was so heart-wrenching to see him like that because he has always been a strong, active, athletic person. My grandma said later that he must have thought he was dying because he didn't expect to see my mom.
Well, the stroke was four months ago, and he didn't recover. He went into a nursing home and pretty much stayed the same, until now. The day before Halloween, I got a text from my mom as I was leaving class. Apparently, my grandpa was in the hospital because someone discovered that his stomach was distended. They checked it out and found colon cancer. The choices were to operate, giving him a cholostomy bag and maybe 6 months to live or to not operate, which would mean they could no longer feed him, giving him perhaps two weeks to live.
They decided not to operate. My grandpa is dying right now as I write these words. After the stroke, he was being fed through a tube in his stomach, but now that they found the colon cancer, they can't feed him, so if the cancer doesn't get him first, he will starve to death. My grandma, aunts, and other family members have been by his side since the day he went to the hospital, so he is surrounded by loved ones. My aunt posts updates on Facebook every day so we know what's going on. I wish things were different.
I wish people never got old and died. I always thought my grandparents would live forever, or at least I always hoped they would die painlessly in their sleep. I also never thought anyone in my family would get cancer. Cancer scares me.
My parents moved our family from Pennsylvania to Nevada when I was eight years old, but I spent a lot of time with my grandparents during those eight years. I also went back to visit them as often as possible. I will always remember my grandpa as hard-working and fun-loving, but also stubborn like me.
My grandpa has always been athletic for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I always saw him outside doing yard work and riding around his huge yard on a lawnmower. For recreation, he loved playing horseshoes and going bowling, and he would set up a badminton net for all of us to play with when we visited. He even competed in the Senior Olympics and always won medals in a variety of sports. The last few years, he didn't compete as much, but he would always do horseshoes just so he could beat another guy in town.
Ironically, the guy my grandpa always wanted to beat in horseshoes was the same guy he was talking to on the phone the night he had the stroke. At the time, that guy actually saved my grandpa's life by sending someone over to check on him. If he hadn't done that, my grandpa would likely have died from the stroke since my grandma didn't notice anything was wrong. How strange life can be. Sometimes I think maybe it would be better if he had died of the stroke, but then I wouldn't have gotten to see him one last time.
My grandpa died yesterday. I didn't find out until after work. Part of me is glad that he is no longer suffering, but part of me is also heart broken because I don't think he was ready to go. When he had the stroke, it was totally out of the blue. Just the day before the stroke, he had eaten dinner at his brother's house, and that morning he had driven to Home Depot looking for a hose to clean out his gutters. One day he was living his life, and the next he was immobile in a hospital bed.
I'm not going to the funeral. It was a tough decision, but it came down to a combination of cost and workload. Those are somewhat piss-poor reasons to miss the funeral of someone I love, but I also don't really want to deal with 3-4 days of mental exhaustion and the constant headache from crying too much. My sister is going, so I'm sad that I won't get to see her, but it will be good for her to spend time with family that she hasn't seen in awhile. After all, I grew up there, and she didn't.
My sister flew in to Pittsburgh yesterday. My uncle picked her up at the airport and took her back to his house, where my grandma has been living for four months; ever since my grandpa's stroke, they wouldn't let her live alone because she can't get around well and doesn't eat enough. My sister said that she and my cousin made collages with pictures of my grandpa for the funeral. So far it seems like everyone is in high spirits. It would be nice to have a family event with all of us there: my mom, brother, sister and me.
Unfortunately, family gatherings seem to be a thing of the past for me. I have this memory/image in my mind of my grandparents' house out in the coutry (where my mom grew up), with family members spread out in lawn chairs in the backyard, heaping plates of food on their laps, talking and laughing as my cousins and I run back and forth across the yard. Unfortunately, my grandparents moved a couple years ago, and now my grandpa is dead. My youngest cousin is 16, and I can't see her running across the yard with me (age 30) anymore.
Today was my grandpa's funeral. Talking to my sister about it makes me feel torn about my decision not to go. On one hand, I didn't get to see all of my relatives and all of the people who were there to celebrate my grandpa's life, but on the other hand, she said everyone was crying, and it was depressing. She also said that she didn't like seeing my grandpa's body, and I don't blame her. I hate viewings and funerals, even though I've only been to a couple. I distinctly remember going to my dad's viewing as a kid.
My dad died when he was 30 years old, the same age I am now. I was only 4 years old at the time, and I think my brother was only 2. It's hard to imagine dying at such a young age. He had Hepatitis (not sure which letter) because he had been given a blood transfustion tainted with the virus. I guess he had a bunch of different illnesses his whole life. After he got Hepatitis, he ended up getting a liver transplant, and his body rejected the liver, so he died. I remember seeing him in the hospital.
Today was annoying. I am breaking my streak of writing a continuous narrative about my family, but today I don't feel like doing that. My stupid school is so stupid. The principal had to yell at the kids at the beginning of 7th period, so then they were all riled up. When I finally got them back on track, then we had a hard lockdown, so we had to stop our lesson and go sit in the back of the room and do nothing. I ended up putting on a video, and the entire class period was just wasted. Ugh.
Today was a good day. First of all, it's Friday, so I have a bit of a break. Second, tonight is Paul's going-away party, which should be fun. Also, I talked to my mom on the phone, and she told me more about Papa's funeral and how everything is going back east. And now I am in the middle of grading my kids' journals & SSR's for today, and it really makes me feel good that they are reading books that they enjoy, even if the reading level is lower than high school. Getting them to enjoy reading is good.
Today I volunteered for the NCTE Convention. It wasn't as bad as I expected it to be, so I'm thankful for that. I got some free books, I got to go home early, and Jared and I ate dinner at Thai Food To Go. Yum! And we had time to go to Trader Joe's. Now I have to plan for the last Holocaust Writing Workshop on Tuesday. It's my turn to lead the group (along with Ashlea), and it's good that we waited to go last because we actually have less work to do since the survivors are busy revising.
