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Personal Experience

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The polyglot great-grandmother

Language: English
Country: Italy
Typology: health care professionals
After taking some episodes into consideration, I decided to tell the "story" of my grandmother. My grandmother Francesca passed away almost three years ago at ninety-three years old and, up to three years before, she was strong, she had never been ill, she had never been hospitalized before; she suffered from diabetes, but she took it under control through her diet. She never had a rest, not even for a moment: we often said that if something ever happened to her house, she would never run the risk of getting hurt because she was always out. When she went to see my dad, she went up the stairs till the fourth floor and was not even short of breath. Her character was a little bit difficult, it was hard, like that of a commander; it was funny when she started to argue with my aunt and she began to speak her dialect. My children often said their great-grandmother was very good at speaking English, but, in reality, it was the dialect spoken in the area of Bari. But then she slowly began to be affected by lapses of memory together with motor deficits, due to a few episodes of TIA (transient ischemic attack). In a few months, she became less and less self-sufficient, she felt no longer useful either to herself or to her daughter. This decline lasted for more than two years. My aunt always cared for her, by refusing to hospitalize her and putting up with her blow offs. Unfortunately, after she was hospitalized for the placement of a pacemaker, her conditions worsened (she no longer recognized us), until she quietly left us one Sunday morning.

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