Friday, July 27, 2007

My Pappy

My grandfather made the decision this afternoon to stop taking all of his medications. He has been in and out of the hospital this past year and this last trip has seen him in and out of delirium and pain as they try to find out what is causing his blood pressure issues and weakness. It was such a shock when I got the news because even though he seemed to be in really bad shape at the hospital yesterday, we really just assumed that he would be back at home again in a couple of days. He said that he has finally reached a point to where he is just too tired. It's so incomprehensible to me because he has been such a tenacious fighter his whole life. He was in the hospital close to death when I was born. My father was on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific and didn't even see me until I was 6 weeks old and only then because they sent him home because my Pappy was near death. My Pappy has been crippled with rheumatoid arthritis since his early 20's. He is now in his mid 80's. He always held a job, became a minister for a church he literally helped build, maintained a really large vegetable garden until this spring, indulged my grandmother's huge flower garden, cared for grandchildren, chased after great-grandchildren and was even up on the roof last year sawing up a broken tree branch. When I mean crippled by arthritis, I mean an almost bent-over skeleton with a cane. The medicines to control the arthritis have done quite a bit of damage to his digestive system over the years but the biggest damage came from radiation treatments given to him during WWII when he worked in the naval shipyards of San Francisco. But he never really complained about it. He'd ask for his cane, pull himself up and off he'd go. To hear him say that he is just too tired to do it anymore speaks volumes. It makes me so sad for my grandmother and my Dad because they are both quiet people who don't seem very emotional but feel things very deeply and personally. I am actually glad that my Mom called me tonight to let me know because I feel that it gives me extra time to shore up my own feelings in order to be strong for my dad. His steadiness is very important to him. I am praying that Pappy slips away quietly in his sleep and the pain is all gone. My comfort is imagining him rejoining his family standing tall and proud. I think that is the image he has always had of himself anyway.

1 comment:

ms. whatsit said...

You and I have a lot in common in our pasts.

It's so hard to see loved ones suffer regardless of their age. Arthritis is a terrible disease.