Sunday, March 19, 2006

Chance (A Contemplative Grandma Update)

Grandma broke her arm yesterday, so we spent some time at the hospital. Given that we usually end up there for thing much more life-threatening, we were actually able to relax and joke a bit. It was just the two of us, since Mom was at work and the other relatives were out of touch. My aunt drove us there, but she and her husband had a date planned, so we told her to go enjoy it.

As we sat in the exam room, it really hit me how chance and fate play in our lives. There were four people shuttled in and out of the exam room next to us in the time we were there: an older woman, a college-aged young man, a middle-aged man and a little girl.

The first, the older woman, was there when we got there. She had a bunch of female family members with her. When the doctor came back and told her that the cancer they'd thought they caught was back and incurable, I'm not sure if she was in shock or just accepting. He said it was treatable, but incurable and wouldn't give her a lifespan. But he was kind and had called for second opinions. I think she was trying to be strong for her daughters, whom I could hear crying and beginning the stages, "But she's never smoked, so why...?" She was admitted.

The second, the college-aged young man, simply had an infected tooth and wanted some antibiotics to hold him over till he could see his dentist. He went home shortly.

The third, the middle-aged man, was nervous. His brother had stolen his prescription and he needed an emergency script to tide him over until his refilled itself on the natural date. He just didn't want to have to file a police report. They took his info, checked it out and gave him a script. He went home.

The fourth, the little girl, arrived pretty much as we were leaving. I don't know what was wrong with her, but she was crying and holding her arm up. Maybe she'd broken it, too. We tried to smile at her on our way out, and I think the mother was a bit gratified by it.

It struck me, though, that we are usually the family sitting on tenterhooks, waiting for some pronouncement from above to tell us that Grandma is going to live just a little longer at a decent mode of living. This one time, it was someone else whose life was devastated by terrible news. Is it petty of me to think of this visit as a good visit? Mean to be able to think positively and realize that there is always a worse diagnosis?

I can only hope that the older woman finds comfort in her obviously loving family and in her faith, if she has one, and that she lives comfortably and happily as long as she is able to. I hope the college kid gets a dentist appointment Monday. I hope the middle-aged man's brother gets treatment for his addictions and stops stealing his brother's meds. And I hope the little girl recovers quckly from whatever happened to her.

As for Grandma, she has a Radial Head Fracture (and you can really see the break on the X-Rays.). We're making an appointment for her with her ortho doc ASAP.

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