Monday, April 04, 2005

Gloomy and morbid

How's that for an inviting title?

It's a little tough around Casa MC right now. My grandmother is in the hospital with pneumonia, and it has me freaked out. I know that being 32 years old and having two living grandparents - who not only live in their own house, unassisted, but also complete the New York Times crossword puzzle in ink and write outraged letters to the editor about various and sundry causes - is something of a luxury. But, still, they've been around - and healthy - all my life, and so the specter of that ending is hard to take.

The thing is, my grandmother has had health problems in the past - she's had open heart surgery and all kinds of other things, though she's generally healthy. But she's 84 or 85 (I should really know which), and this pneumonia is the first thing she's gotten that has really worried me. They've got her off oxygen, which is great, but her blood sugar is very high. I don't know what that means, and I'm trying to avoid Googling, but it doesn't sound great, especially since that was the symptom we heard before our neighbor's wife died last spring.

And, for the first time with one of my grandmother's illnesses, my dad and his brothers are taking turns staying overnight with my grandfather. He's 89, and generally in good health, too, though he's still getting over the same cold that turned into pneumonia for Gramma. He got disoriented and very fatigued when he and my dad took her to the hospital in the middle of the night, so that's worrisome, too.

To top it all off, my mom went on a long tirade this morning about the dream she had last night, in which my grandmother died and the police came and blah blah blah. She is very melodramatic sometimes, and insists that she has premonitions about things... and that whole idea bugs me to begin with, let alone the implications it has in this particular case. But then I know exactly where she's coming from, because in the back of my head I'm calculating about what work I could do from New Jersey if I had to, and what we'd do with the dogs, etc.

And, to be totally self-centered about it all, this is happening at a time when our culture is totally obsessed with death. Between Terry Schiavo and the pope, I am tired of the media death watch, with the descriptions of physical symptoms and the mass obsession with funeral arrangements and embalming -- this morning on NPR, I actually heard a reporter compliment the embalmers who did the pope, though he noted that the pope's skin tone is a little funny.

This tirade isn't going anywhere logical, so I guess I'll stop now. And if y'all wouldn't mind, send some healthy thoughts to the Jersey Shore. And then send some boozey thoughts to Maine afterwards.

Updated to add: Ok, I'm feeling a little sheepish now. Just got off the phone with my parents, and my grandmother is doing much better. The high blood sugar was caused by one of her medications, which they're taking her off. And my dad reports that she is looking - and feeling - much better now. So I'm getting off the morbid train of thought, and onto something more positive.