Of the folks that arrived on Wednesday were my mom, dad, and grandmother. I think I mentioned one other time that my grandmother has not left her home state of Pennsylvania in decades. To say that she was a nervous wreck was an understatement. She’s 87, and while she has a few elderly ailments, she’s in pretty good health and her mind is still very sharp. But she was shaking uncontrollably, which we assumed was nerves about being away from home.
On Thursday morning, before I left our house to go to the hotel and venue, my mom asked me to bring a thermometer. My mom had called my grandmother’s doctor about the shaking and the doctor said that maybe she had a fever.
I decided to go to the venue first and have my parents meet me there. My grandmother was almost unrecognizable. Her knees were buckling as she walked, she looked gray and ashen, and she was talking kind of funny. She took her temperature. 103 degrees! For an elderly person, that is extremely dangerous. She refused to go to the doctor. There was an urgent care facility not far from the hotel, but she wouldn’t go. So finally, I started scream at her. “GO TO THE DOCTOR. DO YOU THINK I WANT SOMETHING TO HAPPEN TO YOU ON MY WEDDING DAY!?!?!”
After some additional coaxing, she agreed, but said she had to go to the bathroom first. While in the bathroom, she fell. She wasn’t making any sense as she talked. I called 911 right away from the wedding venue. They told us to make her as cool as possible since her fever was so high, so we took off her jacket and put cold bottles of water on her neck.
The ambulance arrived not long after we called 911. She was refusing to go to the hospital. I never knew this, but apparently if someone refuses to go to the hospital, the EMS can’t take them. Once I found this out, I said, “What my grandmother wants doesn’t matter. My mother has full power of attorney and will make the decision for her.” (I later found out that this is also not always entirely the case that a power of attorney can force someone into the hospital).
The EMS personnel were great and convinced her to go. My mom and dad followed the ambulance to the hospital. They were at the hospital all day, and even missed our rehearsal.
Doctors learned that my grandmother had a urinary tract infection, which they said can cause a lot of trouble for elderly people. After a few additional tests, doctors said that my grandmother was a “heart attack waiting to happen” and recommended that she be admitted. My grandmother was apparently sounding better after getting treatment at the hospital.
Here’s the part where I get furious with my family. THEY CHECK HER OUT OF THE HOSPITAL. Now, I don’t want to sound cold hearted. But I would have been LESS worried about my grandmother if she was in the hospital on my wedding day, than if she was at the wedding or at the hotel by herself and worrying that we were going to have keep a close eye on her. I begged my family to let her stay in the hospital. But they thought it would be best to just leave first thing Saturday morning after the wedding, and take her back to Pittsburgh to her own doctors and hospitals that are closer.
But, by about 8PM, my grandmother and parents were back at the hotel. My parents missed our rehearsal ceremony and rehearsal dinner. Not to toot my own horn, but I was a real trooper. I wore jeans, a Semester at Sea t-shirt, and a black windbreaker as my rehearsal dinner attire. My wedding dress stayed in the back of the car all night because I never made it to the hotel (my original plan after I spent some time at the venue
All our other guests and family left shortly after the rehearsal dinner, which was good because Ken and I needed to wrap up some last minute projects. We finally left the venue and got checked into the hotel right around 11:45PM. We were exhausted!!
We were laying down and probably just about to doze off just before 1AM, when there was a frantic knock on our door. It was my dad. My grandmother had fallen in their hotel room and they needed help to pick her up.
I had a few emotional reactions which all happened in rapid succession.
1) Oh goodness, she fell!
2) Wait, we can’t help her up, we might hurt her even more or hurt ourselves. Did you call 911?
3) Why did you come all the way down here to tell me instead of just calling? (they were 2 floors up)
4) Then, silent anger over the fact that they had checked her out of the hospital a few hours earlier.
We went up to their room, and my grandmother was on the floor. 911 had told my sister not to let her get up. She was weak, and she had messed herself. After a lot of convincing, EMS took her to the hospital around 1:30AM. For the second time that day. I was furious with my family, and I was very open about it. There was a lot of crying and a lot of emotion.
I had my selfish moment. I told my mom and dad, “I NEED you at the wedding tomorrow. I NEED you to be there at 3PM when I walk down the aisle.”
My mom and sister followed the ambulance to the hospital and my dad stayed behind so that he could get some rest. But he moved to my sister’s hotel room because their room smelled really bad after my grandmother’s accident.
It’s 6:18AM on my wedding day, and I slept for maybe 90 minutes. Some worry, some anger, mostly nerves and excitement. Surprisingly, I’m not tired. I’m going to shower in a bit, get things ready for the day, paint my nails, and then the hair stylist arrives at 9:45AM to start doing hair.
Ken just left for the venue to get last minute things set up he has to do. He’ll be back this direction around 9AM to get a professional shave and to take a shower. I hope he doesn’t run late!