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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Papaw Junior

I am fortunate enough at 36 years old, to still have 3 out of my 4 grandparents with me. The only one that has passed, is my paternal grandfather that we all called "Big Daddy". Big Daddy aquired his name for a reason. He was a big man- a really big man. That was a part of why his health failed him so miserably. He passed away 15 years ago, in his sixties.

My paternal grandmother is in the nursing home. She is in fairly good health, although she calls my mother every night with a new ailment. My mom pretty much just listens to the latest problem and sympathizes- only to listen to a new condition the next night. My dad, although it is his mother, isn't near as patient with her.

My other set of grandparents, my mom's parents, live only about 3 miles from me. I run by often and help with errands. I go to the bank and pay their water bill for them each month. Sometimes I run medicine by; or a loaf of bread. I see them fairly often because I live so close by. I don't see my maternal grandmother near enough. Although I know the excuse is poor, it is still the truth- I can't stand going to the nursing home. It is depressing to me and I constantly worry that my kids will get sick from going with me. On top of everything else, I honestly just have a hard time fitting it into a typical day. I tried to go by during my lunch break before but unfortunately, it was Nannie's lunch time too- as she soon reminded me. "Why don't you come back after lunch.." that was Nannie's position on me interrupting her banana pudding solitude.

A few years back, we all started noticing a difference in my Papaw. The little man with a fascination with keeping everything and pinching every penny, all of a sudden was forgetting things. He was doing some "off the wall" things that just didn't make since. After insisting on a trip to the doctor (against his will), we come to find out Papaw would only get worse- he was succumbing to Dementia.

Now, as time has gone on, he has progressively gotten worse. He is just a fraction of the Papaw that I grew up with. He is still in the small framed package God wrapped him in but he only shows portions of the grandpaw that used to let my sisters and I pump gas with him at his filling station.

Yesterday, Papaw fell down. He fell fairly hard, to hear my Mamaw tell it. After Mamaw and Papaw's nurse, Sandy, insisted that he needed to be checked over at the hospital, he was taken to the local emergency room. All the while, my sweet little Papaw never even knew he was hurt. It turns out the leg he kept rubbing after the fall was indeed a broken hip.

I am ashamed to admit that I can't remember for sure how old Papaw is. I believe he is 82 years old. It is either 81 or 82. It doesn't really matter. Papaw couldn't tell you how old he is either.

Tonight, he lays in a hospital bed at a far away hospital following his hip surgery. He is in ICU. He was told to press the button for pain medication as he needs it. Papaw will never remember to do that. He will just moan when he is in pain and I will say a prayer that the nurse listens to his sounds and presses the button for him.

While Papaw is resting after his surgery, I am remembering. I remember when Papaw bought us the scooter to ride up and down their street when we came to visit. I remember Papaw letting us "work" at the station and paying us a few dollars to go spend at the gameroom. I remember Papaw and Mamaw lugging my sisters and I around the fair in ninety degree weather.

I know Papaw's hip will heal. His mind is what I worry about. That's okay though... I know God fills Papaw's heart. As far as his memory... I can remember enough for the both of us.

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