I have a ton of stuff to do today. I made a list last night, and this is what it says: run, 100 words, LVTC, emails, cook, prep writing workshop, Sabina's work, renew DVD (30 days), prep for M/T/W. I am about to go running for my usual 8-miler that I do every Sunday morning. I'm doing my 100 words right now. When I get home, I'll probably try to do something easy first, like cleaning out my emails or updating the LVTC website. Then I'll likely take a long nap before trying to tackle everything else.
It is 4:51pm, and I am STILL at school. Being a teacher is so much more friggin work than most people think. I am like a boss in charge of over 200 people who are terrible employees, but I can't fire them, so I have to do my best to keep them on task, and I'M held accountable for how the company operates. I like most of my kids, but I am so overwhelmed right now. This job is terrible. My classes are huge. My kids need tons of help. Some of them can't read or write. No joke.
I can't wait until Thanksgiving break is OVER. It will be nice to have 4 days off, but I am so not looking forward to writing my research paper. Hopefully it will be pretty much finished after this weekend, though. Also, I am annoyed with the Thanksgiving holiday anyway and do not feel like celebrating it this year. It's not that I'm not thankful; it's just that being vegan and healthy makes me aware of how people are going to eat to excess for tradition's sake, and I don't think that's right. And don't get me started on Black Friday...
This weekend needs to be productive. Today I need to get everything in order: put my clothes away, tidy up the house, get my homework organized, etc. I should do as many things besides my paper as I can today so that the rest of the weekend is freed up to focus only on that. I have a hard time doing a big project like a paper when there are a bunch of little things that need to be done as well. Plus, it's a form of procrastination, so it's good to get that other crap out of the way.
Today I am thankful for my health and eyesight. I am thankful that I'm vegan, that I run, and that I do bootcamp and core classes. I'm also thankful for my husband for putting up with me and being my best friend, and I'm thankful for my cat for her unconditional love and cuteness. I'm thankful that I have a nice house in a nice neighborhood with all the amenities that I need. I'm thankful that my husband and I both have jobs and that we have time off from our jobs. And I'm thankful for everything else I have.
Shit. I forgot to do my 100 words yesterday (the 23rd). Well, I guess I'm doing 2 entries today (the 24th). I am getting sick of this 100 words thing. I guess I didn't mind when it was a distraction from my school work, but when I have a bit of a break (ie. over Thanksgiving), I DON'T FEEL LIKE DOING IT. So I don't really know what to write. Let me just write a bunch of words to try to get up to 100. Almost there. Okay, now what should I add? Only a few more needed ... and THERE.
Let me just say that I never want to get my PhD. I hate writing research papers with a passion. I don't mind doing research for the sake of learning something, and I have actually read books and research articles on my own, but I hate having to write up research. It sucks. I hate this stupid paper for my class. I really just don't want to do it. It has been stressing me out. I wish it were over so I could just enjoy my long weekend, but that's not the case. Plus I have other homework to do.
Yesterday I ran a 10K race, and I was super slow (for me). I was hoping to get under 50 minutes, but I was just over 50 minutes. Looking back at my last 10K time (when I was in shape), it was under 47 minutes! I REALLY need to get back into my running schedule. It's so annoying not having the time. People don't understand that even though I still run and work out and eat healthy, I'm nowhere near where I was last year, and being "in shape" is not an excuse to eat crappy and "take a break."
I have so much to do today, so this entry has to be fast. Super fast. Lightning fast. I have a group presentation today, which hopefully should go fine. I have three stacks of grading for three different classes, which will likely not get done today (D'oh!). I have a parent/teacher conference right after school that better be FAST because I have to get out of here and get to my UNLV class ASAP and eat my dinner and prep for my presentation. Two more weeks until this madness is over!!! I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't...
I was so tired this morning, and my throat hurts, so I'm trying to kill two birds with one stone by drinking hot tea. I have never been one to drink coffee, and I have never liked tea, but recently I've not been getting enough sleep, and I need SOMETHING to wake me up. I guess tea is like the least of the evils. I looked it up online to make sure it wasn't bad for me, and it actually looks like it's pretty good, but it tastes like crap. Whatever. At least my throat is feeling a little better.
For Christ's sake ... my 6th period class just left, and someone "accidentally" (more likely on purpose, but not maliciously) pressed the emergency call button, and when the secretary asked what we needed, we all said "Mistake, sorry! Mistake!" and 2 minutes later I had 5 male adults (hall monitors, admin, etc.) rush into my classroom and ask what was going on. Can the freaking secretary not hear?!? Now I'm probably going to get in trouble. Ugh. Now I have piles of random papers and crap everywhere, and I don't even know where to start. Too much work and no time!
This will be the "Weekend of Reckoning," like in the game of "Life" when you get to the end of the board and it's the "Day of Reckoning" where you have to decide if you go to the poorhouse or become a millionaire. But my weekend of reckoning will more likely be about whether I finish my homework and save my sanity or end up a failure and in the nuthouse ... or maybe I'll end up in the nuthouse even if I do finish my homework. That's actually much more likely. I'll be a raving lunatic either way. Bah. Humbug.
I totally meant to do this last entry earlier today, but then I got busy and forgot, and then I went to dinner and a bar with my husband. It's a good thing I had written myself a note to do it before I went to bed. Ahhhh, last day of 100 words. I am definitely glad it's over. Now if the stupid semester can just end already! It's Bobby's birthday in a couple weeks, which will coincide with the end of my UNLV semester, so that is going to be one rockin' fun time. I cannot wait! The end.
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