Doing Well, But Far Away

Grandma and Yeye had been traveling in Eastern Europe for a few weeks. They were due to come home on Friday, but sometimes life does not go according to plan.

On the last day of their trip, Grandma got up at 4:30 am to get ready for the ride to the airport in Budapest and proceeded to have one of the worst days of her life. Yeye was not feeling well. He was really really really not feeling well. He had terrible pain in his chest and he knew, instinctively, that he could not go to the airport. The tour director called an ambulance. The initial EKG was clear, and the suggestion was made that perhaps he had heartburn? But, no. Yeye knew this was serious. They headed to the hospital.

Yeye was right. He was having a heart attack. A piece of plaque from his artery had broken free and lodged itself inside the artery, cutting off blood flow. The doctor, a man trained in Kansas and (thankfully) fluent in English, cleared out the blockage and placed a stint in the artery.

Without anesthesia.

Once the operation was done, Yeye felt  a whole lot better. But the ordeal had taken hours and Grandma was absolutely exhausted. Once back at the hotel, she called Margaret on skype to tell her the news, and that they would not be coming home for at least several days. Margaret called us, now Friday afternoon our time, but midnight in Budapest, and I called Steven at work (a phone call neither one of us would like to have to repeat).

The good news is that Yeye is doing really well and he should recover fully in a few days. They have trip insurance, which is covering the costs of hospital and hotel stay, and will cover the cost to change flights home. Grand Yau yau was on the trip, too, so she is able to stay with Grandma for moral support.

The bad news is that they are there and we are here. Grandma is handling it all with her usual good grace and humor, but it is hard for Steven and Margaret to be so far away from their parents.

And Budapest is not America. The hospital, which is a well-regarded one, does not provide towels. Or soap. Or utensils for eating. Or fresh fruit or vegetables. There is no phone or TV in the room. Grandma is getting really good at navigating the subway system, but it’s an hour-long ride from the hotel to the hospital. And this is the “May Day” celebration weekend from the old Soviet era. Everything is closed.

We are hopeful Yeye will be released in a day or two, but then insurance has to clear him to travel. Skype has been a life-savor. We get to see Grandma in our afternoon (her evening) for updates and virtual hugs and kisses. It makes the whole thing a bit less stressful for everyone.

When they do get home, we will greet them with real hugs and kisses, some bananas, a bunch of grapes, maybe a salad…and a bottle of wine. Possibly two. They are going to need to unwind after their latest adventure.



May 1, 2012. family.

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