About 3 months ago, almost to the day, I told you that my Granddad had suffered a mild stroke and was taken to the hospital.
The stroke had only impacted his language center in the brain and he had trouble communicating. Otherwise, he seemed almost unharmed. He had to stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks, he received speech therapy and when he was doing better and I could talk to him on the phone again, I was so relieved, so so relieved that he seemed to be on the road to almost full recovery. My Granddad is 87, he’s lived through WWII and he has one hell of a stubborn mind.
The fact that he was recovering so well made me feel a little better about the decision to not go to Germany for Christmas, but postpone my trip until spring after my sister will have had her baby.
I talked to him on the phone regularly the last few weeks and with every phone call I could tell that he was doing better and that his language had almost come back completely. Yesterday my Granddad tried to call me, but I missed his call. I told myself that I would give him a call back today.
This morning though, I received a call from my sister. My Granddad is back in the hospital. From what they were told, my Granddad must have suffered another stroke while he was sleeping and is now in a “sleep coma”.
That means he seems to be sleeping (he’s actually snoring which is almost comical, if it wasn’t so serious), but they can’t get him to wake up.
The doctors told my family that they don’t know if he’ll ever wake up again, and that if he did wake up again, his life would probably not be worth living anymore. Since the stroke impacted the left side of his brain again, he probably won’t be able to communicate or move much and the longer he remains in the coma, the more severe the impact on this brain will be.
My heart is breaking at being so far away from home and from my family. I feel helpless and alone. I kick myself that I missed my Granddad’s phone call yesterday, as this might have been my last chance to talk to him ever again. On top of that, my sister’s due date is in 18 days and she’d be devastated if he won’t be able to see his great-grandchild anymore.
I don’t know what to think right now. Part of me wants to get on a plane like first thing tomorrow morning, but if I did that, it would impact my plans to go home in the spring. Also, there is no guarantee that he would wake up or notice at all that I was there.
I am afraid that he’s going to pass away without me being there, but again, nobody knows if he’s going to wake up again or for how long he’s going to be in the coma.
I feel so torn, because I want to see him again so badly, but at the same time, I don’t want him to suffer. I don’t want him to wake up and realize that he can’t communicate or move at all anymore. I don’t want him to go to a nursing home just to vegetate away for a few more months, and I don’t want him to be in any pain.
I don’t want him to wake up for my selfish wish alone to see him one more time.
He lived a full-filled, happy and healthy life. If this is the way he’s supposed to go – to fall into a sleep coma and then pass on, I can’t think of a better way to die.
(My grandma (his wife) battled breast-cancer for eight years (she died a long time ago, when I was six) and that is definitely a more painful and sad way to go.)
If you could spare a moment and send some good thoughts and prayers (for whatever outcome) my Granddad’s way, that would be wonderful and very much appreciated.
I can only once more reiterate how much it sucks to be so far away from your family in times like this.
If I only knew what I am supposed to do now…