Sunday, December 23, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Divine Intervention and Why We Visit

Over the past few years, I have really come to believe there is a higher power with a master plan - I especially try to remember this when the idiot in front of me can't differentiate between the gas and the brakes, when the checker in Walmart takes 15 minutes to check out the person in front of me or the car in front of me at the McDonald's drive thru can't seem to figure out what they want.

Tonight, divine intervention took me to the same elevator as Kim Weaver's father - on his way up to the third floor of Dodd Hall. Kimmy is the patient I wrote about last week. I was a little off on her age - she is 20, not the teenager I thought she was. Whatever - she is still very young. At any rate, I ran into Mr. Weaver on the elevator and he told me the picture the nurse took last week was on Kim's website. I told him we were on our way to the 4th floor, but that we would stop down and see Kim on our way out. The "nurse" turned out to be Kim's sister, Nicole.

When I knocked on the door in her room, Kim was just finishing a home cooked meal of pot roast and potatoes. She was glad to see us - and even I could see a difference from last week. She talks very softly, but is aware of what is going on around her. Say a prayer that Kim gets a 2 day pass for Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Many people ask why I do this - tonight, I am tired and really gave thought to just curling up on the couch and staying home. I had the opportunity to crash a birthday party tonight, but opted out so we could go volunteer. Everyone has a story, and tonight I learned Kim's story. Tonight, I said a prayer for her and her family, and gave thanks for my own health and the health of those I care about.

You can learn about Kim on the following website. Her friends put a video together on You Tube, I would encourage you to watch that as well. Chelsie is also on the site.

name: Kimberlyweaver (all one word)

As usual, Chelsie was just fabulous. Kim was the last patient we saw, and she did great - was very patient and we spent about 15 minutes with her. We will no doubt be seeing her for awhile, but to date she has made tremendous progress.

This is why we do it. Have a very merry Christmas!


Nicole and Chelsie

Monday, December 10, 2007

Everyone Deserves a Treat!

As many of you may or maay not know, Chelsie LOVES peanut butter - further evidence she is truly her mom's dog. We have 2 kinds of PB in this house - human and dog. Yep, I get Jif, she gets Kroger brand. Call the pound.
Mom is exhausted tonight. Between work, trial-ing and volunteering tonight, I am DONE. Stick a fork in me (as Chel just let out a big groan). Tonight, as usual, she was awesome. We actually had a new adventure - we went to the third floor tonight. The patient population on 4 was very low, we were only there for about 30 minutes. With that in mind, I headed down to three, to see what the climate was like down there. We did see a few people on four, but many were asleep already. It was a cold gray day in Columbus, so I can hardly blame them. Today would have been a good day for a nap.
I have to say, the level at which she has become SPOILED at this hospital is RIDICULOUS. Tonight, as the weather was horrid, we again went to Dodd in the tunnels. About halfway through the tunnel, this horrible, loud noise started - I thought something was taking off over us. Chelsie was definitely agitated. Just as fast as the noise started, it quit - the only thing I could think was thank god, because it was loud. I don't think anything of it, until we see the meal lady in the hall. She says - I was pushing the trays in the tunnel and I saw it was scaring her, so I waited until you got in the building before I kept going. Unreal - where do I get treatment like that????
Once we got to three, I introduced us to the nursing staff. They immediately sent us to a room where an older man was visiting with his son. He had a German Shepherd at home, and was very happy to see Chelsie. She was happy to see him to - he had some crumbs on his front, and she put on her best display of manners and went after his crumbs. We had a really nice visit.
The room after that was tough. There was a young girl in there - and I mean young. She was maybe 15, maybe 16 - not older than that. Kimmy was her name. If I had to guess, she has been in some sort of car accident. She had some sort of brain surgery, and had the leftover of a trach. I also saw she had some staples in her stomach. She had just returned to Dodd after going off to another hospital for her brain surgery. I asked if she wanted to see Chelsie, she said "Yes, please". She was petting Chelsie's ears and Chels was just waiting patiently. It is amazing to me how she knows when to be patient. Kimmy moved very slow, and she just let Kimmy rub her ears - I think she liked how soft they are. For those of you that don't know, Chel has very soft ears.
The last room was an older lady who was a dog person. We had a nice dog conversation. She told Chelsie it would be nice if she would be more concerned about her grammie's feelings, and how grammie's feelings are hurt when she dives under the table after grammie walks in the door. She had a granddog who lived a block away - his dad got mad at him one time and he went to his grammie 's house. I told this lady my mother would love her.
It has been a busy weekend and will prove to be a busy week. I have training in Cleveland on Thursday and a packed calendar until then...we are off to la-la land and beauty rest.
Nicole and Chel

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Agility Queen

My little Chel cleaned house this weekend at her agility competition!!! She had three qualifying scores in four runs ("Q's") toward her novice agility titles - and, in all three she took first place!!! The run she did not Q on, she broke her start line stay - that is, took off before mom said to. Consequently, when mom looked up and she was halfway to the second jump, I panicked, and my plan got screwed up. She knocked a bar on a jump down...bad news. No Q. But mom is very, very proud of her, she did great. For everyone out there, there are three levels of titles in AKC agility - novice (beginner), open (medium) and excellent (advanced). We moved to open in the standard group (has all the obstacles - teeter, tunnels, jumps, weave poles, tables) and are still in novice in jumpers (just jumps, tunnels and weave poles).

