Thursday, October 05, 2006

In case of emergency

My Grandma was found in her driveway Tuesday, hunched over a cardboard box. She apparently had collapsed sometime in the afternoon, laying there, alone. When some friends from out-of-town arrived, it was clear she was confused, not able to speak in full sentences. She owns a dog kennel, and works harder than most people half her 75 years--although she told the doctors in the ER she is retired. After three days in the hospital she is on her way home, with no diagnosis or instructions. It could have been what they call a 'mini-stroke'. We just don't know.

Here lies the dilemma--what now? My Grandmas lives alone, if you don't count the dozens of dogs in her charge and the dogs she boards. She owns a public business with enough traffic that she has many friends, but there are slow days and she is isolated in her rural home of 35 years. She doesn't answer her phone at times; she's busy. She has severe asthma, but mows her lawn despite heat or smog advisories for the elderly or those with lung disease. She doesn't think she is either. She is stubborn. She is strong willed. I want to respect my Grandma's feelings and her passion for her lifestyle. I know it must be hard to face growing old. But what would have happened if no one came down the driveway that day? And is it fair to her family when she refuses to make plans to reduce her workload, or write out a contingency plan if she is unable to care for her dogs? I don't know.

But it's got me thinking. If I have a medical emergency, there are immediate concerns that have to be dealt with--namely my kids. So I am considering what I need to do to make a difficult situation better, just in case. I know the kids' schedules and all the pertinent phone numbers, when the bus comes and when homework is due. If I was sick and needed care, having instructions available may make me feel less worried and put my friends and family at ease. Somehow we made it through emergencies over the past year, but by the seat of our pants. I don't plan on living a little life because I could get sick. But, reality demands I take responsibility for my lush life, that my eyes are open.

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