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Friday, July 22, 2011

Round 5 Hospital Hijinks

We're keeping things pretty upbeat over here for Round 5. 
First of all, we had two unexpected visitors this week:

Annie and Emma (Great Dane)
Annie and I had already gotten into bed on Wednesday night and were curled up watching So You Think You Can Dance on our ceiling-mounted television set when one of the nurses poked her head in and asked, with a very confused expression, "were you expecting a visitor with a Great Dane?"
"Yes!" Annie called out immediately, not because she had expected it, but because those are her favorite dogs.
"Um, no, not exactly," I said, "but send them up!" 
Who wouldn't want a late-evening visit from a giant Horse-Dog?
It turned out that my mom had been at a meeting with the local hospice, and Emma is one of the dogs that's trained to hang out and cuddle with hospice patients. 
Even though Annie and I are more animated than her usual crowd, she was very sweet and mellow. There wasn't much space for her in our cramped little room, so she just mostly laid on the floor with her head between her paws. Annie immediately got down on the floor with her and cradled her head, while I took pictures and patted her flanks.
It turned out to be a good thing I didn't get too intimate with Emma. The next day my mom called in a panic, saying she'd just heard from Emma's owner that poor Em had been diagnosed that very day with a digestive parasite called Cryptosporidium. Like Giardia, it's a water-borne parasite that causes diarrhea and other abdominal discomfort. It's treatable, but would obviously put a kink in all the cancer-treatment agendas. Luckily, neither Dr. Dad nor my oncologist are overly worried about it. At least I remembered to wash my hands after petting her! 
Kia and Kia (Schnauzer)
The next surprise visit came yesterday, from a much smaller hospice-dog whose name also happens to be Kia. A sweet little Schnauzer, she laid on the bed next to me and panted away under her long white beard and tufty eyebrows. I did play a little kissy-face with her—this was before we got the news about the Crypto—so hopefully she was not carrying any amoebas or other saliva-borne pathogens. 
There really is something heartwarming and uplifting about getting to hang out with animals while one is in an otherwise depressing and cloistered environment. Just stroking their fur, gazing into their deep, dark watery eyes, sharing comforting little cuddles, it brings this cancer patient—and every other kind of patient, I'm sure—an extra dose of life. To hell with hygiene, I say. Bring on the dogs!  


Unfortunately, after the Crypto incident, it does't look like I'll be having any more canine visitors this round. So it was up to Annie and I to entertain ourselves. This was accomplished with the help of a fine old friend of mine—shout out to you, Lydia Osolinsky!—who just happened to have randomly sent me a care package that included stick-on mustaches the very week that my oncologist shaved his off. 
He usually comes by on his rounds around 8 a.m., so this morning at seven thirty, before I was even fully awake, I stuck on my mustache and slipped back under the covers, laying in wait for his arrival. 
The look on his face was pretty priceless when I sat up in bed, sporting a thick furry mustache very much like the one he had so recently parted with. I got a good laugh out of him, but it was the nurses who really got a kick out of it. A small stream of them poked their heads in to see what all the fuss was about, so naturally Annie and I both had to oblige them with a photo session, which I believe they will be printing and posting in the ward. 
Is it Annie? Or famed serial killer H.H. Holmes?
No Stage - I mean - No Stache
Kia as Dr. Havard, with his "you're going to be just fine" expression
An entertaining morning for everyone!

3 comments:

  1. Holy horse dogs!!! Those pictures are priceless. I sooo look forward to your posts. I absolutely love your writing and have been pondering getting my ex-sister in law involved. She used to work for a publisher and I think this would make and excellent book.

    I can only imagine the reactions with the fake mustaches. Glad you can have some fun while your stuck in your cubicle.

    love you mucho. Sandy

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  2. LOLing. And Great Danes! My favorite! Glad you're finding such fine ways to keep your spirits up. LOVE LOVE

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  3. Loved the horse dog. But the mustaches take the cake...very cool. My sister dated a Don Havard many years ago...

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