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15 February 2008 @ 09:03 pm
Hell of a Day  
Today was a really hard day. The last week and a half has been hard too. At around 11:30am I got a call from my mother while I was at work. My grandmother had not been feeling well last night, so my parents went to stay with her. At around 6am after taking her blood pressure and finding it dangerously low, they had EMS come get her and rush her to the emergency room. They gave her two liters of fluids on account of her severe dehydration, and it was found that she had an infection in her bladder that had spread to her kidneys and raised the acidity of her blood to dangerous levels. She was septic, her pulse at something like 34 and her kidneys and heart compromised. I got to the hospital half an hour later, and as I was walking into the ICU cardiac unit, they waved their hands wildly from the end of the hall. They were both crying and my mom said that I should say goodbye, and let my grandma know that I was there. When I walked up to the bed, there was a team of 10 nurses and doctors sticking her with all sorts of stuff. She had tubes and needles snaking out of her in all directions. It looked nightmarish. I said hi and she looked at me and absently commented to one of the doctors how tall I am. 

My grandma has always been a sharp lady, quick-witted, funny, and wordly. She's 91, and goddamn if that isn't a long, full life. She worked in advertising for most of her life writing copy, and opened her own agency in the 50s or 60s. Later on, she also started her own pasta company and trade magazine on the food industry. It should come as no surprise that she was a wonder at the written word. What an amazing story-teller. To this day, every year she sends out an annual Christmas letter to all of her friends and relatives. One year it was late and tons of people asked where it was since they so looked forward to it. It should also come as no surprise that I owe my love of writing to her. From a very young age I used to play all sorts of make believe games with her. When I was older, I would dictate stories to her, which she would then transcribe for me and bind into little books. One cherished character of mine was a singing and dancing cat named France, whose world was littered with other animals that would join her in her various adventures. During birthdays and holidays, my grandmother would be sure to always send a card and note from France to me, oftentimes signed with a little paw print. A wonderful and inspiring woman. 

I spent 7 hours or so with my parents in the ICU with her. Throughout the entire process she was alert, aware, and we could hear her talking to her attendents. That's the thing with my mom's side. Their minds are strong until the end. Bodies always crap out first. Getting old sucks. Needless to say, they got her stabilized and by the evening their was evidence that the infection was clearing, but because of the influx of fluids she was developing moisture in her lungs. They hesitated to call it pneumonia, but they're tracking it. I will likely spend much of the day with my parents there tomorrow, as well. We really thought she was going to die. Also, anything can happen at this point. That 24 hour time period is the most critical, and the rest is just a waiting game. She could go yet. However, it was refreshing to see her charming the pants off the staff, conning them into giving her some juice, and promising to hold a joint birthday party next year with her primary physician, who she discovered shared her birth date. They all loved her because she was so lively, and sharp. You don't get a lot of 90 year olds like that. She also has a dirty mind, so I suppose I must have taken after her in that respect too. Hee. 

Prior to this crisis today, I've been having a lot of anxiety about what the future holds for me now that I'll be graduating in May. Kinda daunting when you don't know what life will bring next. I've been somewhat depressed, sleeping a lot, and not leaving my apartment or even my room for long periods of time. I am the  queen of avoidance and procrastination, and have not been proactive about my job search, which has simply caused more anxiety on my part. It's a vicious cycle, and one I'm a repeat offender of. I went home last weekend for my dad's birthday and discussed some of this with my parents. At their suggestion, I started to see a counselor at school to discuss how I can try and manage my block, and maybe the root causes to my avoidance issues. The first session went well, so I'm optimistic. 

Because I don't have very much class time, I have a fair amount of unscructured time on my hands, which can be difficult for me since I lack self-discipline. When I could be wrking on my thesis or any number of things, I sit and piss the time away. The key for me is filling that time, which I'll also have to strategically figure out. 

I've gained 5 pounds since September and it's not made me happy. I'm still slim, always have been, but its become increasingly aparent to me that I'm going to have to work at it now to maintain it. My body or metabolism has changed, and that's just a reality of aging. My first step is to wean myself off of all the juice I drink. I love juice. I drink it all the time, all different flavors. But there is so much sugar in it, so I'm going to try and up my water and tea intake. I already drink a fair share of both, but it can't hurt. Trying to implement some sort of regular exercising regiment is also on my to-do list. I have a gym at my disposal. I should use it. But I need a buddy to keep me motivated, and it's been hard locking my friends in to go with me. I'll keep trying though. 

