Sunday, July 06, 2014

Fall of Grandma I : Dowager Dips

Though a Chinaman like me might not be overly demonstrative at times, I do care for my grandmother. Home visits might be increasingly few and getting rarer but each time I desperately scramble my way home, I usually spend most of my time having long drawn-out conversations with her over a pot of green tea. Unlike most of my more staid, reserved cousins, I'm quite the irreverent eccentric which amuses her to no end.

Since despite her traditional Chinese upbringing, she is far from conventional.

So you can imagine my distinct horror when I received news on the family grapevine of her great big fall this morning.

Cousin : Grandma fell. 
Paul : What?!
Cousin : Grandma fell. 
Paul : You're just repeating. How? Was she having a stroke? Did she break anything? Did she suffer a concussion? How is she? 
Cousin : Don't know wor. Only know she fell. 

And that was all we had to tide us over for the next half hour. Nothing like leaving me teetering with the suspenseful intelligence that my fragile nonagenarian grandmother, no doubt wildly osteoporotic, had taken a precipitous tumble. With my morbid disposition, I wondered tragically whether I had to get my blacks ready.

Of course that little precious drop of information only served to bring on an entire deluge of questions from the rest of my extended family. Like an overwhelming tsunami of disquietude, the increasingly hysterical chatter on our family messageboard threatened to drown out any sort of levelheaded inquest. Yes, big families do have a tendency to overreact to the smallest things.

Intern : Oh, that crazy family is back.
Paul : Unfortunately yes.
Intern : They are so damned fussy and opinionated!
Paul : I know. They're my family. 

Intern : Oh I'm sorry!
Paul : Why? Not like it isn't true. 

Very soon, it seemed like half the family was flying in to provide support and succor for the suffering invalid - who it turns out had snapped her femur after a lamentable stumble in the toilet. True, it's definitely more than just a minor cataract surgery but it's still manageable. Nothing a few metallic screws, bags of opioids and some much-needed rest wouldn't fix.

Paul : Ouch. But she should be fine after the surgery. 
Cousin : She almost died!
Paul : No, she didn't. 
Cousin : She can still die!
Paul : Not because of the surgery. Not unless something wildly improbable happens. 
Cousin : She can still die!
Paul : Of old age, yes. 
Cousin : We should all get together to pray and chant!
Paul : OMG. 

Such a sudden fit of hysterics from visiting relatives in the hospital hallways usually inspires an irresistible urge to hand out patented Slaps of Sobriety on my part. No doubt some of my distressed aunts are now setting up candlelight vigils to pray for my grandmother's supposedly 'ailing' health. Times like these, I fear some of my overly concerned relatives are turning into one of those horrifically finicky families that ward nurses try their best to avoid during the hospital stay.

While all this was happening, I gave a call to my grandmother who assured me that she was doing fine, all the while watching the increasingly panicky drama unfold around her. Even intravenous morphine failed to sedate her with all the familial chaos around her. Well, at least this time she isn't crying wolf


Tempus said...

Oh, when the huge family strikes.

Totally can relate to that!

savante said...

That's why we always warm medical practitioners against staying close to large families! Hahaha....

Anonymous Esq. said...

Oh yeah, big families. On one end of the spectrum, you have A Big Fat Greek Wedding scenario, and on the other you have a case of primeval chaos. I can relate to this too.

Maybe the next time (whilst holding a splint of wood in your pocket, you know, touch wood), you can say 'Yeah, she might kick the bucket, and if that happens, then there really isn't much we can do, right? (raise eyebrow with staid face) Just make sure everything runs smoothly.' And then put on that poker face again.