Friday, December 01, 2006

Not putting it off

A month ago I started a post about my Grandma Shirley, who has been in a nursing home since October 2005. I'm ashamed to read some of it now, because it was full of bullshit about putting off visiting because the nursing home gave me the wiggins.

My sister called me late on Wednesday night and said Grandma's doctor told the family "don't wait" and that it was a matter of days until she passed away. Laura and I made plans to drive up together on Thursday after work to see her.

My Grandma died early on Thursday morning.

This is the very last memory I have of my Grandma Shirley. She wasn't sure if she'd be able to come to my wedding (she's not mobile, and we had to arrange a wheelchair-accommodating van to bring her from the nursing home), but we got her there and she was very happy.

These are some of the last pictures I have of her.

My Grandma Shirley was a crocheter and needleworker who was never without a project. Last weekend she asked my Mom to get her some size H and size K hooks so she could work on a project in the hospital (she had recently been moved). She made ripple afghans for everyone in the family, donated a whole bunch to her church for the needy, and she made me a tablecloth with red cross-stitch style embroidery. It's on my table now, and looks very festive. When I showed Gram the Lacy Baby Blanket, and she told me it looked good, I was never more proud of myself. If she said it looked good, then I was doing damn fine work.

When my parents got married, 31 years ago, Gram made aprons for my Mom and her bridesmaids.

My Gram was admitted to the hospital 13 months ago for trouble breathing. Within a few days they determined that she had ovarian cancer and possibly uterine cancer. She wasn't a candidate for surgery or for chemotherapy or radiation treatments, so they slowed the cancer with an enzyme treatment. I don't know what that means. But the cancer was pretty advanced. It's amazing that she lived this long. (Of course, she's beaten every other medical event in her life despite poor general health -- overweight, poor diet -- and I kind of got used to thinking she was indestructible)

My point, if there is one other than that I have to convey my grief, is that my Gram never went to the doctor unless there was some emergency and she had to go. I don't think she ever had an annual exam or even a physical since I've been alive. If she had, the cancer might have been caught in time to prolong her life, but she kept putting it off.

My further point is this: Don't put off getting your annual exam. I'm serious. It's annoying and uncomfortable and makes you feel invaded, but it's necessary. My next exam is on my birthday. When's yours?

If you stitch, raise your knitting or crochet or needlework to my Gram, if you could. She was a good woman, and she kept many warm.


Anonymous said...

KathyMarie - sorry to hear of the loss of your grandmother - glad to see you have good memories of her.

Alison said...

Kathy, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Hold on to the good memories.

And I understand what you mean about nursing homes giving you the wiggins. It's tough.

Big hugs from Boston.

Colleen said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your grandmother's passing. Grandmothers are special people.

And I couldn't agree with you more about people taking care of their health and getting needed exams - if not for themselves then for their loved ones. My husband put off and put off getting his recommended colonoscopy and, as a result, almost lost his life, leaving me with our two gradeschool aged children.

Luckily he's back to normal, now - and I've only said "I told you so" once.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear of the passing of your Gram. She sounded like a wonderful person.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to her about the loss of your Grandma, my thoughts go out to you and your family.

femiknitter said...

Kathy--I'm so sorry to her about your loss. I'll be thinking of you and your family this weekend.

Yvonne said...

So sorry to hear about your grandmother. You'll be in my thoughts.

Pica said...

I raise my hook in memory of your grandmother. So sorry to hear of her passing.

I've lost both of my grandmothers and with them a wealth of knowledge. Grandparents are essential non-renewable resources--we should squeeze them for all they have while they are still with us.

jau said...

So sorry about your grandmother. As a new one myself who has always hated doctors, I'm going to try and take your advice to get a checkup. The last time was a horrible experience with an alarmist who was totally wrong and unpleasant. But I know you're right. Maybe in honor of your love for your gram, I'll go.

Knittinreed said...

I am sorry to hear of your loss. it is so difficult to lose those you love. We all are there with you.

Lisa said...

Sweetie, I am so sorry. A part of me died when my own grandmother, who not only taught me to crochet but discovered the artist within me, died of cancer. I have never let her go and always carry her in my heart.

Never fear, she knows you love her still.

Hooks and needles up in her honor!

Renee said...

I've been behind in my blog readings but wanted to extend my condolences to you about your grandmother.

I will make an appointment tomorrow (I'm only a couple of weeks late but was feeling pouty about the whole thing after all the invasion of privacy associated with childbirth). You straightened me out. Thanks.