Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Doing The Rounds

I go to visit my Granny at the hospital.

I’m a little concerned for her. Due to her mainly self-imposed isolation, this is her first time out of her bungalow for at least 5 years. Hospital, I imagine, will be proving quite a contrast. I am not put at ease as the hospital looms ahead of me in the dark. Florence Nightingale helped design Hometown Hospital back in 1868, but as I approach I can’t help but be put in mind of a Victorian Workhouse. Still, it was good enough for me when I was born there I suppose.

I needn’t have worried: Granny seems to be thriving. The attention she is receiving together with all the stimulation going on around her seems to have left her alert and bright-eyed, quite unlike the withdrawn and depressed individual she has gradually become over the past decade. I haven’t seen her this stirred by anything since Richard Whitely died.

That said, her new found verbosity and displacement from a familiar environment (combined, perhaps, with the painkillers) is making her dementia more apparent. After a while, she gestures to a man on the other side of the ward who is at the bedside of someone who I imagine is his mother. The man is rather obese and has a prominent beard, the combined effect of which renders him rather gorilla-like.
"See that man?" Granny attempts to say to me clandestinely, "It’s a very awkward situation."
"It is?" I enquire.
"He came in here, and no-one knows how to get him to leave. I think he's very drunk."
Granny is partially deaf. This means she is quite unable to speak in hushed tones, being unable to gauge the volume of her own voice. In turn, this means I can’t discuss things with her in hushed tones either. The gorrilla gazes at me half indignantly, half mournfully.
"I don’t think so Granny. He’s just visiting his mum I think," I have to say in a raised voice, ruling out any doubt he may have that we are discussing him.
"Oh, really?" she asks, seemingly half convinced, "It’s very awkward because he just won’t go away, and no-one here can move him clearly."
"I think that’s his mum, and he’s just visiting her. Like I’m visiting you. He’ll go soon. Just a man, like me, visiting his relative." I rub my beard, in attempt to underline the solidarity between gorilla man and me, united in our visiting hours cause.

Gorilla man is saved from further suspicious inspection by the arrival of the Doctor. As someone who will usually go a week without seeing more than four different faces, Granny is enjoying initiating conversation with anyone who passes by (gorrila men excepted).
"This is my daughter. He's come from Texas in America," she enthusiastically tells him.
"That's nice," says the doctor, clearly thinking she is bonkers.
Personally, I am impressed she was as accurate as she was.


mona said...

It's nice that you visit her- well done..

Tim-tambolini said...

A good post. I give it a 9 out of 10. By the by...I have a new blog. It's not so down-trodden as my other. I'm changing my blog worthy topics.

Ivy the Goober said...

How sweet you go see your Granny, Huw! I hope she feels better soon!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

That's sad and wonderful. How do you do that? Give Granny a peck for all of your fans...And one big one from an imagined daughter, Lanette.

Lippy said...

At least you know who you are. Hope your granny's better soon.

Jona said...

I'm with Hoss and his thoughts, sad but wonderful :o) My gran died years ago and so I 'adopted' another, but she passed on four years ago, but I still miss the company and quirkiness (others might call it irritability) of those, who have reached the point in their life where they feel they can say whatever they like ;o)

Chris Cope said...

Victorian Workhouses are just the thing for OAPs. Gets the blood pumping, don't you know. It's good to hear that a bit of spirit has returned for your granny. Perhaps her facilities will return somewhat after a bit of time -- it sounds as if they have been out of use for a while.

NB -- I love the blog's new title.

Selbel. said...

I've been dipping in and out of this blog for a while but always as a lurker. This post prompted me to come out of the shadows!

It could be worse, I went through a remarkably similar experience with my Nanna about 10 years ago. Unfortunatly for me the woman in the bed opposite had stomach cancer (at a guess), her stomach was swollen heavily and the family were gathered around her to say goodbye.

Nanna, with equal hearing ability as Granny, exclaimed "She's having a baby you know, and at HER age!".

Nanna - safe and happy in her own world waiting to join the next...

Dancinfairy said...

I also have been visiting my Nanna in hospital - she had a 15 minute conversation with me before putting on her glasses and exclaiming 'Kelly, it's you - I thought you were the nurse'! That mixed with announcing to a variety of relatives and the entire ward (she also cannot speak quietly) 'Kelly's not married yet you know'.

Huw said...

Update - Granny remains in Hospital, and yesterday reported there was a big fist fight in the ward. When enquiries were made with the hospital staff, no disturbance was said to have occured. Granny's response? "Oh yes, they're having to keep quiet about it."

selbel. - welcome.

y-vonne said...

This generation promises to be interesting. We are looking at facing needy parents (or grandparents for some) at the same time as needy offspring. Now, if we could figure out a way to get the offspring to handle the needy parents ... that would be the magic.
I am glad you are able to see the humour in it all. It makes life so much more fun. Next time, try agreeing with her that the man indeed is physically stuck to the floor.