How Nancy changed the day.
Today started like something out of a movie where everything that can go wrong does. I had been up most of the night sick so when I woke up this morning I was sure somewhere there were tire marks cause I felt like someone ran over me. Had to cancel my swim with Charmaine which did not make me happy. After a cup of tea I forged ahead with my day. Tristan and I have been working on his fear of the leash, we have been working on this by cutting a leash off at about 5 inches and clipping it on his collar (thanks Jean and Walter), for months this has terrified him running to hide in a corner or his crate as soon as it’s clicked into place. Yesterday I clipped it on as usual but this time he actually walked around a bit with it on before he ran into the safely of his crate. It was a huge step and I praised him and gave everyone treats in honor of this remarkable step. Of course both schnauzers looked at me like “what the heck happened?” Today I clipped it on again and thought I would see how it went as I moved on to the next thing I needed to get done for the day.
I decided to give Maggie a bath because she was going with me in the afternoon to pick my mom up who had asked me if I would bring a dog. One of the residence at the nursing home loves dogs and I don’t think she gets many visitors. Maggie is small enough that I bath her in the kitchen sink, she is a trooper for her bath and doesn’t put of much of a fuss so it went smoothly. I was so tired I thought about a nap but decided I had to much to do, so instead I staggered downstairs to put some laundry in and I heard it before I saw it, and with each “drip, drip, drip,” I walk faster on the cold concrete slab of floor and just to the left of the dryer is Lake Erie. You have got to be kidding me. My first thought is to turn the water off, followed closely by the next thought which is, where the hell do I do that at? I go back upstairs and look under the sink, there is pipe that has come disconnected, I reconnect it and turn the water on and pray that there is…no more wa….oh lord water is shooting everywhere, I turn it off and I get down on the floor and find the sleeve thingy that is loose and tighten it back up that seems to be the culprit. As I am getting up from the floor my back goes out.
Now anyone who has back problems can tell you the agony of that sensation as your disc slides into your nerve like a world series ending final play at home plate. I screamed, I screamed like Freddy Kruger was sawing off my left leg with a hacksaw, there was no thinking involved, just reacting to the bloody jolt of agony. I didn’t even think about Tristan he has not really heard me scream like that, I look up from the floor as I hear his concerned base baritone bark coming at me full force to find out what is wrong. Now what I see is a 65 lb dog almost walking in a side step with a “tippy, tippy, pause” rhythm trying not to step on this leash in something that resembled a cha cha dance move which made me laugh hysterically. Oh how I love this boy. I managed to get off the floor but it was not pretty.
After a hot shower, some (okay three) advil and a good rub of icy hot I venture back downstairs. The dripping had stopped but there is a mess of water to clean up. It is going to have to wait for a bit. I remember I need to be at the nursing home to fulfill the promise to bring Maggie to visit the lady. Maybe I can call and ask if we can reschedule, no, this woman was looking forward to seeing a dog. Okay, one more rub of icy hot and we are out the door. Maggie rides very well in the car and it’s a sunny day so I am grateful to be out of the house. We arrive at the nursing home and I manage to get myself out of the car with minimal wincing and with Maggie it tow we head toward the door. My mom meets us and as we head inside there she is….Nancy and her sweet smile.
“Oh my god she is the most precious lil one I have ever seen in all my years” the sheer sight of this woman made the tears swell up in my eyes. She was pure kindness and love she saw beauty in everything and everyone. In a second she was kissing all over Maggie, and hugging her like a long lost relative she had not seen in a very long time. She went on and one about Maggie’s perfect nose, ears, paws, fur, expressive eyes, cute “almost nothing tail”, good manners and everything in between. I could tell without a doubt that this was going to make her day, maybe her week. We met others as we walked down the hall, a woman in a wheelchair whose caregiver fussed over Maggie as she looked at the tiny frame in the chair and said “Ah, Mom used to love dogs” she wouldn’t know much now, she has dementia pretty bad, and as I am talking to this woman Maggie walked over and licked the ladies hand and clear as day there was an ever so slight upward curl of her mouth, the smile she just couldn’t quite make happen but it was lingering just behind the curtain of hope that sure made her daughter smile. As we were leaving a man in a walker who barked at us as he approached announced he wasn’t going to hurt her. I held Maggie as she kissed all over the stubble on the mans face, he giggled like a teenager. He thanked me as he continued walking and left me with these final words “I miss my Sassafras so much, she was a basset, best dogs in the world you know, but I hope you bring that one back”. And so I will. I gave up New Year resolutions a long time ago as they never seem to be anything I could stick to doing but I am going to give it another whirl and I am promising to bring one dog to the nursing home at least once a month.
There are moments in life that you just know that you have the choice to open yourself up even if it’s hard or the choice to walk away knowing it’s easier, cleaner, and less work. Going to the nursing home is hard for me, the memories associate with my day are overwhelming, but the experience today is not something I want to walk away from. I don’t want to live in the past, letting the pain of sheer association stop me from making a difference for a few folks who just might not have to much else to look forward to each month. The giving back has just started. I promise to update you on our visits to see Nancy and the others. I am betting it’s going to write itself.
“Life is not a looking glass
Don’t get tangled in your past
Like i am learning not to”