27 December 2008

Christmas and the days surrounding

First things, first. Merry Christmas and Christmastide!

We have had a very full few days here. It has been largely defined by a diagnosis of congestive heart failure and colon cancer in my grandmother on Christmas eve, a subsequent operation to remove the tumor in her colon later the same day, and her ongoing recovery. The surgery was very high-risk, but Grammy is doing pretty remarkably, all things considered. We hope to see a pathology report by Monday on whether the cancer was confined to the tumor and we also hope that the fluid around her heart and in her lungs continues to be expelled. In the meantime, she is surrounded by family and lots of love and is exactly where she needs to be with truly excellent care. We are grateful for that.

In the aftermath of Grammy's surgery, our Christmas eve plans changed pretty drastically. I had asked Dennis to come home from work early and he was on his way when we got the call about the surgery. I'm so thankful for that. We were going to have homemade lasagna which is becoming a little tradition, but I had picked up some frozen lasagna on sale for after the baby is born and it was available for Dennis to put in while I was at the hospital. I ended up arriving home to a very satisfying dinner right as the "family friendly" service at church was stariting. So we decorated a tree we got for free from Kroger's and then attended the midnight service at our church. Our children were the only little ones there and they did just a remarkable job. Annalivia fell asleep in the middle and Daniel colored and drew and played mostly quietly through the rest of the service. I was impressed and thankful for that, too. It was a lovely service.

Christmas morning, Annalivia had to be reminded of the special nature of the morning before she went downstairs to discover a new doll. She was duly impressed and just kept saying throughout the morning, "Santa is a very kind man." Daniel slept in and did not get to see his fire truck until after we returned from an amazing brunch at my mother's house. He was not at all impressed with his fire truck; I had gotten Dennis a Lionel train set that Dennis set up under the tree on Christmas eve and Daniel was just enthralled with it. I don't think he has made the distinction in his mind between the train being his or his father's. Eventually he played with the fire truck, but the train was definitely the hit of the day.

The family came over here for dinner in the evening. Dennis' mom and my sister's in-laws also joined us. We had beef bourginon, clam chowder, homemade bread and clementines -- it was pretty simple. And after dinner we sang carols from the hymnal and had a little dessert and everyone went home. It was nice.

We were all pretty tired yesterday, but I got over to see Grammy and today went back over for a while. I have found myself wishing I could be more help to the family. I think the front lines -- my grandfather and my father, Sublime Aunt and FreeSpirit Uncle are getting a little worn out. FreeSpirit Uncle, who gave up Christmas with his wife and son. returned to Arkansas today. Sublime Aunt has arrived, thankfully, for a few days, but my dad who is the local child and has been staying with my grandmother during the night, has come down with the stomach flu. So has my neice. I feel bad about that, since I think we were the ones who had the flu first. We tried to quarantine ourselves as soon as we realized we had it, but I guess the germs got out. Or one of the other 800 cases in our town infected my dad and niece. Regardless, it means that a large chunk of the family will probably pass it around and that takes them out of commission in helping Gramps and tending Grammy.

I'm going to try to get up early tomorrow and get over to the hospital to relieve Sublime Aunt and be another pair of ears listening to whatever doctors say. I' ve been enjoying the time to sit there and talk with my family members and crochet. My sister warned me tonight about carrying leftover flu to the hospital. Our doctor said that we wouldn't be contagious once symptoms passed; that it is the incubation period where people are contagious. I hope -- really, really hope -- he's right about that. The last thing either Grammy or Gramps need is the stomach flu.

Anyway, that has been our days. Though full and busy, we feel so blessed to have family around who care for each other in such amazing ways. And Grammy's successful surgery was about the best Christmas gift anyone could hope to receive. Again -- hope all of your Christmases were merry and bright and that the new year brings health and happiness.

Merry Christmas!


Stephanie Hampton said...

Poor Grammy. I'm sorry she is going thru that. Our family will be praying for yours during this time. You take care Apey.



Jim and Amy Rennie said...

Well, if I'd been reading your blog I would have known all this stuff. I checked it like a week ago and now there are like 3 new posts! I am glad to hear the tumor was where the cancer was confined and will pray for your grandmother's continued recovery.