Monday, October 18, 2010

45 Minutes of Youth

Gina's great uncle Tony, the girls great-great uncle, has been in the hospital the last few days with, what appears to be, symptoms of vascular dementia setting in. At 91 he's already lost a leg to a botched knee replacement several years ago, but has managed to live on his own with the aid of a hospice and done relatively well considering. Know, unfortunately, his age and tender condition are really starting to show. This has taken a really big toll on Gina's grandmother as he is her older brother and someone she's always looked up to. Now it's her responsibility to take care of him and carry him through from day to day. We decided to take a visit to the hospital yesterday for both Tony and Yiayia's sakes, we thought they could both use a little of the girls energy. What we ended up doing was energizing the whole hospital wing! Yiayia was meeting with the doctor to discuss Tony's options when we got there, and she really needed Gina to sit with her and help her through it - not that she's incapable, but the emotions make it really hard to look at the facts and reality of the situation. That left me and the girls, along with some help from my 10 year old sister in-law Ilianna, to roam the floors until they were done. What was a drab and depressing hospital wing when we arrived quickly became infused with life and laughter as the girls trotted by each room peering in at the occupants and eliciting smiles and "hello's". It's amazing what extreme youth does to extreme age. These patients see people all day long in nurses and doctors and other guests, but they really don't care much about them. Then comes waddling by this new life, this ultimate in youth and suddenly their surroundings melt away and they forget. Maybe it takes them back to their own children and grandchildren. Maybe it takes them back further to their own infancy. Maybe it's simply the purity of someone that young, someone that untainted. It's like all the garbage around you that you wade through for a lifetime suddenly becomes worthwhile when you see the innocence in a baby still learning the basics of walking, still shrieking with excitement over something new to them that is mundane to the rest of us, still full of untainted and unselfish joy. At that point 91 and 1 aren't that different. At that point, for that brief moment, life makes sense. It wasn't lost on us the irony that we were also in the same hospital the girls were born in. Nearly one year to the date we were back where it all began. After we hung out with Tony for a while and gave some big supportive hugs to Yiayia, we made our way out so we could get a nap. As we passed the open doors in the hall we received "goodbyes" and waves from those stuck in beds with tubs running in and out of them. It seemed what little energy was left in them was expended in simple gestures to the girls. Gina was a little puzzled as she was not there for our celebrity parade up and down the hall over and over and over. That afternoon the girls napped longer than they have in weeks, nearly 3 hours. Part of it was the late rise that morning and the lack of an AM nap as a result, but in my heart I think they needed the extra sleep after giving off so much of their life force to those people in the hospital wing. They gave a little bit of their youth to a dozen people who hadn't had any for a long, long time.

1 comment:

  1. That just got me all teary eyed. Those girls are something special, that's for sure. Sending you all lots of love and hugs, I'm so sorry to hear about Tony. My prayers are with all of you :)