Fanfiction has been a pretty low priority in the face of all this mess, but I have been writing. I have a tendency to write 2000 words on a fic, come up with another idea, move on to that, and not finish the previous one. Luckily, I wrote a new 1000 word scene for my Faith/Angel fic, which I've decided to call "And the Band Plays On." I'll try and focus my attention on that one, so I can finally post something. I'm also almost completely done with an Angel/Kate fic set in AtS:2 and a gen ensemble fic set directly after the Angel season 2 finale dealing with everyone's reaction to Buffy's death. *fingers crossed* I'm just so tired.

Sevvy: Medicinesevvy_o on February 16th, 2008 02:49 am (UTC)
*hugs* I'm sorry about your grandmother. I hope she gets better.
ClawofCat: dawntaraclawofcat on February 17th, 2008 01:29 am (UTC)
Thanks. She was much improved today.
The Anti-OTPsnowpuppies on February 16th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)
Yeah, this totally sounds like my life. Well, pretty close. I don't think I've been described as 'slim' since I was about seven years old. :P

I lost my grandmother a year ago last January, but she had the opposite problem - her mind went before her body. It was so horrible, and I still miss her every day.

Cherish every moment you have - your grandma sounds like a great lady.

If you need a chat or anything, let me know. I'll even use AIM for you. *g*
ClawofCat: sisters grieveclawofcat on February 17th, 2008 01:37 am (UTC)
Yeah, this totally sounds like my life.
Then I bet we'll have a lot to talk about when that fateful day comes when we have our much anticipated chat.

I lost my grandmother a year ago last January, but she had the opposite problem - her mind went before her body. It was so horrible, and I still miss her every day.
My grandfather had alzheimer's, and was institutionalized for a few years before he passed in '05. He wasn't a very chatty guy, but he was sweet. I remember how saddended I felt the first time he called me Karen, which is my aunt's name. I'm sorry for your loss. It isn't easy either way you slice it.

Cherish every moment you have - your grandma sounds like a great lady.
She was much improved today when I visited her. We sat and talked for 2 hours. She was cracking jokes. It takes a lot to get her down. I hope I have that sort of spunk.

If you need a chat or anything, let me know. I'll even use AIM for you. *g*
What if we plan a chat date? That could be fun. Are you free at any point tomorrow? It'll just be me and my thesis, and thankfully it doesn't talk back (or else it might be saying 'wtf, yo?')
(no subject) - snowpuppies on February 17th, 2008 02:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - clawofcat on February 17th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - snowpuppies on February 17th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - clawofcat on February 17th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - snowpuppies on February 17th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - clawofcat on February 17th, 2008 02:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - snowpuppies on February 17th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
eowyn_315: James Smileeowyn_315 on February 16th, 2008 03:09 am (UTC)
*hugs* Your grandma sounds like a wonderful lady. Those kinds of things can be very scary, but it sounds like she's pretty strong-willed and won't be going anywhere without a fight. I'm hoping she makes it out of the woods soon, and wishing lots of patience and strength to you and your family - the waiting is so hard.

I hope the counseling sessions work out for you. Senior year can be very stressful, and the cause of many a future-related breakdown. But then it will all be over, and everything works out, and you'll wonder why you were so worried. :)
ClawofCat: collge is hardclawofcat on February 17th, 2008 01:41 am (UTC)
She was much improved today. I stayed with her for two hours and we chatted the whole time until Gus swung by for a visit. Not a lot gets her down. I wish I could be so optimistic.

I'm feeling pretty down today too. Maybe counseling more than once a week would be useful. I'll play it by ear. And I know that "this too shall pass," it's just the getting through it is difficult. Thanks for your support, babe. *hugs*
Mandi: intervention momentvampkiss on February 16th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
*big hugs* Your grandmother sounds amazing. Hope everything works out for you and your family.
ClawofCat: feel aliveclawofcat on February 17th, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words. i'm happy to report she's much improved today.
shawty got flava like a peach lifesaver: btvs: buffy dawn sistersonly_passenger on February 16th, 2008 03:28 am (UTC)
love on you.

shawty got flava like a peach lifesaver: mama icons: prefoldonly_passenger on February 16th, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)
also, though unrelated, i wanted to pass this along, because i said i would.

the business of being born
(no subject) - clawofcat on February 17th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
SpankSpikespankspike on February 16th, 2008 05:30 am (UTC)
Your Grandmother sounds like a really awesome person. How could you not be inspired by her?

I'll send good thoughts your way.

Sorry about all of the other crap going on as well. I'm also a master procrastinator. I've actually spent several years longer than I wanted at jobs I hated just because I so despise job hunting and I would put it off as long as possible.
ClawofCat: crapclawofcat on February 17th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC)
Thanks for your support. She was much better today, and in good spirits. Can't ask for much more than that.

