Christmas 2010 at Swedish Medical Center

At 12:07 this morning I got a call from my grandfather. When he calls, I answer. He’d passed out in the hallway and had called paramedics. He assumed they would take him to Swedish like they normally do. There’s a “normal” course of events when Gramps has a heart attack. This is his 5th or 6th in 13 months and he has another 3 or 4 hospitalizations in addition during the same time frame.

So I did my normal course. Get dressed. Make coffee. Call Joe. Dawdle on the internet for 15 minutes. Then leave for the hospital. I got there 15 minutes before they did.

I am always fine when I get the call. Driving up Lynn is fine. I start to get worried this will be the last time I see him about the time I get on the freeway. By the James St exit I am a wreck and near bawling. But I pull it together while climbing James St. And I’m all business by the time I get to Swedish.

That is my “normal” progression.

My main concern is Gram. She has dementia and stress makes her worse. So this morning I walked to meet her at the ambulance and took charge of her while the paramedics wheeled Gramps into emergency. They thought I worked there and were surprised I couldn’t tell them the access code for the emergency doors.

Gramps was admitted overnight, though now it has stretched into 2. Gram cannot stay by herself though she thinks she is fine. So I am crashing on her couch for the second, hopefully less sleepless, night.

The docs who downloaded his pacemaker data confirmed a heart attack. Without the builtin defibrillator, he would have died. It’s the 3rd or 4th time it’s saved his life.

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