I spent Thursday in Bryan, Texas at St. Joseph's Hospital. My grandmother, Pauline Cahill, went to the emergency room Wednesday. Her health has been slowly deteriorating over the years. Her mobility went years ago and she's been asking everyone who they are for at least a couple years. She always knows her own children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. It's non-family members she can't remember. For some reason she always remembers Roger. But lately her deteriorating health has sped up faster than we could have imagined. She has lost all her strength and energy. Her kidneys are failing and she has fluid on her lungs. Her speech is slurred and she has weakness on her right side. Her symptoms illustrate a possible stroke which might have happened in the last two weeks. Test results will confirm what the doctors believe.
My grandmother turned 91 years old this year. She was born in 1918. Yes, she's lived a long life and seen a lot of changes. I don't think she knows much about computers or cell phones though. My grandmother is definitely old school. She grew up in a frugal family with twelve children in Bremond, Texas. Which is still a mainly rural area. She has lived on a farm all her life even after marrying my grandfather. She grew up picking cotton by hand and many other manual labor jobs. She's had a hard life. Lots of laughter, fun and love, but still hard. She took care of all her grandchildren well. She was such a good grandmother she let us go pick our own switch when we needed some discipline. Don't worry, she loved us a lot and did everything she could for us. But I deserved every whipping I got and I can admit it.
I have many fond memories growing up on the same farm land as her. We'd walk or ride our bikes up the driveway to her house. I loved sleeping on her cold wood floors. She made delicious homemade bread and we loved when she deep fried little pieces of the dough for us. I even loved when she would make us artichokes for snacks. I could sit there peeling off leaf by leaf dragging my teeth across to scrape the meat off. It was a treat to get to the heart. Her fresh pasta was so good. Her yard has many pecan trees which we picked and shelled when they fell to the ground. And it was full of shade. It always seemed cooler sitting under them eating watermelon or drinking sweet tea with family for gatherings. She would ask us to go into the shed house with it's dirt floor and bring back a jar of canned black eyed peas or tomatoes. She was always sewing a quilt which would get so large they hung from the ceiling in her front room or crafting doilies on a metal frame which she would give you a stack to give to a friend when you mentioned how they were doing. I loved walking through her garden picking cherry tomatoes, wiping them off with my hands and popping them right into my mouth. Sometimes I wished I carried a salt shaker with me they were so good. I also remember the times as I approached her house I could smell the sauerkraut she was cooking and I would turn around and walk back home the smell bothered me so bad. Yes, lots of good memories of her.
Thursday she was moved to the clinical decision unit to be observed over the weekend until she can be moved into a nursing home next week. She will never return to her home. It's kind of sad and we all know there comes a time when this happens. We knew it would come and now that it is upon us, we are still not ready.