Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I guess that some people have a really close relationship with their grandparents. For my siblings and I, we lived far enough that it would take over a day to drive to any of them. The Hennessys were in Sacramento, the Boltons in Idaho and Grandpa McGillis in North Dakota. We only went to North Dakota a few times (one was a quick visit, the other for the town's 100th birthday and the last for Grandpa McGillis' funeral.) For awhile, the Hennessys would come and stay in town on a regular basis but it became a little less regular when Grandpa Hennessy died. Then we had a run of trips to see Grandma there on her birthday instead. Idaho was different, though. Sometimes Grandma and Grandpa Bolton would come here and we'd head there on Thanksgiving (lot of snow there when we'd visit sometimes.) There were a few years where we'd go there for some of our summer vacation. Sometime, I'll have to talk about "working on the farm." You could say that we spent more time with the Boltons than any other family members combined. I would say it is just shy of a decade since they relocated to nearby Boulder City and we haven't spent many holidays or birthdays apart.

I know, you are wondering when I'm getting to the point of all this. You see, Grandpa Bolton was found on the driveway in front of his house yesterday and at this moment lies in a coma in the hospital. I found out about it as I finished working on the newsletter yesterday afternoon, finished working on it, called work to let them know that I wouldn't be there and went to the hospital. Kerry met me there as did my brother, his wife, my aunt, my mom and Grandma. I spread a few hugs and listened to what they'd heard and seen so far. When he was airlifted from Boulder City to Vegas, they believed that his brain had been without oxygen for 5 minutes or more. He broke his nose, damaged his leg and hurt his arm in the fall (which they believed he tried to protect himself before he hit the ground.) It could have been a stroke or caused a stroke. Many are afraid to be too optimistic at this point. However, they also said he was responsive to the people around him and apparently tried to follow some direction. I went in to his room shortly after.

Grandpa served in the Airforce during World War II. Not the glorified fighter pilot-type division... he worked on the planes. They really didn't protect their hearing back then, nor did they have the knowledge about the longterm damage that comes from sustained noise levels. So, oddly enough, my brother and my voice are low enough to be heard clearly by him through his hearing aids. I walked into the room and told him it looked like Romanowski tackled him (he's a Broncos fan.) I felt his hand tighten. I told him that the waiting room was full of his family and named them individually. I could see he tried to move his lips that were around a breathing tube. I then told him that I'll watch after Grandma for a little while but he has to come back to take over the job as they've been through too much together. I made him a promise that when he gets better we'll go see a Broncos/Raiders game but he has to get better first. I stayed for a little while longer and made sure to tell him to relax and recover as we'll be here for him. They had to sedate him a little more after I had left. It made me think that if he is trying to get better, going in and talking to him would only keep him tired, drugged and awake -- which I don't think aids recovery.

I believe that he is going to be alright. I can't give any credible evidence as to why other than his reactions to particular things that I had said. I have faith that his recovery has started and I will be making a call in a moment to get an update. There are a lot of mixed thoughts running through my head at this time but right now, I worry about Grandma. You remember my mentioning my mother having surgery a few days ago? Well, Grandma has been at Mom's house taking care of her since (heck, I think she was also waiting at the hospital for her also.) Grandpa wasn't happy that she wasn't there with him but understood. She even mentioned her call to him that morning where he sounded a little unusual even in ending their conversation saying, "I just missed the sound of your voice." So, she was feeling torn and now a bit shaken and guilty. She shouldn't. As I told Grandma and Grandpa separately yesterday, Hennessys come together in times of need... as do all families.

I'll update this post as we know more and I want to thank you for your thoughts or prayers at this time.

Update: According to doctors, his condition has slightly improved as he 'seems stronger.' Otherwise, there is really no change and still no word on if it was an aneurism, stroke or heart attack.

Latest Update: It is Easter morning and I stopped in to see Grandpa at the hospital. The good news is he woke up. I was given good reports during the last few days. Today I received the clearest description of his condition from a nurse that has been with him for the last 3 days. He had kidney problems a little while back. Right now, his kidneys, heart and lungs are among his problems. He is on life support. His fever has come and gone. They tried to remove him from the breathing tubes but that only raised his blood pressure. In truth, things do not look good as all 3 of the organs that I mentioned earlier are not in good shape.

Even Later Update: Grandpa is awake a little longer. They sedate him every time he gets over-excited. I know that even with a chance of recovery that this will take quite some time. So, I'll add a post if there is any major news. But right now, I believe that he will continue to fight to get better. I also have faith that somone is looking out for him.


LoraLoo said...

I'm saying a little prayer for Grandpa... I hope he is feeling much better soon!

My Dad worked on airplanes his entire Air Force career (including Vietnam), and also suffers hearing damage from not understanding what that was doig to his hearing.

I'm glad you're there to help him know how much everyone is thinking about him. :)

BeckEye said...

Your Grandpa will be in my thoughts.

I've always envied people with grandparents...which is most people! I never really knew any of mine. My grandmother on my mom's side was the only one alive when I was born, and she died when I was 3. It's why I have such a love of old people...I've always wanted that grandparental relationship.

Ken said...

Martin, your Grandpa is in our thoughts and prayers. Glad to hear that he was responsive.

Teri said...

Your grandpa is in my thoughts. Please give us an update as soon as you know. If you need anything I am off this week for spring break.