May 16, 2007

36 Hours

Shit...This is it...I'm going to die...No, I'm not going to die like this...Someone will find me, I'm sure...I survived Guadalcanal so I can certainly survive this...I never made it to Coney Island...I really should have swept this damn floor this morning when I had the chance...I wonder how my book ends...I sold shoes for a living, I should be used to the floor by now...I used to say that I wanted to live until a ripe old age before I died but now that seems somehow shortsighted...If anyone remembers anything about me, I hope it's the photograph I took of the Tetons rising over a still Jackson Lake, so still it was like a mirror with a perfect reflection of the mountains as if nature could put two such miracles next to each other...

My mom's father died when she was 19. Ten years later, my grandmother, Ruth, found George, a relatively unassuming and kind man ten years her junior. I've always been disappointed that I never had the chance to meet my grandfather but George was always there filling that role. He treated my like a grandkid.

George's life hasn't been easy lately. After forty years of sobriety, my grandmother fell off the wagon and landed in a nursing home. After fighting it, she now loves it. But during the battle and the psychosis that followed, she forgot who George was. She remembers now, of course, but those memories are tempered by the knowledge that she treated him horribly during her brief second bout with alcoholism.

On Sunday night, paramedics broke into George's house, finding him lying face down on the floor, felled by a massive stroke. He'd been there for 36 hours yet he survived. He's in the intensive care unit, unable to speak. The prognosis is grim.

Morbid as hell, I realize. I'm not trying to bring the Internet down, but as I think this all through, I feel terrible for George yet I keep coming back to the same question - what did he think about for those 36 hours? What would you think about?

* * * *

On a less depressing and completely, inappropriately unrelated note, did you know that I'm nominated for a couple Blogger's Choice Awards? I've been nominated in the Blog About Stuff and Hottest Daddy Blogger categories. So, if you feel up to it, go vote or something.

Posted by Chris at May 16, 2007 7:06 AM

Wow. I don't know what I'd think about. I imagine it would look a lot like the start of your entry: a little bit of everything via stream of consciousness.

My thoughts and hopes are with George. This is the kind of story you wish never happened to someone you care about. In fact, I'm pretty sure this falls into the top 5 of my worst fears.

*hugs* to you, Chris.

Posted by: Opal at May 16, 2007 8:23 AM

My father died in a tragic accident when I was 2 and I've felt all my life that I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. He was only 25 and I spent my early 20's feeling that would be it for me. Now that I'm mid 40's, I've decided I will live to 110 at least.

But I think during those 36 hours I would be thinking...great...I left the cell phone on the counter!

I'm sorry for his struggles and hope his peace comes to him soon...whatever that may be.

Posted by: daisy at May 16, 2007 8:23 AM

If I had to lie somewhere for 36 hours I guess I would be in too bad shape to think of anything much at all.

My best wishes go out to George and your family...

Posted by: E :) at May 16, 2007 8:26 AM

I'm so sorry to hear that. Thinking of your family.

Posted by: donna at May 16, 2007 8:53 AM

I'm sorry, Chris. Your family is in my prayers...

Posted by: Leah at May 16, 2007 9:14 AM

Sending positive vibes to George.

My thoughts? I would probably think about my dogs. And food. I'm always thinking about food. Especially cheese. :-)

You've never been to Coney Island? If you haven't, then you must go for the Mermaid Parade And don't forget your camera ;-)

Posted by: Maria at May 16, 2007 9:16 AM

Damn. So sorry this happened.

Posted by: Fraulein N at May 16, 2007 9:23 AM

It's been that kind of weekend. My husband's grandmother died Sunday night. My thoughts are with George and he must be one tough guy. I have no idea what I'd think about but I bet it would be much along those lines. Oddly the one that resonated with me was "I should have swept the floor this morning". I may go do that now. :)

Posted by: tulip at May 16, 2007 9:27 AM

I'm so sorry. How awful for him and for you. I hope at least he is painfree.

Posted by: ann adams at May 16, 2007 9:28 AM

I'm so sorry to hear this. Hope all goes well with him and he recovers. My mother passed when I was 3 - she had polio and was in an iron lung, then was getting better and got pneumonia. I often wonder what she thought about those long months of illness and recovery - then to take a bad turn like that. Knowing she had a small child and a husband and a life she'd barely begun to live. I blog in part because of this. I want my children to know me - the whole me, inside and out, and to feel if I died tonight they have pieces of me to hold onto and revisit. You, too, have left many many pieces of yourself for your family to cherish.
Again, I hope all goes well for George. He sounds as though he's a great man.

Posted by: sue at May 16, 2007 9:49 AM

Bless George's heart. I hope something miraculous happens and he recovers. And let's hope that he was not aware that he was lying on the floor for 36 hours, waiting to be found.

I've cast my votes! I hope you win!

