My grandpa is dying. That may seem a rather abrupt beginning to what is normally a pretty cheerful blog, but see, we've gotten used to it. After all, he's been a professional die-er for almost two years now. I personally think he's going for the coveted Longest Running Hospice Patient award.
He got his first terminal diagnosis when the heart specialist told him that with a heart like his, he should already be dead. He'd had one or more silent heart attacks in years past and almost all of his heart tissue was non-functional. He was given 6 months to live.
A year later he was given his second terminal diagnosis. Not only did he have heart that was barely pumping enough oxygenated blood to sustain life, now he had a blood cancer that was making his blood unable to carry a full load of oxygen. This time the doctor guessed about 3 months. Silly doctors! They need to quit predicting, 'cause he ain't listening.
So Grandpa remains in Hospice care, getting just enough worse each re-certification to allow him to continue in their excellent program. And we get to have our Grandpa stick around for, well, who knows?
Thus it was that this past Saturday we celebrated his 97th birthday. Thankfully, it was a very good day for him. Some days he's very tired and under the weather, sleeping all day. But this was one of his lively days, and he so enjoyed all the cards and birthday calls that he received.
I baked him a double layer lemon cake with lemon filling. It was pretty tasty; I forced myself to have a piece even though I had a touch of a cold. He has to be fed because most days feeding himself is too much effort for his oxygen-starved body. It was hard to get a picture of him with his cake because every time my mom put it in front of him, he opened his mouth, trying to get a bite. I guess he liked it, but eventually we got him to smile for a photo.
He couldn't always remember that it was his birthday, so he got a little suspicious of the whole group of us standing around grinning at him and taking his picture. We had to keep reminding him there was a reason for our odd behavior.
It was a good day for us, too, because he was much more like his old self. And his old self was a delightful, brilliant, funny man who loved his family and loved his God. I hope I can leave even a fraction of the legacy that he will leave. Whenever he's finished toying with the medical professionals, that is.