Cooking to Cope

I’m sorry for the lack of posts this past week-ish, but this has been last priority!

About 2 weeks ago my grandmother (on my mom’s side) told me that my grandfather had pneumonia and the doctors wanted to send him to the hospital, but his is stubborn & old and didn’t want to go, so he didn’t! Then about a week and a half ago he went to two different doctors (his doctors love to see him: eyes, heart, teeth, old people things, etc) one referred him to someone else for the following week and the other scheduled an appointment for 4 months. Then my grandparents went to the store and went on their way, so later that evening my grandmother looks at my grandfather who is now ashy-colored and called the ambulance.

The admitted him, gave him oxygen & he was ok. The next day they tried to give him food for lunch (my grandfather has never “loved” food – he eats to survive, where as the rest of my family survives to eat – and he also hates any vegetables!) but when they took the O2 off, he couldn’t breathe [and he didn’t like that tube O2 stuff]. Later that day (I think) they changed his meds and brought him up to Cardiac ICU because he has a leaky valve [for years – but I guess this is an ok thing!?] and with the meds, they wanted to monitor him more closely. His white blood counts start to improve – we will see him a week later for Thanksgiving! (I told my grandmother to tell him that I asked the nurses to give him the vegetarian diet because it is his favorite – and I hear him yell at me in the background – life is normal!)

Saturday Night/Sunday Morning around 1 am the hospital calls my mom and says he is really suffering and can they give him morphine. The answer is of course yes and then they tell her that he has from hours to days at this point. My grandmother heads to the hospital, my mom calls my uncle in CA, wake us up around 2am [she wanted us to have gotten closer to 2 hours of sleep). By 3am we’re on our way (2hours)to the hospital and my uncle books a flight. He is stable – but OUT on morphine. We give him permission to go and we wait (and sleep and talk and wait). My uncle arrives at the hospital (about 15 hours after the call) and within an hour of my uncle getting there my grandfather’s heart/respiration skyrocket (which is the sign of the end) – they turn off the oxygen tube-thing (he had been breathing through his open mouth like he was sleeping all day anyway) and within 5 minutes he takes one more deep breath and is gone.

This all happened so fast (2 weeks) that we went from having my mom’s parents both here & pretty gosh-darn healthy for people in their mid-late 80s to having him gone. In the scheme of things – it was good, he did not suffer and went calmly the way he wanted (although he wanted to just go in his sleep – which I guess he kinda did). We lost my other grandfather (dad’s dad) just over 2 years ago and he had been suffering in different ways my whole life. I have to consider myself lucky to have had both of my grandfathers around for 25+ years of my life – but it was [IS] still hard.

To help myself cope (since I can not just sit around) – I cooked a little bit. I did not photograph anything (but I also know my aunt and uncle read my blog and enjoy reading about my cooking – so I had to cook for them too!) When we had family over I made another version of my “Spinach Dip” with a lot of garlic as well as making a Pumpkin Pie Dip which I will also be making again – I used a little less sugar than directed and it was perfect. Then I traveled to Rich’s family for Thanksgiving on Turkey-Day where I made Olive Dip (really good – I added more garlic and used sour cream instead of ricotta). For Friday Thanksgiving at my parents (mom is in charge) I made Spinach Cheese Balls (more on those after I make them again & photograph – they were awesome) as well as Cranberry Sauce (my aunt hates the canned stuff).

By cooking, I had something to focus on. I know that time will heal all wounds, but there will always be times that I will think of my grandfather: cut oranges, tea with lemon, mushrooms/eggplant, well cooked steaks, Italian Spears, spare change in pockets, good scotch and many others which will probably come to me at the most random times!

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