Posted by: coolchick at May 16, 2007 10:32 AM

I'm sorry for George. I hope he's feeling better now.

I'll vote for you! So, my guess Beth is nominated for the hottest blogger mom!

Posted by: Nadine at May 16, 2007 10:44 AM

So sorry to hear about George, Chris. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

My gma fell down the stairs when I was 20. She layed there for almost 2 days trying to yell for help. She had broken her hip during the fall, and it wasn't until her sister came over to pick her up for Church. What an awful thing to go through. I hope that I'm never in a situation to think about what I would think about during that time.

Posted by: Molly at May 16, 2007 10:51 AM

A few years ago, a lady I knew had a stroke while babysitting her grandchild. For a week. While the child's parents were in Aruba. She kept trying to get the 6 year old to call 911, but the kiddo didn't understand her and didn't understand what was going on enough to know to call on her own.

It wasn't until the following Monday (she had the stroke on Friday evening) when grandchild wasn't at school and grandma wasn't at work that anyone thought to check on them.

As a result, I've had the chance to ponder your question frequently and I know exactly what I would be thinking:


Posted by: Contrary at May 16, 2007 10:56 AM

I can't imagine what George was thinking about. Just horrible! I feel for him.

Posted by: Kelly at May 16, 2007 10:57 AM

so sorry.. thoughts and prayers with you and yours...

as for what id be thinking...

first i would string together a complicated, creative yet somehow elegant group of curse words...that would end with me somehow damning the fact that that i haven't been to the pyramids.. and then..
i would congradulate myself cause for once..i did the right thing by NOT locking the door...

Posted by: suicide_blond at May 16, 2007 11:05 AM

Well, that is hard to comprehend. I think I would probably think of my family, things I did, things I wish I would have and well...pray.
Yesterday May 15th I found out I am 6 weeks pregnant with MY FIRST CHILD!! We have been "trying and hoping" for a year now...I dont know whether to scream, laugh, cry, throw up or run away at this point. I gotta start blogging..LIKE NOW!!

Posted by: Cheryl at May 16, 2007 11:34 AM

I hope that when it's my time, I go too fast to think... if I have to think, I want it to be about the much younger hot stud I'm with...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family...

Posted by: Karen at May 16, 2007 1:44 PM

Things to think about while lying face down on the floor immobile:
1) Did I turn off the oven?
2) I sure hope the dog isn't hungry.
3) I really wish I hadn't taken that Viagra now!
4) Do I smell smoke?
5) I really should vacuum the carpet more often.
6) How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

Posted by: Jeff A at May 16, 2007 1:44 PM

OMG........Poor George! I bet he was sad :(.. I would be thinking about my little girl and who would be with her!!!

Posted by: 2faced at May 16, 2007 2:00 PM

Awww, man. Hang in there.

I'd like to think that I know what wonderful and soothing things I might pass through my mind; but really, I don't know what I'd think about. Hopefuly something calming. Something that makes me smile. So that if I did die in that moment, I wouldn't have died feeling unhappy.

Posted by: smoness at May 16, 2007 2:22 PM

whenever i hear of people trapped/stuck anywhere for long periods of time i always wonder what they thought about or did to pass the time. i'd probably go insane after more than a few hours.

*hugs* to george and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Posted by: malia at May 16, 2007 2:45 PM

I have absolutely no idea what I'd think about - especially if I was sure that I was going to die... I know what I think about when I "actively" choose to lie around on the floor or the couch or my bed, and those are all very cheery depression-adled thoughts...

My prayers are all on top of George right now. And y'all.

Posted by: A Girl Gone Mad at May 16, 2007 2:54 PM

I'm so sorry, Chris. I'll keep George and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by: Stacy at May 16, 2007 3:06 PM

wow. 40 years. Just goes to show you, you're never really "cured" of this disease of alcoholism. Sad as your family's situation is, it's a valuable lesson to those of us fighting the good fight.

Posted by: kalisah at May 16, 2007 3:36 PM

My heartfelt positive vibes are being sent George's way...

I would hope to gawd that I would pass out and stay that way for those 36 hours. If not, I'd surely go mad or at least think I had. "Is THIS what heaven's like? Well, hell, it looks just like the floor of my house. What'd I do to deserve THIS crap?!?"

Poor George's experience reminds me of how I can't even begin to imagine what goes on inside the head of autistic kids (and adults, too). To know you're alive and experiencing things but to not be able to communicate or get help or whatever? I cannot possibly imagine the frustration. All I can say for George is that he must be a fighter!

Hang in there, my friend!

Posted by: ironic1 at May 16, 2007 7:29 PM

Thirty-six hours is a long time to lay there waiting. My grandmother fell last November, had a stroke and was laying on her kitchen floor for just about 36 hours. When she was found, she was in really bad shape. We nursed her back to health, slowly, over the next 2 weeks, but she passed away just a few days before Christmas. She was just too weak to fight.

