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Once upon a time a gal named Liza grew up on a farm and was popular in school. Her zany sense of humor and caring ways endeared her to many and assured her of a constant date for her girfriends and their latest crushes. Everyboy adores someone who will listen forver with no expectations. Her smartass father was very distant...the perfect match for a southern deb and good girl wife-for-life. There was a huge elephant in the room that nobody talked about..him. WH never had a real job as long as his 36 years lasted. He drank and drugged and generally bilked everybody out of the last dime that his Dad had worked hard to earn.

There was huge money invested in real estate and it was squandered bit by bit over a 10 year period. The old man would've wanted his bride to travel like she did. Geral loved every minute of it...and he smiled at that. WH didn't handle his father's death well. He escaped to pills and alcohol to stay young and irresponsible in his pain. Liza stayed with him as he died and acted as a go-between with the scattered family. Whaddya do? Sheesh. You work there.

Geral lived in a retirement home the last years of her life. We all still pampered her gathered around but we grumbled a lot about it.

The funeral was in October and her little cousins looked sadder than sad. Cool winds whipped funeral clothes around the legs of those who didn't want to be there but felt obligated. The little blonde girls just stood there in the cold wondering what the hell happened that they got so damn lucky. Just like the rest of us.
Geral gave up the ghost right then and there. She had always been pampered by Papa and his death at age 45 was Liza's first dose of reality. Twenty years later duty came around again.

Her grandma had surgery for colon cancer and Liza was the go-to girl. The procedure was high risk for an overweight woman of 83, and she temporarily took up camp over at the nursing home for recovery. Her girls all hovered and were there when time came to haul her back across the way for an x-ray in the pouring rain. What a load to be hauling across the pavement in a wheelchair! A few days later the fever started.

The next surgery came on a weekday..emergency. Lifeless in her bed at the home Geral struggled with the pain of developing peritonitis for a week before it became a evident that help was needed. The partner of Geral's surgeon took over as Jim departed for a much needed vacation with his wild bunch of women...5 in the house and just one guy ;) As Liza watched, her co-workers came to take her grandma away for the last time. She never forgot the waves and smiles on Geral's face that day. She saw her stillborn daughter and her long lost love and she was happy to be joining them on the other side of sorrow and disappointment.

Liza spent that weekend in the waiting room of the ICU. There had been a big altercation over ventilator use and Liza's mom had stood up like a trooper and said "No more". Shortly thereafter, the surgeon du jour gave Narcan to reverse the respiratory depressive effects of the morphine. His perfect mortality stats couldn't take the hit. A student nurse called to tell the grandkid what was up. "If it was my grandma, I'd wanna know" she said. Liza walked the familiar halls to the intensive care unit.

What she found was a screaming old woman who writhed in pain. The belly was laced up loosely so that the poisons could seep slowly out of the ancient body. Heat coursed through her veins and she exploded. Her first thought was to call the chaplain. He knew her well enough to know that overraction was not her MO, and after all we can't have a scene now, can we? Another doc was called in who did his thing with the less invasive Bi-Pap. Trickle down through the cover thy ass mentality of doctoring.

That was Liza's first hospice experience. Her beloved grandma who couldn't cook worth a crap and promised her a trip to Europe that never materialized. 'Sokay though. She always loved her best.

For Kim

Keep the faith. ^j^
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