Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

More On The Grandma Front

I talked to my mother last night about how my grandmother is doing. She sounded remarkably calm, as though she is convinced that my grandmother will be out of the hospital and at home resting before the weekend. She intimated as much, but I know her well, and it is probably all she can think about. You can bet that her house is neurotically spotless and that she's surviving on only four hours of sleep a night.
There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of detail in the news we have about my grandmother. She is in the hospital in a town neighbouring hers, her blood pressure is still really high and they can't seem to bring it down to a reasonable level, her vision is still blurry, and because she is in a podunk town hospital, no one can tell if she's actually had a minor stroke or not. No one seems to know what exactly is going on with her physically, and it was frustrating for my mother to try to find out from my grandmother what she knows, because she doesn't know anything. The people in my grandmother's generation in our cultural circle seem to classify what they see as technical medical information as something the doctors need to know and don't bother asking what it all means. So, when my mother asks my grandmother what kind of pill the doctor gave her when she first got to the hospital and what it was for, my grandmother doesn't know. My mother had her describe what the pill looked like and what the doctor did before he gave it to her, and then my mother used her bit of medical knowledge to deduce that the doctor thinks my grandmother may have had a slight stroke. My mother had my aunt, who is a doctor, call Podunk Hospital and speak to the doctor, and now we know exactly what my mother deduced. Do hospitals have PR staff just to deal with all the calls and visits they get from concerned relatives? I'm starting to think that if they don't, it would be a good idea.
It is frustrating, because if she was in Cityville, she would get a scan to detect whether or not she has indeed had a stroke, and she would be seeing specialists who could begin to figure out what is happening to create these problems for her. It's also frustrating, because I always wish that there were something I could do to make things right in situation like this. I have this desire to glue everything back together or stick band-aids on people and go ta da! you're all better now! and leave the mess behind as though it never happened.
I do have to take into account that the woman is now eighty-four years old, and eighty-four-year-old bodies have a tendency to really start showing their wear. At this point, there are things that cannot be fixed, will not ever be fixed, and there will only be a lot more of this slightly detached sense of helplessness for me if I don't accept that. I don't know how to accept that, and it's entirely selfish. If I accept what I see happening to those around me, the slow degeneration and eventual death of my friends and relatives, then I have to accept that that is going to happen to me. I feel like I can't do that. My power-hungry ego will have none of that.
I want to believe that she will always be my grandmother - that she will always be short and old and religious and traditional and making sure everyone eats and owning that tacky plastic flower floating in a water-filled globe with silver sparkles - not simply because she's my grandmother and she's family, but also because if she dies, then I do too, or will one day, and that seems phenomenally unfair. During times of stress, I find myself lying awake some nights staring blindly into the dark and wrestling with the shapeless horror of the ending of all known things, but that is just playing around compared to being faced with the actuality of such a thing happening to someone I know and care about.
I want to pick a point in my life, like I would a photograph out of a photo album, and go there. It would be kind of like hiding out in time. I could be the five-year-old me on that cool, grey day at the lake. I was wearing my little red bunnyhug with the hood up, and the air felt sharp like cold water against my skin. My parents weren't old enough yet to be getting seniors' discounts in restaurants and my grandparents were in their fifties and everyone was busy playing cards and no one was busy telling me about who was sick, who was dying, and who was dead. Certainly no one close to me had passed away yet, and my biggest thoughts that day were about whether it would get sunny enough to swim that afternoon and whether I would be able to sneak into the cabin to steal a handful of Baco Bits without getting caught. Things didn't end with any great sense of finality then. One thing happened and then another thing and then I moved on to something else, and it was as though I had always been, fixed yet in constant motion.
I know that the fact is that my grandmother is only in the hospital with high blood pressure, and she wasn't even rushed there in an ambulance or anything like that, but it's like the first wave breaking on the beach that hits just a little further up the shore than the rest, and you know that the tide is coming in. (Eventually, I am simply going to asphyxiate on my own pedestrian analogies). I guess that I'm just feeling kind of helpless in this situation, because I want things to be a way they can't be. We are not immortal, bodies fail, and denial just doesn't work in cases such as this. I want my grandmother to be well forever so we can all just carry on merrily, except that we won't. From this time forward, my family will have this concern, sometimes hidden and sometimes not so hidden, that maybe she should be physically nearer to people who are younger than seventy-five, that she shouldn't live in a community so far away from a well-equipped hospital, that any small ailment that befalls her may be her last.
This is a good sign, though. Blood is thick, even if I have been distant for many years. There is something that binds me to these people that far outweighs our pasts together. At times, I want this force of attraction to disappear altogether so that I can experience the freedom of living without a thought for these people I happen to share genetics with, and then at other times, I am comforted by the knowledge that no matter what happens in life I will always have a community of people behind me to support me in whatever way they are able. They are a group of people unlike any other, because after all this time they still want me. It’s kind of incredible, really.

Icky Platitude (for they are all icky): The pain born of the ties that bind does not obscure the fulfilment that these ties bring.

Icky Platitude II: If life were easy, we’d all be bored as hell.

And now, I offer you a highly organized set of links carefully separated into three categories:


Books

I hate it when authors I've enjoyed do stupid things, or maybe Mr. Bradbury is just going senile.

There is a book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez entitled News of a Kidnapping! Being a fan, I am shaking my head at the fact that I missed this when it first came out way back in 1997. It sounds like it springs from his roots as a reporter and does not follow his usual vein of magic realism.

Read an excerpt from Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, America's Superstate by Robert Bryce. (found via disinformation)


News

Sudan, Africa's largest country, and Chad have agreed to disarm their militias on both sides of the border.

Surprisingly, Russia's president Vladimir Putin has shown support for the United States by alerting them to a possible terrorist attack.

Iran is releasing the eight British sailors they originally detained for entering Iranian waters.


Miscellany

The new commemorative Canadian quarter looks ridiculous. (found via Boing Boing)

Check out Ladybug's most recent entry regarding Stephen Harper and why you shouldn't vote for him. If you vote for Harper, I'll, I'll, oh, I don't know, but it won't be very nice. (scroll about halfway down for the goods)

Liposuction has gone to the dogs.

Three Crows (And Surprisingly, None Of Them Live In My Apartment)

I Am Better Than A Mean Kitty At The Animal Shelter