The main thought in my head when I sat down to write this post was the scary story I heard in the aftermath of grandfather's surgery. He went in on Wednesday and came home twenty-four hours later. The procedure itself seemed fairly routine: they made a small incision near his groin and another in his chest, so it was minimally invasive. But here's what shocked me: he was awake for the entire procedure!!! I don't know if it was some fluke, or if this is standard practice in Italian medicine, but this man had heart surgery without the benefit of general anesthesia. He told me, shaking his head like someone who had just witnessed the brutalities of a war, "Dura, Katie, dura." It was rough, Katie. I believe it, man! That's like Civil War medicine. Well, except for the highly sophisticated surgical technique. But really? No general anesthesia?! I almost wouldn't believe it, except for how worn out he looked when he returned home. Also lending credence to his tale is an blog post I just read, describing the story of a woman and her small child who had to have their orthopedic rods removed without the benefit of pain relief. Nothing. I assume that the grandpa at least had local anesthetic; maybe I shouldn't assume. I shudder to imagine.
Anyway, the grandparents are great. I was a little uncertain about the grandma's personality at first (she didn't talk to us much the first day, but I think that was just confusion over language) but she is great. We celebrated her onomastico, or saint's day, on Monday night. We had cake and ice cream in the living room with the neighbors. I felt guilty, eating all that sugar when I was sick...but I quickly got over it. So can any Catholic friends guess her name?
Speaking of names, the family keeps up the Italian tradition of naming a little boy after his grandpa. So the grandpa's name is also Pietro (which creates a bit of confusion in the house, at times). Pietro, the six-year-old whom I babysit, is actually the fourth Pietro in his family. The grandpa is the third. And the first Pietro Fava was born in the 1800s. I can't remember the specific year I was told. The grandpa tells me all about their family and their home in Naples. He tells me when all the football matches are on, and who won. He willingly corrects my Italian. Both grandparents are always asking me how I'm feeling, checking out my chicken pox, and reminding me not to scratch.
I will be sad when they leave. Actually, I think the grandmother has gone home for a few days, but the grandfather can't go home until he feels well enough to drive. It could be another week. We'll see. In the meantime, I like having him around. It never hurts when he cracks his belt to scare the kids. Or tells Emmanuel to be quiet or a witch will hear him and come to eat him. :)