Monday, January 17, 2011

A Smattering

By Belinda

A smattering of this and that...

I didn't write about this when it happened the weekend before last because I was so embarrassed. Molson and I went to visit two friends at a nursing home. All went well during our first visit on the second floor where the woman we visited has memory loss. She is the mother of someone in our congregation and is staying in the nursing home for four weeks while her daughter, who she lives with, is away. Her daughter had asked for visitors while she is there. I asked if she liked dogs, as I would take Molson with me if she did. She was delighted and told me that her mother's favourite T.V. show is  Sue Thomas FB Eye ; one I hadn't heard of, but based on a true story of a detective with a dog. The heroine is an expert lip reader and her hearing ear dog, named Levi,  is a golden retriever. It was love at first sight when Molson appeared and he was patted and stroked by the woman and a small crowd of other residents of the home who were gathering in anticipation of supper time.

When we went down to visit my other friend, who is Susan's special friend Fanny, we found her in bed, too high up to see Molson. She cried, "I can't see him," so I patted the side rail, to get Molson to stand up beside the bed. To my horror, he misunderstood and in an instant he obligingly crouched down then bounded over the side rail, and onto the bed, shocking me and frightening Fanny. He jumped right down but poor Fanny was so upset and I felt terrible. I went to tell a nurse what had happened, feeling like a complete failure as a visitor of the frail elderly. The nurse was reassuring but I was relieved to find that Fanny was drifting off into a peaceful sleep when I went back to the room. This weekend I went back without Molson. I just thought that they might think, "Oh, no, here she comes again."

Fanny seemed to have forgotten last week's episode though, and although she was asleep when I arrived, when I gently said her name, her eyes opened immediately and smiled in recognition and pleasure at a visitor; eyes of speedwell blue, in a face of softest white skin. Her voice was too faint to hear, so I did the talking, about things I knew she would enjoy being reminded of: her old and dear friend Rosie, who was known for her singing and yodelling and who Fanny was mourning so deeply when she went to heaven first, that I introduced her to my dear friend Susan, who didn't replace Rosie, but became the best friend anyone could have been to Fanny once Rosie had gone on. Fanny's eyes lit up with each triggered memory, and she made little sounds of pleasure.

I had arrived at the home part way through an interfaith church service being held in the lounge. Our church worship team was part of it and my friend Frances, a.k.a. Poppy, sang a beautiful solo. Before they left to go home and I went off to visit my two friends, Frances said she'd been shopping the day before in an antique store in Cookstown with her mother. "I bought you something," she said, and then, "Oh, but I shouldn't tell you, it's a bit saucy."

"What?" I said, "You have to tell me now!"

"Well, it's a little paperweight," she said, "And I know how you love swings. It says, 'Know when to get off the swing!'"

So, dear friends, I'm looking forward to getting my paperweight. I'm not sure what it means, "Know when to get off the swing." But I hope I know when it's time...! :)

7 comments:

Susan said...

At our age, I think it's far more important to know when to get ON the swing! I mean when's the last time you went up in the air, up in the air so blue? Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing, ever a child could do!

Belinda said...

I loved that poem as a child! :)And still do.

Marilyn said...

Susan makes a great point in her comment! I got on the swing more often last year and was glad for it, so serious can I be.

But about the post itself... thank you, thank you, thank you! Not sure why I'm saying that, but those are the words that pop to mind. I spend oodles of time with the elderly these past few years and your whole post was so endearing, even the part about Molson, "the overly ambitious therapy dog"! I see myself and others, trying hard to minister, to bless, to bring something of company and good cheer and occasionally our efforts get a little out of control. I think I'm saying 'thank you' because, in writing about your visit and esp. the Molson-in-bed experience you.....hmmm.....you...what? I'm searching for the words......

You made caregivers and those who bring care less invisible. Ah, you gave them VOICE!

Theresa said...

Oh how I miss hearing Rosie yodel!! It was the best thing ever.

It is wonderful the joy that dogs bring to people. My 105lb Boxer would have done the exact thing Molson did, but he would have covered Fanny in "kisses" too.

Hard to imagine Frances buying something "saucy", being the delicate flower she is....LOL!!! Hi Frances!! :)

Belinda said...

I laughed at Molson's new title Marilyn, "Molson the Overly Ambitious Therapy Dog."

I'm glad the post hit a cord, and thank you for trying so valiantly to express why it did.

And Theresa, yes; Rosie! It's good to remember people--to talk about them often. I hope someone does that about me one day, when I finally get off the swing! Ha ha!

Dave Hingsburger said...

The other day I was in the lobby and one of the tenants who has a very friendly and very large dog stopped to chat. She is trying to get him to NOT jump but I aske her to allow him to get on me so that I could easily pet him. She allowed it and I loved it. Molson jumping on the bed could have gone the other way, if it had been me in there I'd have laughed and given him a hug! Hope you still take him there. Lovely friendly chatty blog ... also like the new colours.

Belinda said...

Dave, I know that you and Molson would love each other and would have a great cuddle. I will pluck up courage to take him with me again, but steer clear of dear Fanny. I left out the fact that she is on oxygen and her legs are very sensitive. It all reminded me of my "Mum disaster." I think my epitaph will read, "She meant well...:)"