When it comes to imagining the worst, I'm usually pretty darned able to come up with any and all variants of what might have gone wrong, so usually I'm prepared for whatever. I was not prepared to see Grandpa in this state. Sure, I remember when Grandma went through chemo, but it took much longer to hit her. He's only had one dose and already he's looking frail, and feeling nauseous, and pulling out hair in clumps without even trying.
There is a painfully obvious difference between how he appears in our wedding pictures and now. I'm definitely going to get some family photos now and I'm going to try to come back before October. I want to see him as much as possible. Sure, my other grandfather seemed to be much worse ans held on for some six years, but looking at Grandpa now I get this really bad feeling. Mind, none of my premonitions have ever come true, but I'd rather put Murphy to work on this case and have Grandpa live for many pocketbook-draining years. The fact that there's a fare sale going on through October or November is certainly not hurting the argument in favor of visiting more often.
I took a walk with Mom tonight. It's much cooler here, so the early hour wasn't as painful. Unfortunately I could only do one round since I didn't bring my walking sneakers with, but at least it was definitely over a mile. There are noticeably fewer bugs here, and none of them reach the nuclear mutant size found down south. Mom and I also wore reflective vests, but we were walking on the street instead of on sidewalks as I do. Mom walks faster than I do when walking alone, but I kept up just fine. I'll have to see if I can find a way to keep my pace up when I get back to NC -- at least once it cools down a little.
Tomorrow we're going to visit my uncle and very pregnant aunt. It's been weird seeing the change between when they only had their Australian Shepherds and the last time I visited. They've gone from childless and loving it to having the time of their lives getting ready for their son to arrive. I wish all children were born under my future cousin's circumstances -- wanted and loved with absolutely no reservations, at least that the parents are showing. It should also be fun seeing Gerry (he says I make him feel old when I use the title "uncle") and Uncle Rich together. Separately they've very funny guys, but when they play off of each other (and Mom), it's easy to laugh so hard that it hurts.
Sunday should be quieter, with Grandma Shad and Grandpa and Mary coming over for appendicitis casserole (mom was so curious about it after reading my journal entry about that episode that she's been dying to try it this whole trip. I hope she likes it). It's going to be hard seeing Grandma again; she was far more frail than I wanted to admit to last time. On the other hand it will be good seeing her. When we were growing up we spent tons of time with Grandma and Grandpa Pilny, but the Shads were more distant -- people we saw on holidays or for family reunions. I don't love Grandma Shad any less for that, and I'm glad we're getting to spend time together now. I wish it could be more time.
I definitely plan on getting pictures tomorrow and Sunday, though I probably won't be able to post them (if I decide to) until I get home. Some other time I'll write up about the koledy adventure, but for now I'll just note that Uncle Rich really outdid himself. The CD has a picture of Grandma Pilny when she was much younger and an "in memory of" with the dates of her birth and death -- both things I'd never wanted to ask about, but really wanted to know. So, in my own overly-wordy way, I've pretty much said the same thing as I did in the beginning -- it's been a bittersweet trip so far.
I miss Andy a lot, but in a way I'm glad he's not here. He'd feel the need to be strong for me on top of everything he has to deal with right now. By the time I get home I should be dealing with this a little better, and hopefully it won't put any more pressure on Andy. I miss Foo and Widget, too. It's hard having Noia, who looks so much like Gail, here. I think I'd almost be willing to scoop her up and give her a big hug anyway if she didn't whap me every time I get close, even when I pointedly ignore her. I'm glad she's declawed or I'd probably look like I'd had a bad experience with a mustache-twirling villain, some rope, and a sawmill.