On a side note, some news station showed Tressel after the 2003 National Championship when he said "We have the best damn band in the land and now we have the best damn team in the land!!!" It was awesome, got me all pumped up. GO BUCKS!!!

Monday, December 3, 2007


Wow - can all of you out there believe it? I know all you Buckeye fans were paralyzed in front of the TV in disbelief as Pitt beat WV. Saturday was definitely a day where screaming at the TV was appropriate - usually that is reserved for Michigan day. However, as this loss, along with the shellacking Oklahoma was putting on Missouri, guaranteed us a number one ranking and a spot in the National championship. The only thing that would cap off a perfect season is if Tebow does not win the Heisman - yep, I am a Florida hater. Jodi, you can show this to JJ because I know you are with me on that!!

Today has been an incredibly long day for the mama. The weather out here is horrendous again, and I was more thankful for the tunnels than ever. If the building ever blows up while I am in those tunnels, I will definitely die, because no one would ever find us down there. But for nights like tonight, it was perfect. And I did not even get lost - nothing short of a miracle. The weather outside is still horrendous...wind blowing, chimes ringing. I saw every hour on the clock last night, because I thought the wind was going to blow the siding and roof off my house. I said as much to my mother, whose response was "Don't you have insurance?" My response was something along the lines of at 3AM wide awake and irrationally terrified, I was not thinking about whether or not I had insurance.

Now, on to more important things - like Chelsie's work. She worked tonight, and she was awesome. Definitely the neatest thing that happened tonight was that we got to meet the other Chelsie!! She was up visiting her mom, and they greeted each other in the usual dog way - they got in each other's faces and that made me nervous...sometimes, Chel does not like it when dogs sniff her face. She is becoming my crotchety old lady. I wish she would play with other dogs, but she is content for a quick sniff and she is done - no questions asked, let's move on, mom. Then of course, the jealously came out about whose parents could pet who and all that stuff - you know, normal dog stuff.

Chel did get to see a lot of her favorite nurses - Kori, Heather and Leonard. There were not a lot of patients there tonight - a lot we saw from last week had gone home, which is always a good thing. It still took us an hour and a half to get down the hall - and she was very patient with the mama as I made one last stop about 3 different times.

The most interesting thing that happened tonight was that I was hit on. We saw the guy we saw last week - older guy (I say that delicately - maybe early 50's?) who had lost his wife asked me to come back before I left. So I did - and he wanted to know if I wanted to get a cup of coffee sometime, because he said he did not have anyone to talk to that was as much a dog lover as I was. I said I did not think I could do that - and he said, Not like that, your probably seeing someone...and I was like, No, I don't think I can do that. It was very awkward, and we made a hasty exit after that. My carriage was turning into a pumpkin, as Chelsie had made it very clear she was ready to go - NOW MOM!!!

She did a lot of good work tonight. We also saw a lady we saw last week - the one I cannot understand. She was in the main area when we got there, and she had moved rooms. I saw her walking by a room and went in to see her. Although I could not understand her, I knew she was appreciative of the visit. Her roommate was very nice, we spent about 15 minutes talking to her, she was a dog person. We also came upon a new patient, his wife and daughter were in his room and they were very nice. He was off having some tests, but they had done a great job on his room. He had a nice soft blanket, pictures everywhere - even a lamp with hanging embellishment! It was warm, cozy and homey - this guy had a stroke, so I am sure we will see him for the next 2-3 weeks at least. Let's hope he is home for Christmas.

We are running in a competition this weekend, and we had to practice a command tonight - it involved her running up and down the stairs. Worth it though - there was a treat at the end. Between practicing and working, she is all worn out - slight curl to her body and paws, heavy breathing. Sounds like a good place to be. We hope this finds everyone well - stay warm!!


Nicole and the Chelsie Belle

Monday, November 26, 2007

Yet ANOTHER Long Night....

Yes, it was a cold, crappy rainy day here in lovely Ohio - it is days like today that drove all the west coast girls back to the nest. I wished to be one of you today!!! These are the days I usually HATE taking Chel out - dealing with 70 lbs of wet dog is no fun. However, unbeknown st to me, there is a maze of underground tunnels that connect several of the hospital buildings. My volunteer coordinator shared that with us today, saving me from having to walk in 40 degree rainy weather. I appreciated that greatly because I did not have to bundle up like the nook of the north and deal with wet dog.

Tonight, she was absolutely awesome. It started off well when we did not have to walk in the rain and just got better from there. Apparently, it was just not a good day at Dodd. There were several new admissions and one patient had just gotten some bad news (I never did find out what). Upon my arrival, we found all Chelsie's favorite nurses to be there - Clara, Angie, Kori and Gabby, just to name a few. Angie said I needed to go to 4147, they were pretty upset in there (the room with the bad news) and went to see if they wanted us to come in. Unfortunately, the wife was allergic to dogs, so we did not go in there. Tonight, she was very therapeutic for the nursing staff.

