September 27, 2007
I am beginning to realize that sometimes, when life is full of too much harsh reality, the only way to stay sane is to keep a sense of humor. Oddly, it is now, in the midst of extreme stresses at work, that I am making time to laugh at the antics of the crazy dog I am caring for. Being of a rather serious nature, I initially thought that the combination of evils I’m confronted with each work day should make it somehow wrong to be able to laugh; but this is not the case. Life is full of all manner of experiences, and an overload of one does not preclude the presence of another. So today, emerging from a heart-racing day of confronting evil and discovering what it feels like to be someone’s enemy, I come home and laugh heartily at this slobbery mutt as he eats, poops, and snores . . . more or less in that routine order.
September 24, 2007
Arriving home from Church this afternoon I couldn’t help but notice the way Dozer was gently, gingerly, lowering himself each time he sat down. So a few trains of thought later I was selecting my tools from the medicine cabinet.
I found what I was looking for: one infection ointment and one pain/itch cream. Dabbing a good-sized dollop of each onto two fingers I walked over to the seated bulldog as he watched me. Since he is not a particularly young, or agile, creature, I hoisted him up rather than wait to coax him. Then, thankful for his perplexed lack of reactive-ness, I smeared first the infection cream, then the pain cream, directly onto his afflicted rear.
It was, I can sincerely avow, the first time I have wiped a doggie’s bottom.
September 21, 2007
I had to laugh. Tonight I came home to a mid-bathing extravaganza. I am house-sitting for a family whose secretary enjoys taking the bulldog on photographed adventures whenever they go out of town. So she had checked with me about doing one of her events again, and planned to start tomorrow. First, however, she asked how he smelled. I looked at Dozer as I talked to her and said, “Well, he reeks. So much so that I have taken to washing the furniture slipcovers neurotically, in a vain effort to rid the house of his odor.”
She replied that she suspected as much, and that she had noticed the last time she was here that he was in desperate need of a bath. So she asked if she could come tonight to bathe him before she does his “photo shoot” tomorrow. “Well, by all means!” I assured her, and added that we would all be happier for it.
So tonight she gave him a bath. And then realizing he still smelled, she gave him a double bath. Being somewhat of an expert in canine matters, she informed me afterwards that he had a bit of a sore on his backside that may be contributing to his odor. We looked around the house for some suitable ointment and, finding none, she said she would bring her own dogs’ cream when she came yesterday.
Butt cream, I thought.
Then I laughed out loud and asked if I could tell her why it was highly ironic that we were having this conversation:
One of the day’s crises involved a phone call from Ms. Melinda. As soon as I picked up the phone she began to tell me about the nurses who had just been up to see her [today was the day the volunteer nursing students come, so we had sent a couple of them up to take care of Melinda’s hygiene needs]. She began by telling me about this cream she had that was stolen. “The nurses stole your cream?” I interjected, perplexed for a moment. “Oh no, honey!” she exclaimed. But she said that she did in fact have some cream stolen from her a while back . . . she did not tell anyone about that, though—not until now, as she was telling me. But that’s not why she was calling me; she was calling to tell me how pleased she was with the nurses who had come today. See, they knew just what she needed, and they gave her some. And what was it that she was needing? What other than butt cream, as she proudly, and loudly, proclaimed.
I guess there is no shortage of needy body parts in the world . . .
September 18, 2007
Having not had my usual internet access lately, my computer time has been too limited for me to do justice to the most recent work tales [though I have had no shortage of snippets to be mentally filed away in my to-write-about storage space].
But this is a tale about a tail that was passed along my another children’s literature fan–and I do hope you agree with me that it is well worth the re-telling . . .
The father was on duty for the morning, taking his 4-year-old to preschool. He noticed the boy’s attire and decided to make some clothing-related smalltalk. “You know, son, I like that Tigger t-shirt you have on today. Do you think you can jump as high as Tigger can?”
The boy looked at his dad and, after a moment of thoughtful quiet said “No, daddy–I don’t think my penis is long enough.”
September 11, 2007
Just another day in the land of nutty old folks and nutty not-so-old ones. To illustrate, let me give you one snippet from the day:
Two gentlemen came this afternoon to tell me about the coming opening of a new Counseling Center for geriatric patients–it’s the only area center of licensed counselors and therapists that will accept Medicaid and offer the type of services they provide, so they’re trying to make folks like me aware of it, so we can refer our residents to them. At one point, one of them asked me how many people I could think of right off the bat who would qualify for psychiatric services, if assessed by a professional. A quick train of thought went something like this: Hmmm . . . we have about 158 residents at the moment. There are about 6 of us here who work directly with the residents . . . Then I responded out loud, “Well, I can think of about 164 off the top of my head who would most likely qualify for psychiatric services at the moment.”
