www.whyville.net Aug 31, 2008 Weekly Issue

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He was a different person.

My granddad has lived not but two houses away from me since the day I was born. He is and always will be the greatest man I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He's so stubborn it's endearing. When I was little I stayed at his house when my parents went to work and spent most of my young years with my grandparents. My grandfather takes walks daily and loves the outdoors. I got him a walking stick for Christmas one year.

Recently he has been experiencing health problems; almost like an onslaught on his physical and mental abilities. Yesterday he had open-heart surgery. Today I drove to the hospital to see him. I was greeted by my grandmother in the waiting room. I absolutely hate hospitals and for me to just be here was a big step. The waiting room was filled to the brink with people waiting for visiting hours and the drone of the Olympics seemed to be the only sound. My uncle stepped into the room and I jumped up to hug him. I hardly ever see him; only on holidays. Eventually I was led to his room when visiting hours began.

When I walked into the room my heart sank. Yes it was him, but a weaker, angry version of him. My grandmother proceeded to ask him questions and it felt as if time had stopped when she asked with a little laugh, "Are you mad at the world?" His reply, "Just about." I tried to console him by touching his hand. The whole time I was there he had ignored me. This wasn't him. The only thing that was him was the story my grandmother had told me in the waiting room. The nurses asked him what year it was and he said, "2014." He always jokes with the nurses and they thought he was serious. It was a wonderful story showing me that the doctors, in fact had not taken his soul.

I exited to the waiting room and then to the car. The hot sticky air consumed me; emotions ran ramped through my head. Emotions too big for my head spilled out of my ears onto the fine leather upholstery of the dashboard. I was resting my head against the dashboard, not caring that it had been sitting in 100-degree weather and was sending seething pain through my scalp. This is good for him I repeated over and over inside my head. It seemed that they had taken his good-hearted joking self and replaced it with a bitter person mad at the world.

The pressure of the car released when my dad opened the door and got in. It felt as if I was under water; the muffled sounds of his questions made no sense to my handicapped brain. Only one thing made sense, "Granddad says hi." Just the fact that he realized that he hadn't made me feel welcome and then proceeded to correct it had given me hope.

He's getting released from the hospital Monday. I hope that he feels better or is acting more like himself. Last time when he had back surgery he was up and walking before he should have been. He perseveres through everything that he's ever done. He has the strongest will to do well at everything. Even if he ends up being bed ridden and can't take walks with me anymore or doesn't feel up to watching Disney movies he will always be my hero. And my greatest mentor.



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