We finally made our way down to the end of the hall, and came across a very nice man who had been there for 5 hrs. He loved dogs, and had 2 great Pyrenees. We talked for probably 15 minutes - he had a stroke 17 mos ago, they did not know why and he had some mobility issues with his legs. Apparently he had passed out in the shower and could not walk when he came to. He had lost his wife three years ago to breast cancer, however, despite all of this, he had a great attitude and was a pleasure to talk to. He is not sure how long he is going to be there, so we will definitely look to visit him again if he is.

One very nice thing that happened tonight is that one patient who had been in isolation for our last few visits was finally in the clear!!! He had looked at Chelsie from his bed, and was very sad he could not pet her. After seeing her twice and just not being able to wait to get his hands on her, he could finally touch her tonight. When I found out he was out of iso, his was the first room I stopped at. He was eating dinner, so I told him we would come back. When we did, he was just thrilled and loved on her for about 15 minutes. A bunch of nurses walked by and saw Chel giving him kisses, and just smiled - they knew how much he wanted to see her.

One other patient we have seen in the past few weeks I don't think I have talked about was a blind lady. As many of you know, I have a very close friend who is visually impaired, and I affectionately refer to her as "The Blind Lady". We have seen this lady twice now - tonight was the last time we will see her, she is going home on Thursday, which is always good news. At one point, she used a dog, but has not in several years. She was very happy to see Chel, and loved on her also - all this love for the dog, what about the mama???? We talked at length tonight about blindness in general. I told her Sharon and I always joke about writing a book - "What the Blind Wished the Sighted Knew About Blindness". I told her some of the dumb things I have said to Sharon, and she laughed. For example:

Computer Use - when watching Sharon try to navigate Microsoft Word using shift+ keys

Nicole - why don't you use the mouse to do that?
Sharon - because I can't see the pointer. (duh)

Sock sorter - as a person who once had sight, sometimes she describes things I am not sure of.

Sharon - I need a sock sorter.
Nicole - Where do you buy one of those?
Sharon - It's you.
Nicole - Oh.

These are some of the funnier exchanges we have had.

It was also a rough night for a patient we have seen the last few nights. She is a lady who has had a rough like - has had portions of both legs amputated and has had a stroke. She shares a room with the lady who has the other Chelsie. She was asleep tonight when we got there, but the other Chelsie's mom told me she had not had a good day, they found a blood clot in her neck. The other Chelsie is coming to visit tomorrow, and apparently this kind lady shares her Chelsie with her roomie. She said the other lady was very down tonight. She sort of woke up but was out of it, so we will see her next week.

We were definitely exhausted tonight when we left. Mom had to go back to work today, and she is very tired from that experience. My day started off with a conference call where some signals were crossed and I looked like a yak, which was an outstanding welcome back present. Thankfully, the day got better, but after that and then going to Dodd, I am exhausted. It will be an early night to bed in this household. Hopefully, Chelsie will be a willing cuddle participant.

We hope this finds everyone well. Take care and until next week.....


Nicole and The Chelsie Belle

Sunday, November 25, 2007


God bless Houston Nutt, Darren McFadden and the rest of the Razorbacks. All we need now is for the Sooners of Oklahoma to come through and beat the Tigers of Missouri and we are looking good!!! It would also be nice if Pitt could put the hurt to WV, but I am not holding my breath for that one. Chelsie's buckeye collar is staying for another week....

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mommy & Chelsie
The entire family

With my baby brother...
Happy thanksgiving! We hope you had an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. As you can see, Chel and I went to grammie and grampie's house for some turkey. Grammie made sure the puppies, all three of them, got some "bird" on Thanksgiving.
Prior to going to grammie's, she did work this morning. There were not a lot of people there, but the ones we did see were very happy to see us. We saw some of our patients from Monday night, along with Angie and Kori, two of Chelsie's most loved nurses. We were standing talking to one of the day nurses, when Angie walked up. Chelsie was busy telling the day nurse her sob story about how mistreated she was, and I told her to give it up, Angie knew better. When Angie came up, she went over to Angie for some loving and butt scratching. Angie was happy to give it to her.
All three puppies are crashed out on the poor little baby angel has not had a nap all day, and after playing with her cousins all day, she is passed out on the floor behind me. Grampie and her chocolate lab cousin are also tired, they are snoring. Yes, the chocolate lab snores with the best of them. Thank god my little precious does not have a deviated septum like that brown dog. But we love that brown dog dearly.
We hope everyone had a nice turkey day - I will NOT be getting up for Kohl's and JC Penney 4AM sale tomorrow morning. For those of you that are, good luck, may you find your bargains. Tomorrow is tree day in the Paloney household - on my nice new carpet. Cheryl, getting carpet is a lot of work...but well worth it. It feels so nice and soft on my feet! It was pouring down rain yesterday and little Chel came in, all set to rub her wet head on the floor...and mommy promptly screamed NO!!!!! We will see how long that lasts...
Happy Thanksgiving!
Love, Nicole & The Chelsie Belle

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Two Chelsie's????

