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another trip home


Angi kept telling me, "If it was just a feeling, I don't think you would be fighting it so much." I knew in my heart that she was right. If I didn't know then, I know now.




Friday morning I called all my professors and made arrangements to take my work home. I called the travel agency to get a ticket. I had already determined that Southwest Airlines would be the cheapest and only option for me. I simply could not afford any other.



"They said all the flights are full," said the lady who was helping me. "But here's the toll-free number. You can try yourself if you want." So I did.



After a few minutes of saying, "That one's full," the lady asked if I was with a travel agency.



"No, I am the passenger," I said. I explained that I really had a transportation problem on the week days and it would be better if I could get out on the weekend.



"Well, we can get you on the 9:00 flight tonight," she finally said.



The first part of the trip (to St. Louis) was not very full. The second part (to Houston) was so full that someone came on and asked if anyone wanted to give up his/her seat, first for $100.00 and the face value of the ticket plus the trip in the morning and then for $200.00 plus the face value and the trip in the morning. Finally we left. I consider it a miracle that I even got on the flight, and I know it was the right thing to do. Otherwise I don't think I would have gotten the ticket in the first place.



Thursday night, according to my family, was a hard night for Granny. She was tormented by thoughts of murder. A little girl from church was murdered; my aunt's turn was next ... She told some visitors yesterday that "They're trying to kill me." When Mom told her I was coming home, she asked if I was going to kill her, too.



"It's not her," Mom and Cheryl told me. "It's the pressure on the brain doing this. Don't take it personally."



Well, no, I wouldn't take it personally. I just don't like to watch, so I hoped they didn't mind if I happened to cry about that.



Last night she started having pain. She also didn't know who Mom was. Today she hasn't been talking. She's been moaning, and sometimes, she says, "Ooooooh, God!"



I went to see her at 9:30. Around 11:00, everyone left me alone with her for a few minutes to talk to her. No one can tell if she is asleep because she doesn't open her eyes much. But Donna and Gramps urged me to talk to her. "Even people who are in comas can sometimes hear you." So they went out in the hall.



"Granny, I've been praying for you," I said.



She took a breath and moaned a little.



"Cheryl told me about your experience the other night, and I want you to know that I believe you."



Another breath and moan.



"Granny, I love you," I said.



Another breath and moan, and a wiggle in bed.



Granny wrote in her file that it bothered her to see people treated like "a nonperson." Most of today people have been talking over her as if she doesn't exist. I am furious! So she can't do anything but lay there and moan. So what? Maybe that doesn't mean she can't understand anything. For long enough now it's been apparent that what she's thinking and feeling isn't necessarily what's coming out of her mouth. So how can we know what she thinks and knows?



Earlier this morning I told Mom, "I wish I could give her a hug!" I am afraid she is in too much pain. Through my tears, I said, "I wish I knew what I was doing here. I know I did the right thing. I just don't know why."



I think Granny is receiving a lot more information than we think. Some of those moans are not pain. I know that. I know she is awake, and I honestly believe it's her attempt to respond to us.



I wish I knew what she was thinking. The closest I can come to imagining what it's like is to remember what it was like waking up from anesthesia in December. I heard the male nurse talking to the female nurse saying he was going to Hawaii next week. I wanted to say, "That sounds fun." But all I could do was lay there. I just didn't have the strength. Then he said, "Can you hear me?" Patted my hand. "Can you squeeze my hand?"



I tried. "Are you awake?"



I became aware that my mouth was dry. I finally said, "Water--"



"I'm going to put some chips of ice in your mouth."



YUCK!!! I thought. I want REAL WATER! But I was too sleepy. Too weak.



I don't know if that's how it is for Granny. But I don't know if that's how it isn't. She deserves the benefit of the doubt.


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Sarah Blake LaRose
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