Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Grandmother (Oma)

I keep forgetting to blog about this. I only learned of it last night (I think) but if things aren't happening to/with me in the here and now, they tend to fade away into that mysterious batch of locations known as "elsewhere."

We'll preface with a general description. My grandparents, forever known to me as Oma & Opa (which are not-uncommon, familiar German terms for grandmother and grandfather), are old. Opa is in the 92-93 range while Oma is a brisk 89-90 or so. (We are generally a long-lived people, at least on my father's side.) Due to their advanced years, health problems are mildly prevalent, ranging from Opa fracturing his hip in a fall to what I consider the average gamut of health issues the elderly often face (e.g., blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.).

But Oma has something a little different. She has some sort of skin cancer.

I don't know whether or not it's malignant or metastasized or what-not, though I don't think so. She has been to see an oncologist so at least she's seeing a specialist. (They live in upper-state NY and I consider health care in their area to be rather iffy.) Thus far, from what I've been told, it's just a series of white bumps. But it's cancer so it's serious and Oma is far from the spring pup she once was.

To some degree this reminds me of what happened with my father. He went in for open heart surgery during my Senior year of college. But since he and my mom were over 4 1/2 hours away, it was happening to someone else in some distant land. I went home a few times but I never appreciated the severity of what was going on, nor how truly dangerous it could be. Even at the end, when I was told, by a friend of my mom over the phone, to rush home with my suit, I didn't grasp what was going on (though to be fair, no one told me until I got to the hospital).

I feel something similar here. I don't know exactly how serious this is. I don't think anyone knows right now. (By the way, the doctors told this to my aunt. Oma, herself, has not been told yet since she really is unable to handle this just yet.) But one reason I'm writing this post is to remind me that it is serious. Even if it is occurring over 200 miles away, it's my grandmother and it's cancer and that's never good.

So, when I go to sleep tonight, I think I shall say a small prayer for her. I know my grandfather would like that (he's very religious) and, I think, I would too.