This week is a FANTASTIC week - Mom is on VACATION!!!! Yea!!

Our week started off with a bang - new carpet. Yep, that nasty gross stuff that was in here before is gone. Chelsie was banished to grammie's - there were 4 people in the house, a lot of noise and it was HOT. I had to turn the heat up to make the carpet more pliable to stretch - so it was like 77 degrees in the house. BUT, getting carpet is a lot of work.

Chelsie came home in time to be able to go to work. Lots of people were in isolation last night, so right off the bat, we could not go into about 5 rooms. We were done with the first side of the hall in no time. The second side of the hall was a different story - all in all, we were there again for about an hour and twenty minutes.

We did get to see a few people we saw last week - the lady that had 2 labs was actually going home today, so she was very happy. She was very happy to see Chelsie. Her roommate was an older lady that we saw last week - she was pretty immobile, but I took Chel to the other side of the bed where she could see her. This lady was a dog lady, and she told me over and over how beautiful Chelsie was. Of course she is. :)

We also saw an older man we saw last week - this week he had a lady friend in there with him. I am not sure if it was his wife or not, but she saw us in the hall and asked us to come in. Chelsie jumped in her chair and immediately started giving kisses. They were laughing and loving on her - and she was just eating it up. Like she is so unloved at home.

The last room of the night was 2 middle aged ladies - and was my room of the week to be reminded not to judge. There was a very rough middle aged lady in there who kind of blew me off initially, but then was very excited when she realized I was the one with the dog. Apparently one of the nurses had told her I was coming, and she was very excited. Her roommate had an assistance dog - you guessed it, a black lab mix named Chelsie!!! My Chelsie was at the end of her rope by then, but she was able to gut it out for about 10 minutes. Thankfully, the lady understood. Her Chelsie was coming to visit today - she said that the poor puppy was confused, and missed her. I could only imagine. She had gotten her from some group that rescues the dogs and then trains them to assist people - I forget the name of it. She was 7 years old, compared to my almost 6 year old.

We hope everyone is doing well, and wish you all a happy thanksgiving. Chelsie and I will call Dodd on Thursday morning and see if the house if full enough for a visit - apparently many people are getting a pass for Thursday, so we will see. We will be having turkey with the family and then decorating for Christmas on Friday. On Saturday, we will be Razorback and Husky fans for sure, hoping the victorious Buckeyes can end up in the Natl Championship. But the Rose Bowl is not a bad place to be...anyway, safe travels and enjoy your time with family!

Nicole and the Chelsie Belle

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lots of Dog Loving Patients = Long Night

After a week off, we were back on the job. I have been a totally terrible mom, the weather has SUCKED and I have been exhausted, so poor Chel has not had her walks like she is used to having. She was quite excited to put on her vest and go to work.

So we got there last night as usual, and while Chelsie was rummaging through the trash and getting her butt scratched, I happened to look in and see nurse Clara sitting in a chair - and very OBVIOUSLY expecting. I said to the nurse coordinator...Um, is Clara expecting - like the answer is totally obvious. Keep in mind we see her on a pretty regular basis, and she is due in 6 weeks - can we say DUH? Clara is a trooper - still on her feet moving everyone around.

As you can tell from the title, there were a lot of dog loving patients last night - we did not even make it down the hall, when this older lady saw us and said, Come in here! They were total dog people, and Chelsie knew it. She jumped right up on her chair - this lady wanted kisses, and mommy is not too crazy about letting her give kisses. I was able to keep the kissing under control, but this lady was loving on her big time. Her roomie had people in with her, so we skipped her, but when we came back down the hall, we got Come back in here, she wants to see the dog, she thought she missed you. We went into another dog lover - she had a picture of her dog in with her, and she teared up. She loved all over Chelsie too - and asked if she could sit on the bed. I normally do not let her do that, but this lady appeared to be mobile enough and was situated on the bed in a manner in which I felt OK about putting her on the bed. It actually worked out very well - Chelsie snuggled right up to her. As if she is SO mistreated at home...

We had yet another interesting encounter last night. We came into a room with a man who clearly had some mobility issues and was deaf. If I had to guess, he likely had cerebral palsy - fists were sort of clenched and it looked like his muscles were pretty tight. Anyway, when we walked in, he was very excited to see the dog - I asked his interpreter if he wanted to touch the dog, he said yes. It was a challenge to figure out the best position to get her in so he could pet her - I decided on the floor was the best option. Unfortunately, he had dropped food, and she was scrounging. I got after her, and this upset the man terribly - and he told me to leave. I quickly assured him she was still a good dog - and put in the chair and hugged her. I asked his interpreter to explain that like a child, when the dog behaved bad, she needed to be corrected - but that she was a good dog. It was better after that, but I clearly upset him when I corrected her.