I have a healthy fear of death. On a daily basis, I consider that this might just be the last day I have to spend with my kids. So, that is why there is currently a stack of dishes that need to be done and laundry that needs to be folded. We were busy today. Playing, doing puzzles, and chasing each other around like crazy monsters. Because I am pretty sure, that no one dies thinking, "I really wish I spent more time doing chores and working a job I hate."

Posted by: Jen at May 16, 2007 7:41 PM

First, I would think, "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!"

Also, I would probably wish I had fallen closer to a toilet.

Or a phone.

Right now, I am thinking how badly I feel for George, how scary that must have been, and how happy I am that he was found In Time.

And also.

Hotty Blogger! I bet you could totally kick the Hotty Pediatrician's ass. And then Hotty Bank Teller. You handsome, literate Devil.

Posted by: Cartwheels At Midnight at May 16, 2007 7:56 PM

I'm so sorry and I'm saying prayers.

Let me tell you something though and maybe this will help. When I had my car accident and I was trapped and all for close to an hour I was in shock and my brain just didn't focus on much. Your mind wanders. It's odd, but the shock helps you get though it.

Hugs, Chris!

Posted by: Maribeth at May 16, 2007 8:56 PM

Oddly enough, if I were lying anywhere that long, I'd fall asleep. I fell asleep donating blood once, they thought I passed out. Snoring saved me. Once I fell asleep on an airplane and fell across the aisle into some girl's lap. Two hours later I fell asleep behind the benches in the airport waiting for my luggage to arrive.

If that happened to me, I hope I would fall asleep and not have to think about any of it.

Posted by: Jon (was) in Michigan at May 16, 2007 10:12 PM

My husband has a great-uncle who is 90 (or 91 now, I forget). He lives alone and he has very bad diabetes. I think my in-laws, the ones who still go visit the guy and care about him, live in fear of this happening to him. Because it does. He has been known to blackout from low blood sugar or whatever it is, and be out cold for periods of time with no one knowing how long. It's a scary thing to think about.

Keep us updated.

Posted by: Phoenix at May 16, 2007 10:30 PM

My thoughts and prayers are with you and family.

Posted by: JJ at May 16, 2007 11:12 PM

I don't know what he could have been thinking about. I don't know what my mom thought about after the stroke that eventually killed her.

I'm just glad you had George as a grandfather.

Posted by: Alison at May 17, 2007 12:04 AM

That just kills me. That poor man.

My dad died when I was 11 and they found him a day later (my parents were separated), and I too wonder what happened there at the end... how he felt. Of course, my father was vastly different than your grandfather, so my musings are a little different.

Anyway. I'm depressing too.

I hope George (coincidentally, my dad's name as well) is OK. Best wishes.

Posted by: aimee/greeblemonkey at May 17, 2007 12:21 AM

So maybe my last comment wasn't so funny?

Posted by: Jeff A at May 17, 2007 12:46 AM

please send me your button/badge for my father's day blogroll + enter my father's day giveaways. i started them today with a fatboy modern hammock. spread the word :)

Posted by: mod*mom at May 17, 2007 4:52 AM

You've got my vote, Mr. McHottie daddy blogger.

I'm so sorry to hear about George. I can't even fathom what would go through one's mind at a time like that.

Posted by: nila at May 17, 2007 8:28 AM

I'm praying you and your family. Especially George who hopefully finds the peace he deserves.

Posted by: hazelhazel at May 17, 2007 12:56 PM

I'm sorry.

Posted by: Sphincter at May 17, 2007 3:19 PM

Ugh. My Grandfather fell in his driveway last September and laid outside in the rain for more than 8 hours. In Upstate NY rain.

I wonder how often this happens to people. I wish he'd had a cellphone or something, so he could have called. But I can't help but feel guilty that it took so long for someone to find him.

I hope George's hospital stay ends up better than my Grandpa's did.

Posted by: Jenn at May 17, 2007 10:08 PM

I'm sorry to hear about George.

Posted by: suze at May 17, 2007 10:24 PM

I'm so sorry about George. I hope he's going to be ok.

I worry about something like that happening to my mom, who lives alone.

Posted by: bad penguin at May 18, 2007 1:49 PM

I'm so sorry about George. I've been a little MIA this week so I'm just reading this now. I'll be thinking of him.

Posted by: Annie, The Evil Queen at May 18, 2007 2:44 PM

I'm so sorry. I can't imagine being that way for so long.

Posted by: laura at May 18, 2007 4:07 PM

Perhaps, and this is just me being hopeful, his body needed rest to recover during most of this, and he was unconscious? My thoughts are with you all. Massive hugs.

Posted by: alektra at May 20, 2007 9:45 PM

Make your life time easier take the home loans and everything you want.

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