Thursday, January 06, 2005
The Greatest Man I Ever Knew

Could someone please make the awful events of the past 24 hours....heck the last 10 hours...please just disappear? I just feel so numb right now. I can't sleep anymore and every little thing just tears me up. My grandfather, the greatest man I ever knew, died in the hospital around midnight.

He hadn't felt well in the past few days with what he thought was the flu and finally agreed to go to the hospital on Monday night. After a full evaluation, he was admitted in with a diagnosis of pneumonia, dehydration, and a bladder infection. When we left him that night, I thought all was fine. This surely wasn't a repeat of the episode in March when he was in intensive care and found out his cancer was back. We were ready for him to go then...we had a vigil at the hospital where we all slept over. He survived that, went through chemo, lost his hair, got better, got his hair back, and was doing well, except for the troubles breathing. We figured he'd be in a few days, get back his strength, and go home. Last night, he finally felt like eating again, and he told my aunt that he was feeling better. I hadn't went to see him on Tuesday because of a snow storm, and figured I'd come in on Thursday. Well, at about 11:30 my mom got a call that he was rapidly deteriorating...he couldn't breathe and was profusely sweating. He was drooling a bit and was very diapharetic. By the time we got there, he was already in code and we couldn't go and see him since the doctors were working on him. So, we were ushered to a private room where grandma was. She was already crying...I'm sure she probably knew what the outcome would be. When two doctors came into the room, I knew the answer before either of them spoke. His breathing stopped first (luckily the respiratory therapist was already in there) and then his heart stopped...they worked a half an hour to get him back but to no avail. I wish I would have got a chance to say a proper goodbye. I just wasn't prepared this time!! I held his hand once they had him ready for us to view. He looked so peaceful...I was ready for him to open his eyes and start talking. At least he is no longer in pain or suffering.

This man was my rock. He was always the guy that was there for me, the one I'll always compare my men to. His relationship with my grandma is something I wish for me and my future husband. They did everything together and got along so well. When we went there for Christmas, those two were having a blast throwing wrapping paper at each other. When they were younger, they were always dancing...wish I had their talent!! He would give the shirt off his back to anyone who'd need it. He was the father figure for me, since I didn't have one, and my stepfather is not any good example. I just don't know what I'll do without him. I really wish Paul could have met him.

In the past seven hours, I've thought about my life and how precious it is. I saw how he suffered, so I know I need to make the lifestyle changes now so I can live to be 84 or more. It also became very clear to me that I need to go back to med school and quit dinking around with what doesn't make me happy. I know he's watching over me, and I really want to make him proud. I love you grandpa, and I hope you're in a better place, free of the pain, and the catheter tube, and the oxygen tank, and those glasses that really didn't help!