Saturday, July 16, 2005

July 16, 1988

It wasn't until Saturday morning that the doctor came to see my grandfather. Dr. S was waiting for test results. My grandfather's fever had gone down but the thrush had become much worse so now he had that odd tasting medicine to swish around in his mouth.

I don't remember all the test results obvious but two stood out. Bamps' t-cell counts were extemely low and the pneumonia appeared to be something called PC. Dr. S gave us the full name but PC was just easier to remember, not to mention say. Dr. S didn't have a great bedside manor, so after he left he asked one of the nurses to explain what he said. She said it looked as if he had immune problems, but more tests would be needed.

Later that afternoon a pulmonologist came in. After 60 years of smoking, my grandfather's lungs had been severely damaged. The PC was damaging them even more. Dr. R said that right now, the best thing was to get the pneumonia cleared up and to begin respiratory therapy. Dr. R had seen my grandfather before, when he was operated on in 1985 for the aneurysm. He explained he was afraid that my grandfather had been received tainted blood and been exposed to AIDS. It would certainly explain his symptoms and the test results.

So now, more tests and waiting, until at least Monday. In the meantime, my grandfather asked me to smuggle in some good chocolate ice cream and a Snicker's bar. The stuff the hospital called ice cream just wasn't chocolate enough. (I tried some and it obviously was from some previously unknown species of chocolate plant that tasted like milk of magnesia and chalk mixed with frozen Ovaltine. Well, more chalk...) A day didn't go by without him having his ice cream and Snickers! He was even called the "ice cream man" by kids in the neighborhood who knew if they came by at about 4 pm, he'd share the ice cream with them!

By now all his friends knew he was in the hospital and were coming to visit. The most common complaints I heard though ran something like "gee, you can't see what the girls look like in this getup!" and "what run-over animal did they try to feed you today?"

One of them even smuggled in a double Manhattan in a thermos for him that night, which definitely did not go to waste!

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