September 7, 2007
I didn’t have to ask who she was when she interrupted my routinely official phone greeting with an insistent, “Honey, can you come up here for a minute.” Wondering what the crisis of the day was, I grabbed my keys and headed up to the 11th floor. The door was cracked and she hollered for me to come on in when I knocked.
Miss B, do you know you left a note up on the door, saying you’re changing and to come back in 30 minutes? “Oh yes, I know,” she replied. “Soon as you leave, I will–so I wanted that note up now.”
Oh, of course . . . so how are you today?
“I dropped Hospice,” she began, as I sat down across from her at the dinette. “They just weren’t any good. So I got me a real doctor. Her name’s over there on the fridge. She has a nurse too but, shit, I can’t remember that nurse’s name . . .”
I started to get up to write down the Doctor’s name but sat back down when she leaned over conspiratorily and said, “But that’s not what I wanted to tell you today.” She dropped her voice to a whisper. “Now I don’t want you to tell anybody about this, but you need to know what’s going on . . .”
I sat back in my chair and listened as she told me the “real story.” It turns out Miss B has had a scare. She had someone break in her door last night. Well, not quite: they almost broke in . . . just loudly enough to wake her up. So she decided to take action. Next time, she’ll be ready for the potential intruder . . .
She stopped her story and began rifling through her purse. “I got this a while back; when I got it he told me it was good forever. And not just in this state–it’s good anywhere . . . there it is!”
And she handed me a certifiably official Georgia Firearm Licence, stamped with her name and thumbprint.
“Next time my Social Security check comes, I’m going to get me a gun. Not a big one–just a little one. So when he comes back, I’ll be ready. It won’t be loaded, mind you, but I’ll keep the shells by my bed. So if he comes back, by the time he gets from the door to my bed, I’ll be ready for him. Now I don’t want to kill anybody–‘Thou shalt not kill’ . . . but I can make sure he crawls out of here if he tries to hurt me. I’ll shoot him in the foot!”
As she said this she gestured to my feet, and I widened my eyes as I nodded with her.
She lowered her voice again and came closer to me. “I want you to know this, but I don’t want you to tell anyone. You know how word gets around here. But if I die, I want you to destroy all my papers–and destroy my gun! I’m going to keep it in my pillowcase, so you’ll know to look for it there.”
Her day’s task apparently completed, Miss B then wheeled away from the table and thanked me for being “so helpful” all the time.
“Alright honey–you have a good day. And just make sure you latch that door behind you as you go!”
Miss B’s secret is safe with me–at least now that I have checked the building policies. The manager assured me that they were not allowed to look for contraband materials inside resident apartments, even if “heresay” suggested the existence of the same . . .
September 1, 2007
You never know what a day will bring.
This particular day brought the occasion for me to display my brute strength–or at least my brute stupidity . . .
One of our more vocal residents wheeled herself into the office shouting that somebody needed to get Mr. Williams off the ground. Now it is common knowledge around the facility that Mr. Williams is not the most sober of gentlemen, so I immediately suspected the cause for his prone position, My suspician proved correct. In this case, he could have actually harmed himself badly, as he was outside on a concrete patio at the time. But when I peered over him, he returned my gaze in an encouragingly coherent manner, glassy eyes and tell-tale breath notwithstanding. Mr Williams?, I began, Are you ok? “Well . . . I guess so,” was his reply. So, while a crowd of elderly men and women gathered around to comment on the daily state of Mr. Williams, I hoisted him back up onto the bench. A few more questions left me reasonably assured that he was unhurt, so I brought him some water and then returned inside. I had to laugh a bit later when the initial announcer of the situation came back to ask how Mr. Williams had gotten back up. I got him up, Miss June–he’s fine now. “What?!?,” she incredulously replied. “What about all the men out there?” They watched me, I told her, grinning.
Several hours later I was finishing up my distribution of the newsletter, walking down the hallway after exiting the stairwell. As I neared the office, I watched the almost comical scene of Mr. Williams’ slow roll from the wooden bench onto the floor. I was almost next to him by that point, so I could see that he was conscious as he fell. And I’m afraid I must admit that I was not too concerned as I watched: my intitial reaction was a bemused thought of Oh, so that’s how he did it the last time!.
Admittedly, this is NOT the way one should respond when watching an elderly gentleman fall–please do not take my admission as any sort of justification for my wrong response! But in this case, it turned out to be fine. He was still coherent–in an inebriated sort of way–and he let me hoist him back up again. While I did so, he apologized, saying he didn’t know what was wrong with him today. A coworker had come over by that point, and she rolled her eyes as he said this. I have had significantly fewer dealings with Mr. Williams than she has had; consequently, I still have a significantly greater level of patience remaining. We’ll see how long that lasts :-)