My Unexpected Trip Home

In transit

I'm currently on my way back to Cerritos because my grandma is not doing well. She has had a cyst in her brain for many years now and it has caused her to suffer from dizziness which, in turn, has made it difficult for her to walk and read. Her condition, for the past few years, has been consistently getting worse, but recently the degradation has been accelerating. A few weeks ago before Thanksgiving, she stopped being able to cook, which is a big deal because she has always done the cooking in the house. This was the email that my mom sent me dated November 17th.

Jason: how are you? Grandmom missed you, she said why you have not call home for long time? I said may be you are busy, or you are fine no need to call us, Grandmom is not feeling good, Can’t walk without walker, She can’t cook and can’t do anything but she still can eat by herself and take shower by herself. Good thing is dad is home all the time, so he can take care of her and help to cook and take her to doctor or take her to park to walk. This year we are not going to Las Vegas on Thanksgiving Day we will stay home play ma jang (grandmom like it) hope everything going well with you.

I couldn't stop crying after I read this email. It made me feel really guilty for not calling home and it also made me angry because my grandma was fine before I left. Since Thanksgiving her condition has gotten even worse. A week ago her whole body was shaking after a fall off of her bed which resulted in her being hospitalized. The doctors moved her to the ICU, but then she contracted pneumonia the following day. The good news is that she beat it a couple of days after, but the bad news is that she's still having trouble breathing. The doctors said that she only has 35% breathing capacity or something like that so they've connected her to some breathing machine.

I don't know how she's doing as of right now because I haven't called in the past 12 hours, and it'll be another 15 before I arrive home.

I'm really sad that I have to leave York. My life there is good and it's a shame that I have to say goodbye. I know it's only for a month, but I don't like the idea of leaving a nice place. It's as if I'm waking up from a dream and having to face reality. Having said that, there is no doubt in my mind that I should be home with my family right now. One of the things I feel most guilty about was missing my great grandma's death a few years ago. I was traveling in Barcelona at the time.

After arrival

I just came back from seeing my grandma in the hospital and she looks horrible. The breathing tube that goes into her lungs is about as thick as my index finger and she has another tube through her nose to feed her. She acknowledged that I was there and she was trying to communicate with me, but because of that fucking breathing tube she couldn't talk and since she kept trying to pull it out, they bounded up her hands so now she can't write either. She's obviously suffering and obviously trying to talk to us, but we just can't communicate with her. It's so frustrating!

I still don't understand why she can't breathe well on her own, but I get the impression that it has to do something with the pneumonia she had. Maybe she has some infection in her lungs? If she can start breathing on her own again I think she'll have a chance. It's that machine that's keeping her there and I'm fully convinced that hospitals drain your spirit even though they may keep you physically alive. The nurse said that they typically use the breathing machine for a couple of weeks and my grandma has only been connected to it for about one. So I think in about one or 1 ½ weeks we'll find out what's going to happen to her. If she continues to need the machine, then they'll have to drill a hole to her trachea, which means we'll have to put her in a convalescent home. I really hope that won't happen because that's where the real soul draining process takes place. My great grandma spent the last decade of her life in one of those homes and it was just depressing. Not being around an environment you're familiar with makes such a big difference on your will to live. Once you lose that, life ends.