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Aaaaw.


Okay background info:

My grandma on my Mom's side is grandma Toba. When she was in her 60s she had a heart attack and they gave her some medication that she was allergic to that caused her BRAIN TO HEMORRHAGE and they had to do surgery on her and she survived the heart attack and eek! End result: Grandma Toba is nutso. She had to relearn nearly everything in the language centers of her brain, although physically she was okay (apart from, yknow, the heart attack bit). This sucks bigtime because prior to the brain damage and the holes drilled in her head etc, she was not only a polyglot (look it up, rubes) but just generally verbally brilliant and even translated books into braille for blind folks and stuff.

She's now in her 80s and the rest of her is going. She's extremely forgetful and repetitive and talking to her is really emotionally and mentally taxing. But, y'know, she's Grandma so you do it. Also, bonus round: Grandma is really very rich. Fox News has been feeding her lies and she now thinks Obama is gonna take all her money and turn everyone communist and all that glorious crap. As a result she sends her children and grandchildren money fairly often, in some sort of convoluted grandma-thought-process that at least we'd be using it? I don't know, but I DO know that she is OBSESSIVE about making sure everyone gets the SAME amount, and is very very EVEN about it. If someone needs funding, like my cousin did for a student film he did, she'll end up sending all the rest of us the same amount for no reason. That's awfully sweet. Grandma's checks have pretty much kept me afloat in these past two years of being an unemployed depressed lump of nothing. Thank god for her.

More Background info:

I am the youngest of all my cousins. My cousin Richard is getting married this October down in Texas to a very wonderful girl that we all like very much. They're having this totally ridiculous giant black tie wedding extravaganza. Everyone in the family is trying their damnedest to make it down there because Grandma Toba is old and this is only the second marriage in our generation and the last time we all got together was for Grandpa's funeral and I suspect most everyone would like to replace some of those memories, you know? Anyway, there's a brunch and a reception and the wedding and the rehearsal dinner and god knows what else! Grandma lives in an apartment now and not a house with way too many rooms for her, so we're all going to be in a hotel, and I have to buy plane tickets to get down there and I've got all my shoes and dresses and god knows what else.

So today was a horrible day for me, I felt pretty sick and gross and I ate some bad food and I have slept the WEIRDEST hours, weird even for me. So some time this afternoon while I was rolling around feeling sorry for myself, my phone rang. I trudged up and looked at the caller ID. Grandma Toba, one of the two people I've programmed into the phone. Uuuuuugh. I couldn't stomach whatever was in my stomach, let alone an hour long phone conversation with her during which she'd drink whiskey and sob and forget things and tell me that I'm a communist and that she loves me and that poor people are stealing her money and that I need to marry a Jew to stay in the Tribe and that I have to make her some little great grandbabies and how she's dying dying dying. That's how it normally goes, anyway. She likes talking to me because I'm very frank about death. Other people in the family, when she talks about it, are all "oh don't SAY that" but I'm like "yeah, when you kick it, should we have fish platters or pastries?" But it takes a certain level of fortitude that I didn't have today. I put the phone back in its charging cradle and continued feeling shitty.

So I just decided to listen to the message she left me, cuz if I don't the little thingy on my phone will flash all night in the dark and drive me mad.

"Uh... hi. HI! This is your Grandma. Grandma Toba, that grandma. I just called because I wanted to tell you. I wrote you a check. It's to help you with the thing. To get here. It's a thousand dollars, I just put it in the mailbox so you should get it in a couple of days, so let me know. I just wanted to make sure you were okay, to help you with your expenses, to get here okay. For the... thing."
Then there's a pause and then, in a sort of pleading timbre,
"I'm looking so forward to seeing you. I think we'll have a wonderful time. I miss you. So I just wanted to help you, since you don't have very much, to get you down here alright. Alright? Okay. Bye!" Followed by the usual shuffles and clicks until she re-remembers how to hang up the phone.

Did Grandma Tobe, she of the completely insanely obsessive even-handed check-writing to the point of screwing over her own children so that her grandchildren get an even share, give just *me* money? She always says she's giving some to everyone else, too. I'm astounded.

And I'm a little sad I didn't pick up the phone, because she seemed pretty lucid (despite not remembering the word Wedding) and I could have commiserated with her. Oh well.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
katnap414
Sep. 27th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
Aww your grandma sounds so sweet!

