I've been called upon to be a nursemaid twice this week. Let me just share with you that the sick and ailing of this world have no idea how lucky they are I don't have to do this for a living.
First up was my sister who had some pretty extensive dental surgery last Tuesday and I volunteered to help out. Lin is a nurse so I figured all I'd have to do is maybe rinse out a washcloth or puree a sandwich or something. I am also skilled at hand patting. I didn't grasp the full extent of what she'd be recuperating from, and blithely figured we'd soon be swigging beer and cheating each other at canasta.
Drove her to surgery, picked up prescriptions and got her home afterwards just fine. Later, I went to check on her when she was changing the gauze packing only to find her gaping at the bathroom mirror, checking everything out as eagerly as though she was looking through a 99 cent sale bin at Michael's.
Suddenly, I felt unwell.
When she saw me holding the wastebasket, she nonchalantly tossed in the old gauze. It was about this time that I got hot and sweaty and everything in my vision started turning white. I sat down on the toilet, which Lin took to mean I wanted details. She seemed quite pleased with the state of things and talked on at some length. Thank heavens, I couldn't understand a word she was saying through all the gauze packing she was stuffing in. I put my head between my knees and started reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to myself. Eventually, color returned to the world and I stopped sweating. I was finally able to stagger down the hall behind her and collapse into one of her new leather recliners. Lin took this opportunity to stretch out in the other recliner for a little nap which was fine by me.
I won't go into the rest of the gory details, but all I've got to say is it's a good thing one of us was a tough cookie or I'd never have gotten through the next 24 hours.
Then Sammy (who I know isn't human, but I'm still his dog mom) started acting funny. Sammy is the first one at my feet if I head to the kitchen for any reason. He sits under the dinner table staring at Ken while we eat. Anything that moves in the house or on our walks becomes a toy. In short, the whole world is fascinating to Sammy, and he greets each day with amazing doggie enthusiasm.
But this week, Sammy spent most of each day curled up under my chair or on the floor of the little bath or in his crate. We could occasionally entice him into a game of bouncy ball, but there was none of his typical zoom-doggie mentality. He wasn't at my heels from morning till night, didn't react when I opened the treat jar and just wasn't his normal Sammy self.
So yesterday, we went to see Dr. Jessica. She was so sweet and gentle, and I knew something was up when Sammy allowed his temperature to be taken without trying to curl into a ball as he normally does. He had a slight temperature but everything looked normal, so Dr. Jessica wanted to do some blood work and test Sammy's urine. Since Sammy was doing his best to climb into my armpit and looked so pathetic, Dr. Jessica said Sammy might be more comfortable if I had a role in taking blood. My role would be to Hold the Dog. This was fine by me (and Sammy).
But my role in the urine thing was to Be the Urine Collector.
No problem. Give me a rubber apron, goggles, hip waders and rubber gloves and I can collect anything.
Nurse Bitzi handed me a metal bowl about four inches wide and two inches deep that looked for all the world like it could double as a doggie hat if Sammy ever decided to run away and join the circus. I looked at her.
"It's for the urine," she explained, helpfully.
". . . and. . . ?" I asked, densely.
"Well," she smiled. "You just. . .umm. . .hold it under when Sammy goes. Would you like me to do it for you? We do it all the time."
"No no, " I said. "I've got it." On a good day, Sammy is one shy dog when it comes to his bathroom habits. All I needed was for something to freak him out while he was potty-ing and I'd be making daily appointments for doggie catheterizations.
So out the door we headed. Sammy was quite excited about leaving the vet's office to wander around the yard sniffing and marking all the places other dogs had been.
Except he wasn't expecting his mom to suddenly thrust an upside-down doggie hat at him while he was . . . .you-know-whatting. Poor baby - he jumped straight up in the air as far as his leash would go. His back foot caught the edge of the dish/hat and it went flying toward Charlie, who skittered as far in the opposite direction as he could go.
Suddenly, I'm stretched out like a scarecrow and my shoe is wet.
I gathered everyone up, retrieved the dish/hat and after awhile was able to drag two dogs back into the vet's with our prize. I can't say for sure that we had an audience, but I did notice Bitzi wiping her eyes when we came in.
Fortunately, Dr. Jessica called to say Sammy's blood work was normal. This morning, he fairly knocked me down getting to his bouncy ball and is back to eating and playing and hanging out in the kitchen in case someone drops food. Whatever he had seems to have disappeared.
And I talked to Lin yesterday and she sounded wonderful. What a trooper.
So, let's recap.
In accordance with the Hippocratic oath we medical types follow, I have not harmed anyone and both my patients are doing well.
I did, however, have to throw out one very nice pair of sandals.
And I now know that I never, ever want to hear the words "you" and "dental surgery" used in the same sentence. But if I do, I'll need Nurse Linda, Lapdog Sammy and Sidekick Charlie to get me through it.