Monday, May 31, 2010

"a smile takes a second but the memory of it lasts a long time."

I remember sitting in my grade eight class room and seeing the quote that I've chosen to title this post on a poster above my teacher's desk. It has never made more sense than it has tonight. When my grandmother wasn't too high on morphine and had a little bit of strength in her, my Zia and I went to go see her. Her face lit up the second she saw me. She smiled so big. She wanted to hold my hand. She also made me start to choke up. I'll never forget how wide her mouth was, how healthy she looked when her eyes lit up (despite how drugged, drowsy, and painful her state was), and how amazing it felt to hold her warm hand. My grandmother's not very affectionate. She doesn't like kisses (or at least pretends not to) and she doesn't use the word "love" often. But, tonight, I felt like things were okay.

Before I got to the hospital, I spent some time with my Nonno and Nonna (my mom's parents). We ate lunch. We hung out. The usual. It was nice to see them. They surprised me with a "congratulations on passing second year of university" present - it was a beautiful ring with my birth stone. I love it, so much. I wish I had more than ten fingers so I could wear every ring I've ever gotten, but that's not considered a birth right (haha). My Nonno has lost 40 or so pounds since he fell some months ago. My Nonna has gained 30. They're lucky that they don't have anything terminal, but if they aren't careful they might need to start counting their blessings. I wished they lived closer to me.

After visiting my mom's parents, my mom drove me to the hospital where I met my two Zias. We went to go see my grandmother. The first time it was unbearable. Her face was white as snow. She was breathing from a machine. She looked cold, even though her heart was beating. The surgery went well, though. My grandmother ended up needing a triple bypass surgery and an aorta valve replacement. Turns out, her foot wasn't broken either, just a fracture (which my grandmother insisted on before she went under the knife, but every one told her otherwise. Oh those Italians with their hard heads... Oh those Italians with their hard heads when they're right)!

When we were able to go see my grandmother again, it was only me and one of my Zias there. She smirked when she saw me. When my Zia said, "Mama, the surgery went well." My grandmother answered, "Alright." She could hear and she could talk - good signs.

Then, a few hours later, we were called in again. I think this moment will forever be my fondest memory of my grandmother. Actually, the last half-an-hour I spent at the hospital was so amazing. My grandmother told my Zia that she was so beautiful, she smiled at me twice, she said my name twice with all the energy she had (still loud and clear as always), she was able to pass a breathing test, she was coughing, she was breathing on her own, she didn't need as much morphine, she was saying full phrases like "My mouth is so dry" and "Couldn't there have just been a magic pill?," and her blood pressure lowered every time she coughed a little bit (as she released a but of mucus as a result of her breathing tube).

This had to be the best part, though:

Me: "Grandma you were right about your foot."
Her: *Blood pressure rises at the word foot* "Why?"
Me: "It is just a fracture."
Her: *Rolls her eyes* "I KNEW IT! I WAS RIGHT!" *Blood pressure drastically decreases*

Bless her heart. Bless her hard-headed head of hers. Bless her smile. Bless the way she made me feel when I walked in the room. Bless the fact that I could start drowning in happy/sad tears right now.

I'm living day to day right now; not really sure how tomorrow will go or when I'll see her next, but I am very happy that I went down today/tonight. My grandmother is okay. I knew she would be, but it's breathtaking to see her improving more and more with every second that passes. This thing called medicine is a miracle.

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