Sunday, June 28, 2015

Grandma's Last Back Rub


(after almost dying  Grandma Mary Lu gives  Padre's neck a little rub down from her chair.)


It has been one week since my Grandma passed away.

(Grandma, I already miss you. Going to P.T. with Dad then going to see you was the highlight. Now what will get me through P.T.?)

Since the picture above was taken, it has evolved and taken a complete 180 for me. Let me give you the back ground information,
how the picture made it made it on FB,
and , finally , how I am continuing its exploitation.

It all began on a Physical Therapy day that coincided with Grandma almost passing away.
Her almost passing was amazing.
That woman could climb out of death like..... someone who is really strong and can climb out of death. (Where is a good analogy when I need one? Geez!)

 Obviously she did not [pass away]because she is in the picture above. However, it was a close call.

First of all Padre received a call from his father

(THE Padre of Padres in the Family watering the flowers as Padre looks on)

 when my grandmother was really bad and he raced over to find that the hospice nurse was there, oxygen was being given, etc. etc.
She was stable and Padre said that we would now make our ritual ride over to P.T.

 It was my first time going to P.T. after the Dr.s finally caught that I had what I now know is called a "stricture."  So I was pretty sore.
For some odd reason I thought it only happened in the area beyond my stomach. When I pictured a "stricture" I imagined in my mind that part of your body -that is passed the stomach- being wrung out like a wash rag after you'd washed your table cloth or face, rinsed it in scalding water and then wrung the living day lights out of it to avoid bacteria and hung it to dry on a faucet that, in a perfect world, was washed down with Clorox.
Another seemingly dreadful word I glossed over because it was a mean looking word called a: "fistula,"
From what my innocent and ignorant eyes saw, before skipping to another sentence, was a word that conjured up in the small, creative corner of my brain, was sinister short cut made through tissue and organs. And it laughed. Yeh, pretty scary. Not happening to me! So I felt no guilt what so ever in skipping those things.
 Having an imagination can have some disadvantages- no matter what the masterminds of the world have said in quotes I can't remember.

I hate when I am writing and have misplaced in my mind something very poetic to say.
So I will just put a picture up of one of my wreaths....
(another side effect of the diseases. Probably the rag and the fist got together and jumble the brain.)
Where was I?
Oh, my feeble Grandmother massaging Padre's neck on the day she almost died. A week before she did Pass away.
* Grandma you always put others ahead of your pain and taught by example.

Anyone that has had P.T. , a stricture, or both can attest you are tired afterward. And getting into your Padre's truck is like trying to roll a washed up whale on the beach back into the ocean before it is too late.

(it isn't considered a "job" to some but I can attest to you, Readers, it feels like work trying to get back to good health, when I compare it to the work I did when I could work and had the approval of Padre and Grandpa.- cause the more jobs and the more you keep in the bank- That's the Hobbs way! 

(picture from bestmadeco. with permission)
So there we were- at Padre's head quarters, had gotten the call from Padre's dad, Grandpa,- Padre got over there along with another sister, and with the help of hospice, grandma  was stabilized- and thus we were able to go ahead with our scheduled appt.

 It was a close call- we almost lost her!  So after our appt. we headed over. She was in her remote control chair, the one that raises to help her stand. She looked really tired. And with the oxygen tubes up her nose hooked up to the tanks around her- it was sad to see.
Padre and I were on the couch when he hung he bent his head in front of me which is code for

"Could you just rub my neck?"
The request comes with a sort of begging/asking/guilt feeling: He has provided a roof over my head.... however, on this day I was so beat:

ME: "Dad, " I croaked in my Boyd K. Packer acid laryngitis voice:
"You've got to be kidding me. Four days ago they dilated a stricture in my esophagus, and for some reason it is still burning. I can barely move my arms...." ( diminishing arm strength is a Cushings side effect. So that was totally new to me in the last few months since I read up on dog and horses that had the disease.)

Four feet from us, Grandma Mary Lu, in a voice the size of a peep said:

"Craig, if you want I could rub your neck."
(oh, grandma.... I miss you)
Let that just settle on you for a moment Readers. Bow your head, blink your dry eyed/saucer size retina eyes while I tell you that I slowly looked over to my Grandma in shock and awe.
Readers, I didn't know what to do.
 The last time I rubbed his forearm, I blew veins in my arms
(Yeh, I have been able to get out of rubbing his neck and forearms due to that side effect for months... there is a plus side to some side effects. )
ME, in a quiet voice; knowing she is hard of hearing: "Don't you dare let her rub your neck!."

Padre: "It's okay, mom."

After chatting I moved into the kitchen with some others and when I came back I saw the top picture and a family member taking it.  It hit FB in no time flat. And it was rightly said that no matter how old, or oxygen deprived one can be, you can still have strength to give your Baby Boy a back rub.

My Dad was her baby boy. Her first boy. The boy who gave her a lot of sleepless nights.
Who wanted to go to Vietnam. Who wanted that!? And that was before he was of age!

How adorable is this little dog? Was he wanting my Great Grandma's raspberry jam or escaping my dad?
In the car Padre told me that she wanted to and he reluctantly obliged - anyone who knows her and her desire to help even if sick, or dying- knows what I am talking about. Padre added that her strength was that of very small mouse trying to rub his neck.
And I believe he was reluctant. He is so tired. He has worked hard from the day he came up the stairs and dropped his black boots on the floor and informed my Grandma he was going to sign up for Vietnam.( Grandpa said Padre, like some boys who struggle in school, had 'trouble mindin' but [Vietnam] straightened him out. ) Worked hard to pay back for those days and because he wanted to be like his Dad. Who became man of the house at 12 when his father died.
Okay, I don't think he said mouse but he said something to the effect the rubbing she was doing was something akin to being light as a feather.
The picture made the FB rounds and I think got quite a few laughs due to everyone In the immediate family's  knowledge knew the circumstances.
Grandma put everyone ahead of herself. Even on a day where she almost died.

Not all mom's can do that. I don't know if I could.
I guess I need to start.

We like to joke in our family. Grandma wanted to serve you so badly. Or feed you. Even if you were full. She would beg when you came over to get you something. Finally, as a last ditch attempt to bring you comfort (because it brought her comfort) she would ask me:

Can I at least get you a Coke?

I don't drink a lot of pop but when your Parkinson riddled Grandma puts it that way...
 you have to say: 'okay.'

Readers, I see this picture differently than when I walked into the room and found my grandma trying to rub my dad's knotted neck.
I really do see a contrite and worn to the bone son, a son who had given his mom a lot to worry about- whose kid wanted to go off to Vietnam before he was of age right when and then did when she had a two month old?), a son that gave her heartburn and probably was why she was such a night owl worrier.  
It has been a week since she left. And I find myself grateful that I didn't rub his neck because it gave him the chance to kneel at her feet and for her to soothe his weary neck

one last time.


1 comment:

  1. It was a God send for the both of them! Precious moment for his Mother and one of her last wishes and a choice experience for her son also. A lesson to be learned for everyone who knew and loved her. Hugs, Aunt Annette


Blog Archive