One of the last rooms we came to was a room where there was a husband and wife who had 2 labs of their own (wife was patient). She marched right up to him and started sniffing - the guy laughed and said he had been wrestling his dogs an hour ago. He started scratching her back end, and she just went nuts - I mean nuts. Picking her feet up, going around in circles and then came over and did her somersault in my lap - all signs of a very happy dog. I managed to get her calmed down, and we talked to them for about 10 minutes. As a lab owner, this guy knew all the right spots. It was a happy 10 minutes for her.

We were there for about an hour and twenty minutes last night - which is a long time. Her attention span is somewhere around an hour, so I knew as soon as we passed that, I was on borrowed time. She did get a little antsy at the end, but all in all, her behavior was pretty good. I can honestly say that she did great last night - so many people wanted to see her and pet her, and even though she got a little antsy, she was a perfect little angel. It was good to be back.

We hope this finds everyone doing well. I can hardly believe next week is turkey day and then Christmas not too far after that. We are going to try and make it to Dodd next Thursday before going to grammie's house. Mom is on vacation next week - much needed. Getting new carpet on Monday - yea! Not especially looking forward to the sheer labor involved in moving everything off the carpet, but the old stuff is so nasty, a little elbow grease won't kill me.

Have a great week!

Nicole and the very spoiled rotten Chelsie Belle

Monday, October 29, 2007

Busy Night

Well, we made it back to work tonight. The trip last week was from hell - I did not walk into the hotel until 2:45AM Monday morning and spent 11 hrs trying to get home on Wednesday. I did not get aggravated until my bag did not show up when I got back to C-bus - then I got pretty ticked. But it was all worth it to get home to Chel - luckily for her, I had to stop at Walmart on the way home (the airline did not know where my bag was and my hair dryer was in that bag - ladies, you are with me on this one) and I got her a new toy at Walmart. The whole situation also forced me to eat for comfort, and she ended up with an empty ice cream cone from Graeter's as well.

Tonight, she was awesome - amazing from start to finish. As usual, she was very excited when we got there, whining and carrying on so. She was all ready to go - we got there and did not even have time to see what rooms were in isolation before one of the regular nurses (Kori) was yelling at us to come down to a room. It turns out it was the older gentleman we had seen the last 2 times we were there. It was an exciting day for him because he had walked with a cane. He will still be here for awhile, but his motto is "it just takes time". He told me tonight that 3 weeks ago he could not even walk with a cane. I could tell he was proud of himself.

The first room of the night tonight was my reminder room. I went down to the end of one hall - by this time, it was pretty dark. The door to the room at the very end of the hall was open, and this woman was in there laying with her stuffed animals. As someone who gets comfort from animals - stuffed and live - I immediately had a soft spot for her. I could not tell if she was awake at first, but then she quickly realized I had a dog and that I was there to see her. She was very much a dog person, and Chelsie knew it. She jumped on the chair - all be it facing the other way - and let this lady scratch her back for a long time. We did a world of good in 4096 last night.

There were a number of people tonight who wanted to see us - we were on the floor from about 6:40 to 7:50. Chelsie's attention span is about an hour, but tonight she did very well far past the shank of her hour. The unit was actually pretty full tonight - maybe only 5 or 6 empty beds. Tonight, there were many patients that had an impact on me personally.

There was one lady in a single room in a big electric wheelchair - she did not have control of her faculties, as evidenced underneath her wheelchair (all contained in the proper containers). Her portable tray was in front of her when I asked her if she wanted to see the dog, and she said yes. She bent over to try and touch Chelsie, but it was a little crammed in there - once I moved the tray and sat on the floor with Chelsie, we had a nice visit. The woman told me she had not been raised with dogs, but that her daughter had a dog and loved it - so she was trying to get more used to being around dogs. She was a nice lady that asked a lot of questions and really made an effort to touch Chelsie.

We also came across a room that is at the top of the list for "Most Mobile Patients Nicole and Chelsie Have Seen at Dodd" There was an older African Amerasian gentlemen and a 20 something baby faced guy. Our first stop was the older AA man - and he was a hoot! He was able to sit up on his own very quickly, which was nice. He appeared to be in relatively good physical condition. In our conversation, he told me he was all over the place with the grandkids - basketball, swimming , football, you name it. He ran, worked out, etc - and then one morning had a stroke and could not pick himself up off the ground. He said - Life can change like THAT! - and I left there a better person after talking with this guy. There was a man that lived life before his stroke, but will definitely live more after.

After Dodd tonight, we had to go over to the main hospital to get a volunteer shirt. All the ladies in the gift shop loved on Chelsie, and then we stopped at the information desk where more people loved on her. She is so worn out from the love she has gone to bed.

We hope this finds everyone well. We are especially grateful for the safety of the Axline and the Scott/Tom family in California, as they were affected by the horrific fires out there. Out here, we are also grateful that the Buckeyes survived yet another week with a strong showing in Nittany Lion country on Saturday night. Thankfully, they quieted the beast - and for those of you who have heard that awful cat roar, you know what I mean!!

Have a great week!

Nicole and The Chelsie Belle

Friday, October 19, 2007

No Work for us This Week....

