Friday, July 6, 2007

The Amazing Moish

First off, thanks to so many, many of you for your kind emails of concern and sympathy.

My grandfather, Morris Friess, is a remarkable creature. He rebounded from a broken hip at 88 to be able to walk a mile to the pizza parlor in NY six months later. And now at 93, although clearly on his way out, he's making some unusual strides.

When I flew down here, his kidneys were failing and his blood pressure was being artificially inflated by medication that was being administered solely so that he didn't expire while I was in transit. Per his wishes, we've removed all the medication save morphine and we refused dialysis. Yesterday, he was moved to a beautiful hospice center.

And then his kidneys started working again and his blood pressure -- without assistance -- was improving. He's been awake for moments on and off, and while he sleeps he starts bellowing odd phrases like, "Get your foot off my foot!" So it's really unclear what's what, but he does seen more contented in hospice without so many tubes and such.

This has, obviously, been a strange and confusing time for my family. One of my father's two sisters is here with me and we've had a really nice visit, and all this idle time in the hospital/hospice has been strangely eventful in its own Seinfeldian way. And balancing my grandfather's end-of-life decisions with the evidence that his spirit may be broken but his body has the durability of an Energizer bunny has given rise to fear, uncertainty, guilt and, since we're a loud Jewish family from New York, even some humor.

I'll be going over shortly to see how he is and then decide how much longer I ought to remain here. He would be buried in New York besides my grandmother, so I probably would not come back here unless somehow he miraculously lasts many months.

Again, thanks to all of you for the really nice emails. Stay tuned and, if you really, really have some interest, I posted some photos and a message to my relatives who aren't here on a very, very back-dated blog post here.


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