Monday, January 4, 2010
Richard’s goal right now is to get a green sticker. It’s kind of funny, this whole physical therapy thing. It really is like being a kid again and re-learning how to do those basic things we all take for granted every day. If he can get a green dot sticker on his wrist band then he is cleared to go to the bathroom by himself. It may not seem like a big deal but it is to him and all the other patients there because that is their sticker of independence. I mean, that’s the topic of the patient's conversations with each other; It’s a BIG deal. So today Richard got a half of a green dot sticker. I have no idea why it’s a half of one and not a whole one, but it’s something right? I’ll find out more tomorrow. The impression I got was that he doesn’t have to push the nurse button anymore when he needs to go to the bathroom. He can get in his wheelchair from his bed and wheel himself to the bathroom and back. I don’t think he’s allowed to use the walker by himself yet, maybe that’s why it’s a half dot and not a whole one. Also, he did say that he's sleeping better and longer now. I asked him what his trick is and he said that he is able to sleep on his side now which is getting closer to his stomach which is how he normally sleeps. This is a good sign because in the past the pain was too intense in his shoulders and upper body to sleep on his side.
When Richard got to this new hospital he made friends with another patient down the hall; he’s a really nice man who had his leg amputated about a week ago. They do physical therapy together sometimes and he has a small dog that his friend brings over to the hospital for visits. There’s a nice big patio outside of the dining area with some attractive landscaping, park benches and tables and lots of open space for the kids to run around in…and dogs too. Richard has been asking me for the past couple of days to bring one of our Jack Russell “Terrorists”, Maddy, over to the hospital. I keep conveniently forgetting to bring the dog because honestly I didn’t want to deal with it; it’s hard enough to pack and load up 4 kids and walk through the parking lot and hospital with them…add our crazy dog to the mix and it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Today I surrendered in the dog department. When we were leaving with just the 1 dog, Grace started hysterically crying because she wanted to bring our other dog, Bogey; 4 kids and 2 dogs???…I’m really excited now (can you feel my excitement?) “But Mom” she said crying (her beautiful opera cry), “Bogey will feel left out, PLEASE can we bring Bogey?” Of course I gave in, how could I not? She promised to hold tight to his leash no matter what.
We called him several times and he didn’t come so I started by looking all around the patio area. I heard some rustling behind a big palm bush and when I looked back there I saw a thick pile of big dead leaves moving all around like crazy but I could not see Bogey. I knew he was in there so I was just relieved he was on THIS side of the fence but knowing my dogs as well as I do, there was no doubt that he was in a rodents nest. These dogs are bred to “search and destroy” rodents, any kind, and any size. I thought for sure he had a rat so I went and told Richard. He frustratingly said in front of all the other people who were out on the patio “what did you bring the dogs here for?” He was probably trying to get a rise out of me…I tried to keep my mouth shut but that’s not my style. It wasn’t long before Bogey came out of the bushes with a huge bloody possum and blood all over himself. By this time I think the hospital staff was ready to evict Richard because he was associated with us and this “terrorist” dog causing havoc. The receptionist came out, she was all stressed out and panicked. Then the janitor came out and he was pretty chill, he had his big grabber claw thing and picked up the possum and put it in a box. The possum was dead….or so we thought, that’s what they’re supposed to make you think right? The receptionist lady was panicked and a little bit annoyed with us; I was kind of thinking she ought to be grateful to us for bringing free rodent exterminators to her location, but I maintained my “humble” apologetic nature.
My dog disgusted brother-in-law was dying inside knowing that our kids (his and ours) might touch my bloody possum dog and have it on their hands so I quickly took the dog over to the hose and rinsed him off. How could I forget about Maddy’s OCDD (Obsessive Compulsive Dog Disorder)? She started attacking the water that was coming from the hose while I was trying to clean bogey off. In the end both dogs and myself came out of this mess messier, we were all wet and muddy and then Bogey decides to go roll in the mud even more. All I could think was that I had to put these nasty dirty dogs back in my freshly cleaned car that I spent hours detailing yesterday….whatever.
So we all pretty much ignored the dogs while I cleaned up our “linner” picnic. Then when Richard’s sister and her family were getting ready to go I realized that our dogs were gone; they had completely escaped the place. They’re only 12 and 14 lbs. each and they jump really high so they’re hard to keep in an enclosed area. There are 2 busy streets right close by so I was not excited about taking the kids with me to drive around looking for the dogs—remember Grace cried because Bogey’s feelings were hurt that he couldn’t come, imagine finding him dead on the street with 3 little girls in the car….seriously. So our nephews went out looking for the dogs on foot, I went and got the car to drive around looking for them and our kids stayed with Richard and his sister on the patio. Some guy had found them in his apartment complex and was out looking for the owners so it all worked out, but the dogs are NOT going back to visit Richard and I will not budge on this one. He is going to have to wait until he gets home. I know it’s therapy for people who are healing and all that mushy stuff, but we’ll be his “therapy” for now and he can deal. Heck I’ll play fetch with him if it helps his healing.