I was right! When I wake up in the middle of the night, I don’t hear OC laughter—only the snore of my Portuguese Water Dog, Twister. Twister is indeed a lady, so it’s rather shocking to hear the deep snorts and moans that emanate from the foot of my bed. Punkin the black cat is here too, so happy that I am home that she climbs up on my chest and settles in for the duration, her fluffy rear end parked directly alongside my nostrils. But neither can laugh out loud.
However, pets are healers, and I take great comfort from cold noses, doggy snores, and cat fur. We had a dog in residence (part time) at Orchard Creek. Her name was Pumpkin too, and she belonged to Ann, the 3 PM shift nurse. Pumpkin was very well behaved—she would seldom enter a patient’s room or the dining room, but we would hear her scampering up and down the hall chasing ice cubes. She used to steal our slippers, too, but Ann has broken her of that habit. Few things are more irritating to a 90 year-old sick person that seeing a small orange flash leaving your room with that warm, fuzzy slipper that your grandchildren gave you last Christmas!
I have my pets at home, and they lift my spirits. It’s very quiet here, compared to OC—nobody coming into my space every few hours to ‘take my vitals’ or hand me pills. But here I can eat dinner later than 5 PM, have balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing and wash my hair whenever I want. I have excitement each day, too: it is my morning trip to Munson, to the Infusion Clinic where I receive my mega antibiotics. Lisa the Magnificent has been taking me, for which I am grateful and, at the same time, feeling that sense of helplessness which I mentioned in the last blog. I can’t believe I passed up all those opportunities to play bingo and patronize the Ice Cream Parlor at Orchard Creek!
When I think of living this quiet life for another 2-4 weeks or more, I get depressed: this state of affairs has been going on since October 8! That’s the last time I was able to take a step without a walker, wheelchair, or cane. But then I think of my friends at OC—Anthony, who had his right leg removed and is learning new skills; and Luke, who will never have a hip joint; and the patients who have had strokes and are working to regain some dexterity and strength. I can’t stay depressed—I picture their smiles and recall their enthusiasm. And way down the hall, Bob is singing.
Come here, Twister—let me give you a hug.