I don't kid myself that there are a lot of people out there that procrastinate too. But I feel as though I need to be more proactive about it, or else I'll flip out. I have a job that I can stay at after I graduate if need be, so no big. But it's not what I want to do for a career, and I've always thought that 'job' was part of my plan after college. Maybe I feel anxious because it's not. Maybe I want to travel, maybe I'm scared of the 40 hour work week committment. Hopefully I'll figure it out. Only three months til graduation.
Shapinglightshapinglight on February 16th, 2008 08:29 am (UTC)
You sound to me liked you're majorly stressed and you certainly shouldn't be worrying about fanfic unless you can use writing it as a form of recreation.

Also, please don't worry too much about the fact that you haven't got your future all mapped out in your head yet. You're far from being alone in that and you have all your life before you to make your mind up (which I hope won't come across as patronising, because I really don't mean it to be).

I'm very sorry about your grandmother and hope she'll be okay. She sounds like a wonderful woman with a lot of life left in her.
ClawofCat: freaking outclawofcat on February 17th, 2008 02:22 am (UTC)
Stress, yes. There is much of it. I know I don't need my entire future mapped out and that this is normal, but I do need to make at least some basic decisions, and I feel like I haven't. I'm also not on a track at school that leads directly to a career. Okay, so I want to go into communications. Now what? I need more advising. Career Development is vaguely helpful, and I feel a lot of pressure to do it on my own, especially with my parents caught up with my grandmother. Who, btw, is much improved today. She wants me to go into finance writing. *sigh*

How do moms do it? Deal with their kids flipping out about this stuff? You must be a pro by now. And how is your daughter's hand doing?
(no subject) - shapinglight on February 17th, 2008 01:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - clawofcat on February 17th, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
mere ubu: s/b touchedmere_ubu on February 16th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
Your grandmother sounds like a firecracker. My mother is in her 80s and has been in and out of the hospital the past couple of months; I know how hard it is to see a feisty lady struggling with a body that's running out of steam. ::big hugs:: Hope that she turns the corner and y'all get to love on her some more.

That transitional period between school and The Rest of Your Life is daunting, and I think that counseling would be really helpful. Please be gentle with you--you don't have to figure it out all at once, and once you're out there, no one will be grading you.
ClawofCat: spikesmilesclawofcat on February 17th, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)
She is a firecracker! And was much improved today. She was all smiles and chatting. Takes a lot to get her down. If only it were infectious. I could use some myself. I wish you and your mother luck. Watching my mom deal with her mother, I know how hard and draining it can be as a caretaker.

Thank you so much for commenting, btw. Your post really spoke to me. I have a feeling you've had to deal with this before. You sound like you're talking from experience. I'm optimistic about the counseling, and I have often been told that I am too hard and too crtical of myself. It's just hard to cut yourself slack when you just don't know. Again, thanks for your words of wisdom *hugs*
(no subject) - mere_ubu on February 17th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Cordykitten: bloodytearslife cordyicon1cordykitten on February 16th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear that. Your grandmother sounds like a fighter too, not giving up easily. *hugs*
I hope she'll get better again.
ClawofCat: buffy smileclawofcat on February 17th, 2008 02:37 am (UTC)
She seemed much improved today. And she is a fighter. Thanks for your support!
Mspankulert on February 16th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry you had to go through that. Hopefully your grandma will continue to improve, she sounds like one hell of a fighter and a lady.
ClawofCat: ouchyclawofcat on February 17th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words. She was much better today. The doctors are very optimistic she'll pull through.
Tam: Spike soul effulgenttamakin on February 17th, 2008 05:48 pm (UTC)
Oh hun *hugshugshugs* Im so so sorry to hear about your gran, but so happy for you in that its clear you have a good relationship with her. So many peeps dont these days, and i think its a terrible shame. I owe part of my love of animals and art to my grandad, so i can appreciate the lessons they can give. I really REALLY hope she gets over this hump *hugs*

And dear god the procrastination thing? So totally get that, its scary. Hope the counselors help! And yeah, drag friends with you even if you have to grab hair! hehehe

ClawofCat: collge is hardclawofcat on February 17th, 2008 09:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks for popping by, hun. You're always so lively and sweet, it makes me smile. She's much improved today, and they're thinking of releasing her in two days. So it's a celebration all around.

I know it's not just me with the procrastination thing. So many people struggle with it, especially those of us college folk. But you forget sometimes, you know?

Thanks for your support. You're a peach. *hugs*