If you've forgotten or haven't heard the backstory, the short version is that he broke his neck last year, a condition that went unnoticed until October, when he underwent surgery and was placed in a halo in order to keep his head immobile while the bones fused. The picture above was taken when he first got the halo put in. It was notable for being the first time that he laughed since the whole hospital ordeal started. Most of the past few months he had spent in a physical rehabilitation center, but he was sent home a few weeks ago.
You see, the problem that my grandfather was having with the halo was that it was coming out. And the thing was bolted into his skull. Something dislodged it; my grandfather had no idea how that happened. They ended up taking the halo off and giving him a constricting neck brace.
Now, my grandfather had no physical problems to imply that the broken bones were doing anything to his spine - which was what he was wearing the halo to prevent - but he was taken by the ambulance to Booth Memorial, and his surgeon wanted him taken to North Shore (and I'll be frank, none of us really wanted him at Booth... the hospital is okay if you don't mind occasionally slipping on the odd organ lying on the floor). That meant that he had to be transferred, but Booth couldn't let him go without doing a battery of tests on him first so that they can get some money out of the insurance company.
Then there was the car situation. My grandmother had driven behind the ambulance, so she had her car. My mother had hers as well. I didn't have mine because I came straight from work. Zach needs to go to school tomorrow, but my grandmother couldn't be left alone to deal with the move because she freaks out too easily. So while my mother stayed with my grandmother, I took my mother's car to take Zach home and by the time I was heading back, they had moved my grandfather from Booth to North Shore.
There they put him through a bunch of tests to see what was going on in his neck, and they found that the bones were fusing nicely and undisturbed. The halo's movement didn't disturb his healing. In fact, at the moment they're not sure whether they're going to bother putting the halo back in at all. I know that he is hoping that they won't (it's not just a metal cage around your head, it's also a plastic body cast, and it can't get wet... so no bathing) but I think they're going to be cautious and put it back on him. We'll find out tomorrow (read: later today). He is so happy to be out of it that I would hate to have those hopes dashed.
So... a lot of sound and fury, a big scare, but ultimately he's okay.
However, this morning I found Dan had sent out an e-mail:
John's mom was hospitalized a few days ago, and as it stands now, they think this might be the end.
If you get a chance, you might want to call him. I think he'd really appreciate it.
That feels weird. I was never particularly close to Mrs. Neder, but I've been to her house, eaten her food and scraped both of her sons off the floor more times than I would care to admit. And there was a time when both John and Charlie were very close friends of mine.
Shortly after I got to the hospital, Dan texted me:
Well, I just got word. They're pulling the plug.
I really couldn't deal with any of that at the time because of everything that was happening with my family, but I can't help but feel that while I'm relieved that my grandfather is okay, I do feel some guilt about all this commotion surrounding my grandfather was ultimately unneccesary. Don't get me wrong, this wasn't a trivial event, we were worried about paralysis. But while this was an upset for us, it is nothing compared to what the Neders are going through right now.
We say that the hour of death cannot be forecast, but when we say this we imagine that hour as placed in an obscure and distant future. It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon, this afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance.~ Marcel Proust
When we grieve, are we crying on behalf of the person who has died, or for ourselves for what we have lost?