Does that happen often where hospitals give people medicine that they're allergic too? I mean I know there's no way to tell with some medications, but still. That kind of freaks me out.
mizufae
Sep. 27th, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
Yes it happens. All the time! That's why people have charts and stuff, so that they can try their best to prevent such a thing happening. With so many drugs and so many unknown or rare chemical interactions, shit happens.

But in this particular case, it's a little weirder than that. I'm spotty on the details because I was like 6 or something when this all went down.

Apparently my Grandma was in the waiting room of the hospital. I'm not sure why, it might have been to give blood? I think she was waiting in a line for some reason? And suddenly her arm started to feel funny, like they say it does when you're having a heart attack sometimes. So she starts shouting, "i'm having a heart attack! i'm having a heart attack!" and, well, twenty years ago there was this new drug that came out that was supposed to like, help this sort of thing from being damaging? I'm not at all sure, like, either it did something about blood pressure or something about heart spasms or *something*. Anyway the dudes who gave her the drug did so in a crazy emergency situation and it turns out that Grandma and a lot of other people are allergic to it, in that it basically causes the brain to freaking BLEED. They had to drill three holes in her head (like a bowling ball! she'll tell you) and do brain surgery and egads! and also she had to just... experience the heart attack.

So yeah, they sued the HELL out of the hospital for malpractice, but in the end it was really just a big horrible mistake. They shouldn't have given her a drug that wasn't totally safe for everyone, yes, but they WERE trying their best to help her.

Moral: doctors-not infallible.
caety
Sep. 27th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
It's nice that your grandma is so kind and gave you money, but that's a really horrible situation. My great uncle, Uncle Babe as we call him (he was the youngest of his brothers and so has always been called Babe), recently became sick. It was really weird; he suddenly just started thinking that his neighbor was trying to kill him and trying to build a wall on his property and was sneaking into his house and drilling holes and stuff. He's pretty sane about everything else, but this one poor neighbor guy who barely knows him just makes him crazy. He won't answer the phone because he thinks his neighbor has a wire tap on him, and he barely leaves the house anymore, and he often asks my grandpa to spend the night with him because he doesn't feel safe alone. His son is a single, unemployed idiot in his 40's, who is being a jerk to Babe and just making the whole situation worse. The doctors have tried to figure out what's wrong with him and have given him all these different kinds of medications, but I still don't think they really know. My dad is a neurologist and works at the hospital Uncle Babe goes to, so he's making sure Babe's doctors are doing everything right. They are, they just can't figure out what's wrong. Suddenly going crazy makes sense for a twenty-year-old or for a person with alzheimer's, but Babe is in his late 70's and definitely doesn't have alzhemier's.

In our small family, I'm kind of Babe's favorite. We have similar senses of humor and are both pretty shy, so when we're at family gatherings we usually sit on the couch together and just chill. It's so hard to see him so...off. Anyway, my point is that I know how bad situations like this can be, and I'm sorry.
mizufae
Sep. 27th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
Eurgh, your situation sounds much worse than mine.

Grandma Toba is quite lucky. She's been able to live a really long, full life and she's had some crap in the last quarter of it but honestly she's gotten to see all her grandchildren to adulthood, has two great grandkids, her daughter who was stuck in an abusive marriage broke out of it and found real proper love, she can still play bridge and goes to synagogue and takes care of her cats and everything. It's not so bad. It's just hard to deal with sometimes, when you can't handle the beginning stages of dementia or the inability to guard emotional response.

I'm sorry to hear about your uncle. I didn't mean for this post to garner any sort of apology. I'm getting a thousand bucks! W00t!

The brain is a vast and uncharted terrain. Your uncle is lucky that he's got your dad looking out for him, but in the long run, sometimes brains just do crazy things and people don't know why.

It's awful that his son is being a jerkwad. My family has issues with one another but we always seem to come together to deal with the important stuff. (Well, on my mom's side, that is.) At least your uncle's seeking help and going to doctors! That's a lot more than many people in their 70s get to do.

Unfortunately, shit happens. You'll develop ways of handling it. The best you can hope for is that you develop *healthy* ways of handling it, is all.
ashisfriendly
Sep. 27th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
Your Grandma sounds sweet and everything a Grandma should be/is. However, what a shitty situation she had to go through.

But, on the upside, yay for $1,000 to go to a wedding and see all the fam! I miss my family way too much so I'm a little jealous.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )