Saturday, 18 February 2012
Chrissy's very Special Nana
You may remember I posted a photo of Chrissy with her nana on here a couple of weeks ago. Although mum's 80, she thinks nothing of hopping into her car & driving down to us in Hampshire from her Hemel Hempstead home. How we took her visits for granted! I call her my Fairy Godmother because she lavishes TLC on our garden and sprinkles fairy dust around our home. She sees everything through an artist's eye - she made us exquisitely detailed cross-stitch pictures that represent miniatures of our kitchen & bathroom, & at Christmas, she adds special touches like decorating our old oak stairs with holly and ribbon as only she can. She tries to open our eyes to the beauty she finds in everyday things that we don't notice - like a perfect bloom in our garden or one of our cats lit by a shaft of sunlight. She lives for her family, with gardening coming a close second, and she gives the best advice without interfering or being overbearing. I couldn't have managed without her support during Chrissy's early years. Mum, understandably, hasn't been confident for a long time about managing Chrissy on her own, but often used to pick up the slack in other ways by having Chrissy's siblings during hospital dashes or other family crises. Mum's moral support and sympathetic ear has been invaluable during the recent challenges we've faced with Chrissy. She has a lively interest in everything that goes on in the world and we’re so proud of her for taking the plunge and learning to use a laptop. She has even got herself a Facebook profile to keep up with her seven grandchildren! She acts like someone far younger than her years - but we took her fitness for granted, oblivious to the fact that inside her body a silent killer was at work.
Several years ago she had stents fitted to open up blocked coronary arteries. Problem solved we thought – but, on and off, she continued to get chest pains. All tests were clear until two weeks ago when mum was rushed into hospital after suffering prolonged chest pains. A blood test showed she'd had a mild heart attack and further tests revealed that she needed urgent life-saving heart bypass surgery followed by a further op to unblock a narrowed artery in her neck. Our fears grew as the number of complications rose. As anyone who's had a seriously ill dearly-loved family member knows, you’re on an emotional roller-coaster and feel utterly helpless. Like many mums of disabled children, I've become a medical expert on Chrissy’s health issues but I don't know the first thing about heart problems like mum's. It's been another steep learning curve.
Mum had the bypass last week and, thank God, all went according to plan. Then on Monday we had a major scare that resulted in my brother, sister and I rushing to her bedside, thinking she’d breathed her last. Her medication was adjusted and we're now happy that she's on the road to recovery. Thanks to her surgeon's skill, it looks like we'll have several more precious years with her, during which she'll be thoroughly spoilt!
Chrissy has no idea that her nana’s ill. If she visited her in hospital she may, due to the context, fleetingly comprehend the situation on a superficial level. Then she would learn the rhetoric 'nana's sick,' the same way she learnt 'daddy's in heaven' when she asked about her dad after his death. In any case, a hospital visit is out of the question. Mum and I giggled at the thought of the cardiac ward carnage she'd create. All those tubes, dials, bleeps and flashing lights to play with!
Mum has managed to smile even during the darkest moments of her ordeal but then irreverent humour abounds in our family. Like the time several years ago when Chrissy went through her 'Tourette phase.' (#Specialsaturday followers may recognise this story so apologies to them for repeating it!) Alex had broken her arm, & mum and I had no choice but to take Chrissy with us to A & E as there was no one else to look after her. Once there, Chrissy kept shouting ''@uck it!' at the top of her voice. At one point, mum & I had to walk with her past a crowded waiting area. We chivvied her along, praying she wouldn't say it - but just as we reached the last row of seated people, she let rip, & we collapsed with helpless laughter. Chrissy & hospitals don't mix. She will be none the wiser about her nana's close call - but sometimes ignorance is bliss.
I am a SWAN UK (Syndromes without a Name) blogger