Grandmother's emergency

After my second class on Tuesday, my wife called to tell me that my 97-year old grandmother had fallen down and broken her hip. I have been feeling somewhat diffusely apprehensive these days, as though expecting some imminent trouble. In such a mood, even bad news can be a kind of relief.

She apparently fell out of bed and broke her right hip. She is now alone at the hospital, heavily sedated, and will be having surgery tomorrow to insert pins to hold the bone together. There is going to be a lot of pain, and it is unlikely she will be able to walk again. The doctor expects her to decline pretty quickly after the surgery. My mother is going from New York up to Providence tomorrow, and my wife has gone back to New York tonight so that she can accompany her - my mother only had surgery a couple of weeks ago and is in somewhat fragile shape herself. They will probably come back on the weekend, by which time I will be able to get away.

My grandmother's state of mind made the doctor ask whether she has dementia. This has been an argument for a few years - the doctors themselves disagree, and recently my mother and I noticed certain things that made us think she was actually fairly lucid, but perhaps playing for sympathy. Well, how can you really decide these things?

Since my mother and my uncle can't get along, I am in charge of relaying information between them. They will perhaps be alternating visits to Rhode Island. My uncle, who must be close to 80, doesn't sound good on the phone. He took advantage of my phone call to ask me to be the executor of his estate, replacing his brother. It appears I am now the only one he trusts. It is a great pity all around, but I told him I would do my best to carry out his intentions.

I'm not sure where these events are leading, exactly, although my sense of apprehension remains. Dr. Johnson says that in a journal you must try above all to record your mood, as you never know later on what will be important to you.

I think of my grandmother and try to sum up what she means to me. She was extremely loving and nurturing all the time I was growing up, and seemed always to have a totally personal and idiosyncratic devotion to me. I have always been entirely sure of her affection; I have never doubted it for a second, and I never remember having argued with her about anything. I know, to be sure, of her extreme self-centeredness and hypochondria, but somehow those things have rarely touched me. Mainly I think of her tireless love and patience for me.

I was about sixty years younger than my grandparents, and was lucky to have them with me well into adulthood.

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