On Sunday evening, my 97-year-old bubbe was admitted to Sunnybrook hospital. The diagnosis was pneumonia. I had been worried about her since the previous week, when she complained about a cold that just kept hanging on. She had become very short of breath.
Well, what can you do? People, even great ones like my bubbe, can't live forever. I prepared myself for the worst. But amazingly, she appears to be pulling through.
Medically, it's a bit complicated. She may not have pneumonia, or if she does it's compounded by fluid build-up around her lungs from congestive heart failure. At any rate, they managed to get some of that fluid out of her, and it's done her a world of good.
Ken and I visited her yesterday. She didn't look as bad as I'd feared. Shortly after we arrived, her dinner tray was delivered. With great effort (she's still in a weakened condition) she sat up in bed, but once she was comfortably propped up on pillows she ate willingly, with an appetite. Her conversation was lively. Her eyes twinkled and she made the nurses laugh with her stand-up-style one-liners. (As the nurse adjusted her nasal cannula, which loops over one's ears, she remarked "See? Even without my hearing aids in my ears are good for something.") We're told that, with adjustments to her medication, she should be able to go home soon.
However, in her inimitable way, she told us that she was/is quite determined to die, like, now. She said that she's happy with the life she's had, and that this is "a good time to go". I know that she doesn't want to end up in a vegetative state. She probably thought that this health crisis would be a convenient way to avoid that. And given her iron will, I wouldn't be altogether surprised if she lay herself down and gave up the ghost by sheer willpower.
On the other hand, it's a little difficult to take her plans seriously when she's asking us to wrap up the extra cookie from her dinner, for later. Also, keep that grape juice in the little sealed cup. She might want it. Because she will be very much alive, I expect, and peckish for a snack, before she gets on her computer to continue dominating me at online Scrabble.