there’s no place like home

This is going to be depressing. But, then again, it is the holidays and I am in BTown, so these things should be expected. After all, I’m nothing if not consistent.

My aunt and cousin are up from Oklahoma. Which is pretty cool, really: I haven’t seen either of them in a couple of years (when my aunt’s mum died; not the best of circumstances) and we’ve been having some pretty good times (those times include almost dying in the car with my grandfather last night). But the holidays have this tendency to always suck in the Palm household, and I knew it was only a matter of time.

And that time was…today.

This week (I think), my grandma came down with cellulitis. For those of you who don’t know what cellulitis is, here is the Wikipedia article on it. Basically, it’s like you’ve got strep throat in your legs. Really nasty, kind of contagious, hard to get rid of. And…my grandma has it. This is the same woman who has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t understand that, no, she can’t take care of herself anymore because she cannot, in fact, remember to put on clean clothes.

So they went to the doctor on Monday (my grandpa talked the doctor out of putting Grandma in the hospital. That went over like a turd in a punch bowl), and things were pretty bad (which you’ve probably gathered). They gave her some oral antibiotics and she was looking a lot better on Tuesday and Wednesday: enough so that the doctor said she was okay to put off another appointment until tomorrow. But when we got done eating dinner today and Grandma was heading to chill in the play room for a while, my da took a look at her legs and there was some pretty serious seeping coming from her leg. So I called a friend of ours who’s a PA to see if she could come look at it because I’m a really good granddaughter and I don’t want my grandmother to die. I’m just nice like that. Well, she agreed to come over as soon as they were done with dinner, so we sat down with Christmas presents and Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium and waited for her to get here.

There’s another story involved in here about my aunt giving Grandpa Glenn Beck’s new book and the political debate that resulted, but that’s a story for another time.

So Marilyn comes over here and I got to see my fake kid sister, Haley, and that was pretty cool, until Marilyn started to look at Grandma. Long story short, her cellulitis is still localised and the fact that she doesn’t have a fever or feel sick is a really good thing. The bad news is that Grandma has to keep her leg up until the cellulitis clears up, which could take…a month. Or more. Long time.

It was at that point in time that Grandma started pouting. And demanding that she has to go to work. She hasn’t been to work in about fifteen years because she is, in fact, retired. And over eighty. And, you know, dying of Alzheimer’s. But, whatever, maybe she still works somewhere; no doubt a magical, imaginary place.

Now everyone was handling this very well (especially my fake kid sister, Haley, who has never really met my grandparents before), but Grandma wasn’t taking it laying down and started to throw a little bit of a temper tantrum and demanding to know who called ‘that woman’. Grandpa, in an uncharacteristic moment of charity, told Grandma that Mum called her and, thus, I didn’t get blamed for the demon lady telling her that she can’t do laundry anymore.

Well, Marilyn and Haley go to leave and J, my parents, and I walk them out (we wanted to make sure there wasn’t anything else she didn’t tell Grandpa about), and Grandma’s tantrum comes to a peak and she demands that she must go home. From what my cousin told me, Grandpa went to help her up and Grandma punched him. As they were heading for the door, my brother went to give Grandma a hug and she almost slugged him, too. Grandma hasn’t hit Grandpa in a long time. For a while there, before she was put on anti-depressants, she would hit him, throw things at him, swear at him all the time. It was really bad. But it’s been at least five months since a bonafide Grandma-tantrum. Of course, we missed the worst of it because that didn’t happen until they got to the car. But it was still pretty intense.

I’ve been texting with Randy all day: he’s at home for the holiday. He said something a little while ago that really hit home with me: There always comes that time when you remember how horrible it can be to be home. That’s how I’m feeling right now.

I cannot wait to get back to Southern Illinois.


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