Unfortunately, we will not be working this week. Several things came up at work, and mom had to take one for the team and go to Boston Sun-Wed. Complicating matters is that my child care is somewhere between Columbus and Rhode Island - my parents continue to be the travelers and decided they wanted to go to the East Coast for a week. Chelsie will have to spend a few days with uncle Joey and Ella - we will see if Uncle Joey gets smart and puts his trash can on a chair. If not, he will be picking up trash every night when he gets home from work at 3AM....

We hope this finds every one well. To date, we have not been skunked again, although I smelled it when I walked in the house last night from soccer and her nose still has a little eau de skunk to it. Maybe I am a little sensitive....


Nicole and The Chelsie Belle

Monday, October 15, 2007

More Skunks?? Please, no....

Well, we made it through the rest of the weekend without any more skunks. I did call Varmint Guard - they can set traps for 2 weeks, but who knows how many skunks there are?? We have about 100 oz of tomato juice and 100 oz of peroxide - and hopefully smarter mom.

Chelsie had quite a day today. Grampie came over to give her a break and called to tell me that she had done the following:

1) Sink surfing - a knife, fork and tupperware bowl were on the floor in the living room
2) TP Surfing - something she has never done before. Good thing grampie was there to save her

After a hard day's work, she then had to rest in the green and yellow bedroom - under the covers. It was necessary to throw the pillows off and pull the quilt back, so she could get under the covers to rest for her working night tonight.

Tonight, as usual, she did fantastic work. She gave the floor nurse her standard greeting by rummaging through her trash. I think we have to start going earlier - with the change in season, it is getting dark early, and tonight when we went, a lot of people were in their rooms in the dark - at 7PM. We walked back to the car in the dark, how crazy is that???

We saw a few people we saw last week. We saw the nice old lady who used to work for Iams - she was excited because she was going home on Friday, a week head of schedule. This was very, very goo news. She was up roaming the hall with her walker, and we sat in the hallway and visited. We also saw the old man who had all the pictures everywhere. His wife was sitting with him, as she was last week. This week, he was up and sitting in his wheelchair - and appeared to be more alert this week. He acknowledged Chelsie, and found one of her favorite spots - the back of her neck. She was quite happy to stand and let him scratch her neck for a few minutes. We made his day better.

My weekly lesson of who wants to see us continued again tonight. We always start at the very end of the hall and work back toward the middle - we finished the first side of the hall and went down to the other end of the hall. As I said, many rooms were dark - this room in particular was no different. There was a man sitting in a chair beside the bed, and a woman was on her side, facing away from us. She was a very large woman - not sure if she could roll over on her own. I was all set to walk by, but then one of the nurses asked the guy if he wanted to see the dog - he said yes, and told the woman a dog was here - and she wanted to see it. We moved her tray, got a chair, and Chelsie jumped in the chair so the lady could see and touch her. Chel knows dog people, and she was very content to sit for quite some time. As soon as we walked into the room, I thought to myself - this is the "lesson" room for the night. She did good work tonight - I am very proud of her.

Tomorrow, she has a play date with Bryce and then to agility. I went and watched the game with Belinda on Saturday (without Chel - B's parents were there and her nose is a little sensitive due to her "condition"!) and Bryce wanted to know where Chelsie was! It was so cute! We have not seen him that much, but he associated me with Chelsie - I was floored. Who knew the cerebral capabilities of a 2 year old??? NOT ME!!

We hope this finds everyone well. Have a great week, we will be thinking about all of you.

Nicole and the Very Beautiful Chelsie Belle

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Spoke too Soon...

I spoke too soon about the skunk. While we did not get skunked on our walk, we got skunked AGAIN in our own back yard. AGAIN at midnight..UGH. I did not have any peroxide, so I had to use tomato juice - my concoction works much better than the tomato juice. Of course, I had just washed ALL my bedding and just had the tile in the bathroom cleaned and sealed. It was spectacular.

I should also add that it decimated the back yard again. I have already let her out for the last time tonight - after stomping on the deck and yelling at the phantom skunk. And still, no little men have come to take me away.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Skunks Everywhere...

Tonight, Friday night, we went on our walk as usual. I know you all think I am nuts about the skunk thing, but tonight on our walk, we saw 2 of those little wretched varmints out roaming OUR neighborhood. Be assured we moved quickly the other way - careful not as to spook them into spraying. I should also add they came back and ripped up the middle of the front yard. Wretched varmints.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Back to work..thankfully!

Well, we made it back to the hospital tonight. While mom is still not feeling great, she did not have that miserable cold she had last week that kept us home. Just kind of tired and cranky, more than anything. But we did head on down to Dodd this evening, and as usual, I am glad we did.

It has been incredibly hot here as of late - I mean record breaking heat. I think the record today was 89 and we broke it at 91. Don't all laugh, but I guarantee you every one of us Ohio girls has our AC cranked. I talked to Chelsie's auntie Jodi last night in Reno and she said they had 2 days of snow already! I assured her we were burning up out here! I will be singing a different tune next week, it is supposed to be in the high 50's Thursday. It was toasty walking to Dodd from the car.

