Pop Goes the Nana

“I’m not having a heart attack,” I said. But no one listened.

Things move fast when you show up at emergency complaining of chest pain and trouble breathing. So many people checked me out, poking and slapping wires and sticky pads all over the place, that I felt like a cookie crumb at an ant picnic.

 I’d told them they could rule out heart attack, right from the start, when the triage nurse asked what I’d been doing when the pain started.

 “I was rolling down a hill, and I heard a pop,” I said.

 She hesitated, but wrote it down. I don’t recall her asking WHY I was rolling down the hill. And I was so focused on getting a breath, that I didn’t think to tell her I’d spent the morning with my grandbeans, at the playground with the bungalow-high hill plunk in the middle—the perfect rolling hill.

 I heard the POP deep in my chest, about three rotations down. I remember thinking that it wasn’t a good sound, that perhaps I should have left the rolling-down-the-hill-part to the little ones.

 Much later, after all that testing proved me right, the X-Ray technician studied my chart. “Rolling down the hill,” he said slowly, adding almost hesitantly, “Um…and were you alone at the time?”

 Suddenly I realized I’d just upped the ante for oddball admissions. No wonder so many staff had checked me out.

 Some of them may have also checked out my friend a few months earlier. Another Nana who forgot her age—a slight bout of amnesia that resulted in a complicated collarbone break during an afternoon of tobogganing with her own grandchildren. She needed surgery, and the kind that involves steel plates for repair.

 Almost every grandparent I know is crazy about their grandkids. Crazy enough to become fools on the hill. Crazy enough to attempt things a tad too ambitious. As a grandparenting friend says, “My mind keeps writing cheques my body can’t cash.”

 I pray that when I leave my Beans, their memories will be salted liberally with faith and love. Love for them, love for Jesus, and faith that made a difference. As do my children, those kids have my heart. They always will. Even if they decide to sing,“Pop goes the Nana,” at my funeral.

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