My mom just got back from the VA Hospital after meeting with her brothers and sisters and doctors over the condition of my grandfather. I don’t know his age, but he fought in the Korean War when he was still very young. He has suffered with Multiple Sclerosis for most of his life, inhibiting him to a wheel chair for countless years. My mom grew up hearing from doctor’s that he may not be around in the years to come; she is now 42 years old and he’s still with us, but is now slipping quickly.
By all definitions of MS, most of its victims would have died years and years ago, but my grandfather has kept his grasp on life, maintaining enough strength to hang on. He has resided in the Veteran’s Hospital (VA) for most of my teen years, and at 20 years old I now see the MS taking what life he has left. What the MS does is it shuts down his body over time; on top of it, he suffers from heavy depression and dementia, which is like an early form of Alzheimer’s. Sometimes he has what seems to be a full recollection of those around him who come to visit and things that happened 15 years ago; and then there are times like today where he doesn’t recognize any of his sons or daughters, some of whom he sees on a rather frequent basis.
The doctors say that he may not still be with us five months from now, and there really is nothing that can be done to help him at this point. The MS has affected his swallowing greatly, so all of his food must now be pureed. My grandfather has always said that he never wanted to be put on feeding tubes, but that say even that wouldn’t help at this point.
The next course of action I’m told is that everyone will have to start planning for funeral arrangements, and the other necessities that go along with the passing of a loved one. One of the saddest things in all of this is never having that grandpa figure in my life; I hardly remember my grandpa before he was in a wheelchair and living in nursing homes or the hospital, and my father’s father died when I was only a few years old. I never grew up with a great-grandfather in my life, either, and the same will be true for my children. I won’t be able to bring my newborn child to my grandpa and watch as his eyes shine and his face lights up with a smile at the proof of being a great-grandfather.