Chelsie spent most of the day in recovery from her agility competition this weekend, in which she performed very well - she was somewhat low key tonight. The nurses at Dodd have put little paper pumpkins outside all the rooms that say happy Halloween on them. Tonight when we got here, we were greeted by an older woman walking down the hall with a walker. She had heard one of the nurses say that the "puppy was here" so she got up to see what was going on. She was one of the more mobile people we have seen there. She petted Chel in the hall, and then we went down to the common room by the nurses station and visited there. Chel was very patient and let this woman pet her for 10 minutes. She had a chocolate lab at home who she missed very much - and she used to work from Iams. :) We ended up visiting her when we got down the hall to her room again. As usual, I knew as soon as we visited her that no matter what happened for the rest of the visit, we made a difference to one person tonight.

The rest of the night was pretty low key. One other neat thing was that in one of the rooms, the patient's 4 grand kids came to see him. I did not actually go in the room - I asked the kids if they wanted to pet the puppy and they did, so we stayed outside in the hall. But you could just see how thrilled the guy was to see the kids. There were 4 of them - a boy that looked to be 12 and three girls - if I had to guess, I would say the girls were about 8, 6 and 2. Super cute, super nice kids. Chelsie kissed the 2 year old..pretty much because she was about at eye level! She laughed and then used her dress to wipe her face. I am sure her mom loved that.

I know I have reflected on this before, but Dodd is a very difficult place to be, and family support is so important. We saw this one man tonight - older, laying in bed, sort of coherent and had a black eye (which is really somewhat irrelevant) His room was bare and empty, and I felt very sad for him. This was in sharp contrast to another room we visited later - this man's wife was sitting in there with him and there were family photos EVERYWHERE. Recent, older, kids, family, grand kids. I think he had a stroke - he could speak somewhat clearly, but the wife started asking him if seeing Chelsie made him remember their dog. Super sweet man, smiled and thanked us for visiting. The patients work so hard all day, and unquestionably, family support makes a huge difference. Again, I am reminded about how truly lucky we all are to have such strong families.

I thought you would all get a kick to know today was a very strange scent day. I walked out on the deck this morning while my precious was taking care of business, and IT hit me - that's right, skunk. For the rest of the day, my sniffer was sensitive to EVERYTHING! The smoke smell in the Immke Honda Courtesy van and at the hospital (go figure - you would be amazed at the amount of SMOKERS around the hospital!), the peanut butter when I opened my PB&J at lunch, and even the Febreze odor in my car. But thankfully, no more skunks have come into my baby angel's yard.

As usual, we hope this finds everyone doing well. We are well, and headed to bed soon. I am hopeful I can convince Chelsie mom needs a few minutes of cuddle time, but cuddle time has not been high on her list, so I might have to talk my trusty old teddy into some cuddle time.

Take care everyone and have a great week.


Nicole and the Chelsie Belle

Monday, October 1, 2007

No work tonight for me....

Hello all,

We did not work tonight. Mom is sick - and has been since last Thursday. I had not been feeling well since Tuesday, but Thursday this thing just morphed into misery. I have been self exorcising with Nyquil and Sudafed - about the best I can say is that I sleep quite soundly at night! I still feel like crap, and it made no sense to go to the hospital tonight. I did not walk in the walk and I did not play soccer - both of which should tell you how poorly I feel. Of course, though, I have been sucking it up and going to work. If however, Friday comes and I do not feel better, I am going to give in and stay home. Who knows, maybe I will even call a doctor. My poor father walked into my house on Thursday night to find me in a heap on the couch...I quickly assured him I just had a cold - at which point he inquired if I knew what a doctor was for. For those of you that did not know, I got the privilege of flying on the company jet on Thursday to Chicago - from OSU airport. My commute was 2 min to the airport, no security and we just got on the plane and left! Long and short of it, I did not have an opportunity to call the doctor on Thursday.

Chel did well this weekend - her handler is an idiot, but she did fine. She and her friend Grant, the Australian Shepherd (Aussie for short) are both looking for new moms after this weekend. They were great, their moms sucked. Thankfully, it is dogs we are talking about here, and we all know they love unconditionally. I did feel well enough to take the precious, beautiful and gorgeous baby angel for a walk tonight, and she appreciated that. I am going to see if I can talk her into cuddling for a bit - tonight's dose of Nyquil is kicking in.

We hope this finds the rest of the world doing well.


Nicole and The Chelsie Belle, who is looking for a new mom

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday Morning Update

We managed to get to bed last night without getting skunked. You can be sure mommy looked outside for varmints prior to sending the baby angel outside for her bedtime potty trip...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Will we get skunked tonight?????

Dear god, I hope not. Last Monday night was the night that damn skunk crossed the line. I mean, it is one thing to eat my yard and leave me your mess, but when you cross the line and spray the baby angel....she still has a little eau de skunk on her snout, but you have to grab it and pull it close to smell it. She sucked up the sympathy tonight at the hospital - "Oh, you poor thing" "What did your mommy do to help you?" "Did you let her out of the yard?" No, that stupid skunk sprayed her in her own yard. You can bet tonight before bed that mommy will check for such varmints. I did have a grub application put down (which we think is what the skunks were going after) and I have not seen or smelled them since.

