Sunday, April 3, 2011

Week One Complete

It hasn't even been a month since I moved out of the old firehouse where I was living in the bay area. This whole thing happened so quickly—I am just catching my breath. On March 1, 2011 my grandma was given 28 days notice to vacate the assisted living facility where she was living. Apparently her dementia was getting the better of her and she got the boot when she punched someone and got a little extra rowdy. My friend's comment sums it up nicely; "Wow, your grandma is a badass." And yes, yes she is.

So with all of the nursing homes in the area being full, my family was at a loss as to what to do with her bad ass and for some bizarre reason, I immediately volunteered to come and do this. I didn't even have to think about it, I just knew I wanted to. Being commitment phobic to pretty much everything had put me in a perfect position to be able to easily walk away from my life there. I have no man, no kids, and a flexible, freelance photography career that can be done from anywhere. So, I packed my stuff into some shipping cubes, drove across the country and moved in to my grandmother's house with her. And now I have survived week one, fully committed. Whew.

We just had our first outing this evening after staying home all week. She can walk a few steps with a walker, but most of her movement is via wheelchair, and I have an SUV, so getting her down the front four steps and into and out of the car was something I was saving for the right day. I had her out in the yard with me today while I turned the garden soil with a shovel, and when I was done I figured since I already had her down the steps, it would be a good time to just get her in the car. It was not pretty, but we managed.

We went to Moe's Southwest Grill in Simpsonville because I knew they had an outside table that would make it easy. I parked in a distant corner of the parking lot so I could get her out of the car and into the wheelchair without having to share our clown show with everyone. I had all of her limbs twisted up like a pretzel by the time she landed in the chair, and she looked up at me and said, "Aren't we a couple of bachelors?". Haha.

My grandma can barely hear as it is, but one of her hearing aids broke yesterday and it has made it almost impossible to communicate with her ever since (we get that fixed tomorrow). Add that to the fact that her dementia and general old-age has her grasping for words and often just making up some crazy babble. Also, she doesn't know who I am. When I picked her up from the nursing home, I asked her if she knew who I was and she said Larry.  My mom said everyone with short hair is a guy in her world. The eyesight is pretty shot, too. In the middle of the night she yells out in the most politest loud shout, "Can somebody please come take me to the bathroom?!". And somehow I hear this across the house and make it to her side.

I heard her in the night two other times this week when she was not needing help with the bathroom. The first time was super cute. She was talking in her sleep and was saying in a cooing voice, "You are such a nice little boy. Do you go to school?..." But then last night she was shouting, "Julie! Liz! Somebody help! Get her! Get her!" I sprinted in there and flashed on the light. She was wild eyed, still shouting, eyes darting around the room. Apparently there was a chicken in there and she needed me to catch it and get it out. So, I did my best to play along, took her to the bathroom and put her back to bed and she didn't mention it again.

It's a huge change, but I have to say I am enjoying it. And she is, too. She doesn't recognize her house, but she loves it here. She sleeps most of the time and it's very quiet here, so it is great for her. That's about it for now. I'll check back in soon.


  1. I am short of words other than you are truly an amazing person!

  2. Thank you Randi! And thank you for the email. Great to hear from you. I'll call you soon.

  3. sooooooooo awsome the best pics ever. simply gorgeous and u kkkkkkkkkknnnnnowwwwww u need to write abook after grandma dies

  4. Thank You Jessica. I just saw this post. That would be a cool project. :)

  5. Beautiful beautiful pics!!! xoxo!

  6. Yes,i smell a book all the way from over here in CA