When my cousin called me this morning I was sure she wanted to discuss the Chanukah dinner we were tentatively planning for when my sister comes to town in two weeks. Turns out she was calling to tell my grandmother fell. The home health aid arrived in the morning as scheduled and when my grandmother didn’t answer the door, the aid called the agency, who called 911, who arrived and broke down the door and found my grandmother on the floor. She was the living example of the commercial we grew up with: “I’ve fallen and couldn’t get up.”
We don’t know yet how long she had been there or what caused the fall. I don’t know if they knocked the door down by cutting it, pounding it in, or by busting through the door knob, but all of these inconsequential thoughts come flooding at once. What came out of my mouth was, “Why didn’t the home heath aid just call 9-1-1 herself?” and as I say it I realize it’s irrelevant. “Never mind,” I quickly attempt a retraction, and ask if my grandmother knows what happened, or where she is and if she recognizes my cousin.
My grandmother has two children: my mother and her brother, my uncle (my cousin’s father). Ironically both my mother and my uncle are out of town until Friday so my aunt and cousin are at the hospital with my grandmother.
“How bad is it?” I ask. “I mean, seriously, it’s me. Is this a “bruised and sprained situation” or the “check into the hospital never to check out” scenario?”
My cousin says she doesn’t know anything yet. She said they are performing x-rays and blood work and my grandmother has not allowed CT-Scans and MRIs. My grandmother was moaning, complaining about pain in her legs and back and they got her some morphine.
My grandmother, 87, has been living on her own for the last two and a half years since my grandfather died after 61 years of marriage. This is proof of what the family had suspected for the last year: she can’t continue to live on her own despite how fiercely she wants to hang onto the reins controlling her life. She wants to continue to live in the same apartment she shared with my grandfather for the whole 40 years she’s lived in America.
“What the fuck, 2016?” I think to myself. I only have 25 days left to write and every day and just when I think I have something poignant from my history to hash up, Life, just like the card game War, slams down the ace every fucking time.
I don’t have to write about my grandmother falling. I don’t have to annotate the knot I’m feeling in my stomach. My plan for writing every day this year was to squeeze my brain enough so all the stories of the past ooze out, eliminating the clutter from the annals of my memory. I didn’t intend on documenting so much of the present. Yet, as life throws me the “doozy of the day,” I take to the keyboard to immortalize the experience in words, expelling them onto paper so they won’t rattle around as a distraction.
So now I’ve formed this habit? When I’m angry life has wasted my time with its tragedies and errors, I write it down as if my pen has any weight against the Almighty.