Monday, March 29, 2010

Making Memories

We made a semi-emergency trip this last weekend to visit Steve's grandparents and aunts and uncles. The main concern was his grandpa, who has been active and full of life for YEARS, has recently decided that he wants to be done. Once we heard that, we made plans to visit him before he really WAS done.
We took Steve's dad with us, caravaned with his brother's family and we were off. The first day we were in town, Grandpa had just gotten out of surgery. He hasn't been able to eat much, so they installed a feeding tube. He was very weak from the surgery, so we decided to visit on Saturday. And after many wrong turns we eventually found our way to cousin David's house (a BEAUTIFUL, new, HUGE home.) We found out that Grandma wanted to get together with everyone for dinner, so we hurriedly unpacked and we were off. We had a VERY enjoyable evening with the family, just laughing and catching up. (I fell in love with Steve's family all over again, they're all SO wonderful and fun!) After dinner, we made simple plans for the next day to at LEAST visit Uncle Mike and Aunt Linda's house so that the boys could see their horses, then we went back to David's house to put the boys to bed and to talk with cousins.
That night we slept above David's garage, in his "bonus room." It was a VERY large room, but part-way through the night it got VERY cold. I wouldn't have worried about it if Jake hadn't been trying to get comfortable by wandering the room and sleeping in the middle of the floor. I kept finding him in a different place, so I grabbed the boy and had him sleep with me. It was fine for him, but I didn't sleep very well. Because of the wandering sleep, I've learned that the boy will most DEFINITELY need to be in a crib for a LONG time.
The next morning we woke up to the smell of pancakes. Steve's cousin, who is a newlywed, and a busy guy to boot, had made us breakfast. After eating, we made our way to the hospital. It was a very new facility, and we learned that they have pretty strict security. Visitors are required to sign in and wear a badge. After finding out where Grandpa was and signing in, we went upstairs to visit. He was happy to see us, but pretty groggy. We wanted to get some pictures with him, but he started getting agitated because his hair wasn't combed. I went in search of a comb for him, but couldn't find one. Luckily, Steve's dad had one and I combed his hair, but he also continued to get agitated and anxious. He had a panic attack because we had overwhelmed him.
We were asked to leave (by Grandma and Uncle Dick) and we went to the waiting room. While waiting for news from Uncle Dick about what was going on, a friend of mine came in. I was surprised to see her, because we live in the SAME town, and for her to be in the same hospital was QUITE a little miracle. Her mom wasn't doing very well, so I just gave her lots of hugs and tried to tell her of my sadness for her. We talked for a little while, until Uncle Dick came back. He invited us to have dinner at his house that night, and said he'd meet us back at the hospital that evening to lead us there. I said good-bye to my friend, and then we went in search of lunch. Once outside, we learned how wonderful the weather was. We all stripped off our jackets and just enjoyed the nice, WARM weather.
We decided to try a restaurant that we don't have in our town, and I've heard how wonderful the Cheesecake Factory was for a very long time, so we went there. Once we were seated, we had sticker-shock. But we figured we might as well give it a try. We learned that even though the prices are big, the food is just as big, and JUST as yummy. After filling our faces, we then went to visit the horses.
Once we got to Uncle Mike and Aunt Linda's house we relaxed a bit, took a tour of their remodel (due to a flooded house) and visited the horses. The boys were ENTHRALLED by the horses, which are ponies, and Jake loved them....UNTIL they made BIG horse noises. He was afraid to go near them. After visiting the horses, we played in the backyard until we needed to go to the store to stock up on a few things. We hugged them and promised to see them later (Uncle Dick had invited EVERYONE to his house) and we went to the store.
After the store, it was time to meet back at the hospital. We signed in and went to visit Grandpa, but Grandma waved us back. Apparently, they'd tried to feed him through the tube for the first time, and then he took a walk...that was just too much for him. He was very sick and wasn't up for visitors. We understood, peeked our heads in, told him that we loved him, then headed back to the waiting room. It was then that I noticed Jake was walking funny. His legs were FAR apart and he was slightly squatting. OH MY GOSH! I had forgotten to change the kid's diaper ALL day long! I noticed wet spots on the sides of his legs by the diaper, and told Steve that I was going to the car to change Jake, but I'd be back.
I took the boy outside, changed him, and then his pants, then we were back inside, checking BACK in. As soon as I filled out the sheet, I heard familiar voices, the family was coming back down the hallway. The family was coming out. I signed back out. (In and out at 5:00....kinda funny!) Then we left to eat dinner.
Uncle Dick REALLY outdid himself. He had h'ordeuvres, lasagna, salad, ham, hot dogs (for the boys), cheese sticks, onion rings, and ice cream and cookies for dessert. His little house (I DO mean little) was filled to capacity (there were 17 of us) and we all laughed again and talked some more. I got to talk more with Grandma, who is SUCH a cute and sweet woman, then I tried to keep the boys entertained while Steve played pinochle with his family. I noticed that Steve's dad was ASLEEP on the couch, and asked him if he was ready for bed, and he said he was. So I told Steve that we needed to go put the boys to bed, all three of them. He wanted to stay and play, so he talked to his cousin and they said they could give him a ride home, and I took the guys and we left. That car ride was something I don't think I'll EVER forget. Steve's dad has never really said much to me, ever. He doesn't say much to Steve either, so I just figured he was a quiet guy. That night, I turned off the radio, because I didn't think he'd appreciate my country music, and that man just opened up. He told me all sorts of stories: about how he decided to give up drinking, how he had worked as a janitor for over 40 years, his youth....anything and everything. I wished I could have taken notes. After a quick stop at the store, we went back to the house. I got the boys ready for bed, then went down the stairs to read a book and wait for the others to get home.
Once the did, I asked to use the Internet REALLY quickly, I left a note for someone on FaceBook, and then found that my friends who lived where I was visiting had been looking for me. I made a call, and set up an impromptu Girls' Night In. I went to visit them and stayed up laughing and talking until 2 am.
After almost getting lost again, I found my way back, and went to sleep. Sunday morning, we got cleaned up and went to a local Sacrament Meeting, enjoying the Easter message, then we went to visit Grandpa. After signing in, we wet up to visit him. (I had seen my friend's name on the sign in, and knew she was there, I had hoped to find out exactly what was going on with her mom and maybe give her another squeeze.) Grandpa was FAST asleep. We didn't want to bother him, so we wrote him a note, and as we were finishing, my friend's family came out of the waiting room. I hugged her again and talked with her for a few minutes. I let her know that her family was in my prayers (they still are). Then Grandpa's nurse told us that he wasn't sleeping a lot, it was mostly off and on napping, and that we should say good-bye to him. We went back, woke the poor guy up, and said our farewells. He was even MORE out of it and kept asking us where the Indians fought the white men. We snapped a few more pictures, gave him hugs and said good bye. He was so frail, and I don't know if he will ever fully recover.
It was quite the trip. I had fun, but I was also a little sad about Grandpa, and his condition. I'm just glad we made the time to see him and make more memories with him. He had insisted that we give him some pictures of the boys, and we made sure we got a cute one for him. After looking at the cute pictures he had in his room I asked him how he got such CUTE grandkids. He responded, "I have a formula." It was so sweet, and I just love him for his sense of humor.

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