Monday, June 27, 2016

The Unfinished Puzzle


I bought this puzzle for my grandmother, because she was having some minor memory problems, and I hoped it would have a positive influence on her, that it would rejuvenate her brain power, stimulate her senses, and help her regain her memory...but a week later she had a stroke.

I wondered if she was overstimulated, but I'm told it must have just been a coincidence, that the puzzle did not trigger the stroke, that unbeknownst to all, because she hadn't had a doctors check up in a few years, her blood pressure and blood sugar levels were out of control, both major risk factors in having a stroke, that I guess she was a ticking time bomb, who looked perfectly well on the outside, easily 10 or 15 years younger than her age, but underneath the facade of youth death was rapidly eating her away.

She went from one day simply not remembering how to play bingo, to not knowing how to speak, not knowing how to read, write, or recognize faces, and eventually unable to move and unable to swallow. It was a very rapid decline, apparently a succession of strokes, each worse than the last, which destroyed her over a period of two months.

There are many other factors that I believe lead to her demise, particularly no one willing to foot the bill for specialized care, speech pathologist, etc., and also not getting to the hospital in time, because the early warning signs were missed, to receive medication that must be administered within a very narrow window of time to reverse the damage caused by the stroke, medication she never received because it was too late.

This is the puzzle she never finished, the puzzle I helped her with, a scene somewhere in the Italian Riviera, which I thought I'd finish for her if need be, but because of everything that has happened I was too distraught, and so the puzzle was dismantled and discarded along with most of our belongings, and this picture is the only record of it, because after she died I too in a way died and became homeless, completely at the mercy of family members that I soon realized couldn't care less about me, and blame me for not being prepared for this completely unforeseen event, for not having enough money saved or full-time employment to see me through this misfortune without needing help. Even though I provided hospice care, and saw every aspect of her decline up close, I changed diapers, I bathed a body that looked like a corpse, seeing the black tar blood in stools, hearing the death rattle, experiencing first hand all those ugly stages of dying, and will probably be traumatized by it for many years to come, and yet to them it's as if I did nothing.

People will thank you, act all appreciative for what you did, but the moment the issue of money comes up, of providing financial assistance to someone who provided end of life care for someone important to them, well suddenly what you did isn't so valuable after all and it's my own fault for not having more money saved. I suppose their right, but I never thought she was going to die, not yet, I really was thoroughly convinced that she was going to live to be 100, and that's what makes it so hard, I thought she was getting better, I thought she was going to recover. I was reading all about elderly people, people even older than her in their nineties, who recover from strokes, that it's not necessarily a death sentence, but in her case it was. No medication in time, no specialized care, family members that didn't want to get into debt over it, that they figure it was better to just let her go. And that's just what they did.

Now they got what they wanted, her out of the way interfering with their plans for her brothers inheritance, something I know they are finagling a way to cheat my mother and I out of. Once I get back on my feet I will be hiring a lawyer of my own to look into my crooked lawyer cousin and her wicked mothers mishandling of the estate, and believe me they will pay for what they did. You see my grandmother cried all the time about it, how her lawyer was ignoring her, not answering her questions, and her daughter, her lawyer's mother, had other plans for the property that conflicted with what my grandmother wanted, that I know that the stress she endured this past year from that alone was absolutely instrumental in her decline.