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Well, Christmas was fine...not super spectacular, but fine. Rick had to work in the morning on both Christmas Eve and Day so that was not the coolest, but everything worked out okay. We ended up opening presents on Christmas Eve after Rick got off work so we would have time to travel to Grandma's on Christmas Day and spend the day with her. This is the first year Grandpa has been in the nursing home so we didn't want her to be "alone" on Christmas.

We also visited Grandpa but he didn't recognize me. Since his stroke his brain doesn't connect things properly and he gets stuck in the wrong year sometimes. He kept talking about his mother's death which was almost 40 years ago. I wasn't born yet, so I was outside his frame of reference. He seemed to recognize my dad (his oldest son) and mom, though they didn't look right to him (they've aged a little in the last few decades). It would have been funny if it hadn't been so sad that when my mom introduced herself Grandpa said "Oh, is THAT what you look like?". Certainly, that is not what she looked like back when my parents were dating/getting married in the mid 60s.

Since Rick worked last weekend (over Christmas) he gets Thurs. and Fri. off this week in addition to the weekend off so we'll be traveling down to his mom's in Coshocton, OH for the New Year. New Year's Eve will be spent out at his sister's place, playing games, eating food and probably watching the ball drop (WITHOUT Dick Clark this year I hear - there's the end of an era). I'd say that this means we're in for a low key New Year's but considering how completely insane his family is who knows what drama lurks in the shadows. ;) Of course, my family is insane too...insane works for me, sane is far too boring anyways. Hope everyone has a Happy New Year!
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Yesterday I saw love. I took Grandma to the nursing home Grandpa was transferred to a few days ago. The light in her eyes, the tender way she stroked his cheek with her hand - that is love. You could tell it was tearing her apart inside that he wasn't comprehending who she was after nearly 64 years of marriage. He kept saying things like "you're familiar" and "where are you from" to her. For some inexplicable reason he knew exactly who I was. He smiled, said Amanda, and gave me a hug. After we had been there for about 40 minutes he finally got who Grandma was and was able to tell the speech therapist that she was his wife Teresa. He also knew his address, and was able to say everything she asked him to repeat. He's having some spacial problems, when asked to touch his nose and then elbow he missed both times and had to search with his hand until he found them. Sometimes things don't come out right when he says them either. Instead of asking me where I was working now he asked me where the center of business is now. It will take him some time and some therapy for his brain to learn to work around the parts that were damaged by the stroke. He is definitely improving - it's only been a week and a half since the stroke. It will be a long road but I have a lot of hope after seeing everything he was able to do/say as the speech therapist worked with him yesterday. It was only her first visit and he hasn't yet met with his physical or occupational therapists which should help even more.

Church this morning rocked! The Spirit really moved - which is quite fitting for Pentecost. ;) I haven't cried in a while during worship - I cried this morning. That's a good thing - no really. I'm a cryer, when I really feel God's presence I just get overwhelmed and can't help myself.

[livejournal.com profile] _blackhawk_ and I went to rent a DVD yesterday and nothing new looked good so we decided on Holy Grail - can't go wrong with that and it has been some time since I saw it last. Haven't had a chance to check out the extras on the DVD yet - will probably do that later today. Er, or maybe not - I just realized I don't have a heck of a lot of time until the cookout at the parsonage for the worship team this evening and I still need to make a dish to pass. I'm really looking forward to that. Nothing like good food and good fellowship.
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Spent most of the day today in St. Joe visiting Grandpa in the hospital. He is speaking - but very difficult to understand. Still, short phrases often came through crystal clear in amongst what sounded like so much mumbling. Part of this may be due to the fact that he didn't have his teeth in. :) He perked right up and listened when we put the Cubs game on - especially when the Cubs won! He even laughed - quite a bit actually - he's always been a bit of a giggler. Uncle Jim came in from Rockford, IL and Uncle Duke from Traverse City was still there when we (mom, dad, Rick and I) arrived in the late am - but Duke and his wife Gayla headed back this afternoon. My parents and Uncle Jim are still there, staying with Grandma at the house (without power due to the storm and using bottled water for everything! The power company says they SHOULD have power restored by Monday) and Duke and Gayla will return on Tuesday.

One thing still remains true, you get a bunch of Elsner boys in a room together and it gets REALLY loud. They talk and they laugh - oh how they laugh. The only one not there was Gary who is way out in D.C.

It's probably going to be a while before we know how much Grandpa is going to recover from this. It's a slow rehab process after a stroke. We went through one with my mom's mom last August so on the one hand since I know a little what to expect this time around it's not as scary as it was back then but on the other hand Grandpa Elsner's stroke was worse than Grandma Nichols was so it's still kind of scary.

At this point it's just a wait and see kind of thing. There's really no point in worrying about what will/will not happen since that will not change anything. I know God is still in control - I feel a strange sense of peace about it all.

Rick and I had planned on going to see Everyday Sunday and Kids in the Way in concert tonight here in Kalamazoo - but that was before my Grandpa had a stroke. By the time we left St. Joe this evening the concert had already started and we were still an hour away. No regrets - I was where I was supposed to be today and I was too tired after being around people all day to want to spend the evening around people as well anyway.
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Just got voice mail at work from my Dad. Apparently things are not going as well for Grandpa as was thought. Sounds like somehow there was miscommunication somewhere along the line (between the drs & Grandma? between Grandma & Dad? - I don't know - getting all the info 3rd hand isn't the greatest). Now I am being told that the stroke was more severe and Grandpa has no use of his left side. One of my uncles and his wife are there so at least Grandma is not having to deal with this alone. I will definitely go over either tomorrow after work or on Saturday.
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My grandpa Elsner had a slight stroke last night. He was sitting on the edge of the bathtub when it happened and fell backward so he also has a slight concussion. Doctors prognosis is very good though. He has already improved A LOT and it's the first 24-48 hours after a stroke that are crucial so that is good. I will probably try to make it over to see him this weekend. They are only about an hour away. I found out when I went home for lunch that he had gone into the hospital from a message my Aunt Anita had left around 10:30am she also said that Grandma was having difficulty getting a hold of my Dad. I'm not sure if they didn't have any details yet, but she didn't leave any. The first thing I did was call Dad at work and let him know. Then I waited for him to get in touch with someone, find out what was happening and call me back. I'm doing okay now but between around 12:20 when I got the message and 2:30ish when Dad called me back after he got a hold of Grandma I was a little shaky. Not knowing what is going on is sometimes scarier than knowing exactly what is happening.

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