At 11 this morning, I got a text from my dad. It said that my grandma had been taken to the hospital in an ambulance because she was dizzy and her blood pressure was “crazy.” I still haven’t quite established what constitutes crazy in terms of blood pressure, but I understood that it wasn’t good.
I was finally able to speak to him when I left my clinical at 4:30 this afternoon. They had run a battery of tests because the most pressing concern was that she was having a stroke. To say that we were worried was an understatement.
My grandma is in pretty good health and it was the first time I’ve really been faced with a reality that I have long been ignoring. I still have two living grandparents and they are aging. And while it’s easier for me to walk around with my head in the sand pretending this isn’t happening, the reality is that it is.
When my father spoke with my sister a few hours ago, he broke down and cried. My father is having to face an even scarier reality. He has already lost his father and even though I would be nothing short of heartbroken to lose my grandma, my pain would pale in comparison to his, and I’m not sure I can stand to watch him go through that again. Our family was present when my grandpa died and I have never felt as broken as I did watching my father grieve his father right before me.
I’ve been in such a rush to become and adult, that I’ve forgotten that growing up isn’t always filled with joy and laughter, sometimes it’s filled with the difficult stuff too. And I’m suddenly realizing that maybe it’s time for me to slow down and enjoy what I have now. It’s time for me to realize just how lucky I am to have large, loving family in good health. Most people do not have that luxury and I know that I need to stop taking it for granted.
My grandma is home now, though they’re unsure of exactly what transpired today. A scan of her brain (not sure if MRI or CT) showed no stroke, but it did show significant calcification of her carotid arteries and that sends up about a million red flags and is definitely not something we’re going to take lightly. She is having an ultrasound done soon to see the extent of it. The whole situation is made a little scarier because my other grandma had a similar scare less than a year before she died. It’s getting harder and harder to pretend like everything is okay.
But it is.
And though this afternoon was absolutely terrifying, it was also a good reminder that I need to do a better job of telling my family how much I love them. I know they know it, but I want to make sure that there’s never a doubt, just in case someday I have to pull my head out of the sand and face a reality I never want to see.