Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

Family Emergency. How Bad? Don't Know Yet.

My grandfather has had a stroke. I think it's his third, but my grandparents have had so many strokes at this point, I've literally lost count. The amazing thing is that, so far, they keep bouncing back. As Dan put it, a grandparental stroke every year or so is the new normal.

The appearance of normalcy, of course, is an illusion. Brain injuries are Bad, and we don't know yet how bad this one is. My grandfather's a lucky, lucky man. He was in the ER less than an hour after the first signs this time, so he got to take some fancy blood thinner he otherwise couldn't have, and the idea seems to be that his odds of recovery are good, considering. The family game of telephone had dropped the name of the drug by the time the message got far enough down the phone tree to reach me. The most recent word I have from Rochester is that he's responding to sensory stimuli on the side of his body that's in the injured part's jurisdiction. This sounds less extreme than his first stroke, by far. Four years ago, after the first stroke, the doctors were talking to us about him in the past tense. He must have been a good man, to have twenty relatives keeping vigil at the hospital for him, said the doctors. Yes, we said, he is.

The practical upshot of this news is that my volunteer service at FSG and at Writer's Weekend may be affected if, gods forbid, I have to go to Rochester for last goodbyes or worse.

Right now, the possibilities that are imaginably real to me are: having to cancel my appointments with the five(!) new clients I have first meetings with this coming week, thereby losing a third of my summer client base; having to miss festival, thereby standing up the person who's counting on me to be her right hand during one major ritual, and standing up the person who may need to call on me as backup for three major rituals; having to miss the conference, with the two pitch appointments I have lined up, the many friends I get to see there once a year, and all the help I promised KJ.

Actually losing my grandfather is not imaginably real to me. It's so unreal, I can name it. If I believed it possible, it would be unspeakable.

I thought June would be strenuous. Now, it's strenuous and known to be completely unpredictable.

I hate being the unreliable person in the picture, but that's what I've just become. I take care not to volunteer for more than I'm sure I can do. So much for caution and realism.
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