it was a Wednesday and mom asked the kids and I over for dinner. She and Mel were leaving for southern il for her eldest sister's funeral the next day and then another sister (and her husband) were riding with them to Tunica, Mississippi for a three day weekend.
Mel came out and didn't look like he felt very well. I mentioned this to him and we talked a bit about it. He was sure he'd be fine, he has been unhealthy for years having survived pretty much every major health scare you can think of ( congestive heart failure, colon cancer, open heart surgery, hip replacement, very large hernia, diabetic coma....we called him "bionic grandpa"). When his breathing got labored like that, he would take a water pill (?) and get the fluid off his heart and he would be better.
We ate dinner and when we went to leave the kids gave them both hugs and kisses (as they always do) and Mel took my hand and said "I haven't given up on your door, I'll be over next week when we get back". And off we went.
They attended my Aunt Ruth's funeral and headed to Tunica. According to mom and Aunt Wanda, Mel still was in pain and they told him that they could postpone the trip and head home. He insisted on going on down. He thought when he got to the hotel he would put his oxygen on and feel better. On Friday afternoon, my mom called 911 and the EMTs came and took all his vitals, his blood pressure was fine and they thought if he just took his pill to get the water off his heart he would feel better. He didn't want to go to the hospital (because he was worried about money) so the EMTs left. My mom called Gabriel to ask him which pill was the right one because mel just put all his pills in one bottle mixed up. grrrrrr. I feel a little angry at the EMTs who should have been more insistent on convincing him to go to the hospital for tests. According to mom and my aunt, they were pretty casual and gave them all a feeling that he was totally fine. It becomes very apparent that we start to blame everyone and everything and do the whole "what if" scenario over and over. What if I had insisted he stay home that Wednesday night when clearly I saw that he was not doing well?
Somewhere around midnight, Mel was in so much pain (his legs were hurting at this point) he told my mom he needed to go to the hospital. We got the call and Gab answered it, we were asleep so he was pissy. Plus he was still mad about Mel and Mom turning the EMTS away at noon when they were there. Honestly Mel has been in the hospital so many times and my mom always made it sound like he was going to die each time that this time we thought it was the same situation. After all, he survives EVERYTHING. He was in so much pain and his blood pressure was too low to give him any pain medication so they put him on a ventilator and in a twilight coma to alleviate pain. His blood pressure was almost non-existent like 60 over 40 or something crazy low.
So here is my mom living in a waiting room 8 hours away from home. My aunt and uncle were making trips back and forth to the hotel (which I must mention the hotel was awesome and gave them rooms for free for the duration of their stay since they stayed a few extra days to be with mom). Over the next few days his condition got worse. His kidneys started shutting down, he developed blood clots, and they thought maybe he experienced a stroke. They did dialysis to try to reboot the kidneys to no avail. His blood pressure never stabilized and his oxygen was floating somewhere around 70% even with 100% O2 flow. They talked about "making a decision".
My aunt had to come home to start her latest round of chemo (yes, when it rains it pours) so Mel's daughter and his sister drove down on Tuesday. My brother and I were planning to stagger our visits so mom had someone with her at all times. I couldn't spend too much time because of the kids and gab's work schedule.
On Wednesday the phone rang at about 3:30 am. Before I picked up, I just prayed "don't say it, don't say it, don't say it". It was my mom and she was crying and she choked out "Grandma Blanche just died". So, Mel's mother passed away and he never even knew it. I hate to say it but I was relieved. I thought, whatever energy or strength she had left (she was 93) she would float down there and give it to him. Her services were on Friday, September 11th.