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April 6, 2012

grandma

What a week. What a month. What a year! 2012 has brought with it so many surprises, some good, some bad. India. Pulmonary embolisms. And now this.

Last Sunday marked the first day in April, so when my dad's message began with I'm on my way to the hospital...  I'm thinking Ha ha, April Fools until he said ...because Grandma fell and broke her hip.

My Grandma Geri is 83. She and my Grandpa have been married 60 years. Here we are (some of us) celebrating their anniversary in October.



About two years ago she was diagnosed with dementia and the progression of it has been shockingly rapid. She lives at home with my Grandpa and has been able to take care of herself, but even tasks like cooking and laundry are challenging. Her short-term memory is literally nonexistent but she remembers us and past events just fine. Her breaking her hip will undoubtedly be a turning point in their lives.

I went to the hospital on Sunday to see a very foggy Grandma. Four people came to the hospital that day with broken hips so her surgery would be delayed until Monday evening. When I got to the hospital on Monday night, we all chatted in her room as we waited for them to come take her away. I knew I wanted to pray for her, out loud, with my family before she left but boldness is a skill I'm still cultivating. And so I waited.

Before I knew it, two nurses came in to take her down. Wait, wait, I told them. We're going to pray for her. Now God had an even bigger audience. Grandma, I'm going to pray for you, okay? And then the sweetest words from her: Oh, I wish you would.  So my dad and I laid hands on her, with my Grandpa standing at the foot of her bed and nurses standing silently in the corner. And I prayed for protection, for wisdom for the doctors and peace for Grandma, while my knees and voice shook. Amen.

After they took Grandma, we went our separate ways for dinner and reconvened in the waiting room to hear a post-surgery update. When I sat down next to my Grandpa, he put his hand on mine, eyes full of tears and said Hannah, that was the most beautiful prayer. Thank you for doing that. Those words pierced my heart.

The doctor came and said surgery went well, that she'd be in the hospital for 3-4 days before moving to a rehab center for a few weeks. It was 10:30 before we saw a very confused, very agitated Grandma. Her hands had been restrained to keep her from pulling out IVs. Oh my. My protective instincts went into overdrive and all the knowledge I gained from being in the hospital with Joel came to mind.

The nurses told us she had been asking for two things in recovery: Jim (my grandpa) and when the bible reading was. I am beyond blessed to have been born into a family filled with incredible love and unshakable faith.

I stayed there that night, sitting on a chair next to her bed, holding her hand, and reassuring her when she woke up. By 6:30, I was exhausted but wide awake and my dad came to relieve me. I slept for an hour before going into work.

The past few days have been filled with PT and antibiotics and xrays and blood draws. Grandma is still in the hospital but we hope to move her today to a rehab center. I go see her everyday and I know the minute I walk out the door she doesn't remember that I was ever there. But I remember and will never forget.

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