Tonight the house was empty, yet somehow, we managed to take over an hour to see maybe 6-7 patients. I thought we might be heading down to three tonight for the first time, but we did not. There were MAYBE 15 patients, 2 of them in isolation, so really only about 13 for us to see. Plus, today must have been a difficult day in therapy, many of the patients were already asleep.

The first patient we saw had some trouble breathing, to the point his wife asked for a breathing treatment. He was having issue coughing and swallowing - thus he was having issues talking and breathing. He had an apparatus that he used to for suction to help him clear his lungs - Chel was very interested in that. She was also interested in his feeding tube - I told her to leave that alone, he needed it more than she did. Although the man could not speak, he was happy to see Chelsie - but when he reached for his magazine, I took the hint he had enough. We were at the nurses station when his wife asked for a breathing treatment. The nurse was awesome - I think we can arrange that. She called the doctor right away, and when we were visiting, she came in and listened to his breathing said, yep, that would help and that a treatment was on the way.

Tonight, we also visited with Mr. Frasca. I was in his room last week and his daughter looked very familiar - she actually works at Cardinal! We had a very nice visit. Tonight, we had an extensive discussion about landscape, varmints and other related topics. We were probably in there for about 20 minutes - he is a very nice man. He was a dog person - Chel sat still for about 15 minutes and he was petting her the whole time. He was getting some oxygen, and she was very interested in the tubing. She was also very interested in giving him kisses. I told him to watch out, that when she gave kisses and was excited, she tended to nibble at ears. For those of you that don't know, my little baby angel is an ear eater. When she gets excited, she jumps up and nibbles at my ears - usually during a period of intense kisses. She gets you right in the ear with her front teeth - actually really hurts. The first few times I could not believe it, but mom has finally caught on = "get off me you ear eater" is a common phrase in our house.

This weekend is a big weekend - we are walking in the JDRF walk to support Megan Boedicker. Last year, her team was the biggest family team in the walk at 104 walkers, raising over $16,000. We are also running in our first AKC agility trial! We have run in a couple of other trials, but this will be our first AKC. I feel pretty good - she has been running well in the competition class over the past few weeks. Last week, grammie and grampie came and watched. The competition class has a lot of "excellent" level dogs in it, so we run courses at an excellent level in class, while our competition this weekend will be at a novice level. I am hoping we can quickly complete our novice titles and move on to "open", the next level up. One of the girls from our club is representing the US in Norway at the AKC agility championships - last year, she and her dog "Guess" and Sheltie, brought home a silver medal. Go get em Jenn and Guess!

On a high note, Adele Tom is doing very well, so that was really, really good news!!!

Chel and I hope this finds everyone doing well. And if we get skunked tonight, trust me you will know very shortly!!

Nicole and the ear eating Chelsie Belle

Monday, September 10, 2007

Back to Work...FINALLY!!

After three weeks off, little Chelsie Belle finally returned to work tonight. The first week we missed because of the rain - no way I was taking 70 lbs of wet dog in there. I was out of town the week after that, and last weekend was Labor Day and we were at grammie and grampie's celebrating uncle Joey's birthday. Mom had been off for so long she almost forgot how to dress Chelsie!

As usual, Chelsie was the star of the 4th floor. "Oh, the doggie is here, hi Chelsie, we have missed you!" She of course, acts like NO ONE pays attention to her at home - all of you out there know better. I kept my promise to her of not cutting her nails on Monday night, even though the really need it...

Tonight was a low key night. I was reminded again not to jump to conclusions about who may or may not want me to visit. In the first room, there was an older lady laying in the dark - I was pretty sure she would not want a visit - looked a little frail and also like she was settling down. But she wanted to see the dog, and was thrilled when I put Chelsie in a chair by her bed. I think she had a stroke - we were on her left and she reached across to pet Chel with her right hand. She liked Chelsie's ears - they are very soft. Mommy loves Chelsie's ears too. :) As usual, the visit was worth it after the first room, I know that visit made her day better. At any rate, I was reminded not to guess whether or not anyone wanted to see us.

Thankfully, Mr. Dillon was not there. That would have been a huge blow to him, if he had. We saw another man who had a similar device implanted for his heart. There was no chair in that room, and she was quite interested in his device - I told her to get out there, I was afraid she would disconnect it or something. Her ears were all perked up as she was sniffing it, and I was frantically telling her NO and pulling her back. I am not permitted to use my choke collar during her visits, and tonight was the first night I really would have liked it! Fortunately, the man was sitting up because he needed to get to the facilities and the nurse came to help him.

The nurses in Dodd Hall are very special people - they do some nursing stuff, but they are more caretakers than anything. Most of these people need help bathing, using the restroom, moving, etc and the nurses are so patient. I am sure many of the patients are crabby - they work very hard in therapy all day and are usually exhausted by the end of the day. They help the patients shower, and have the patients take turns because they can't manage them all in one night before the patients fall asleep. These nurses do much different things than the nurses on the Transplant floor of Rhodes 9. Sharon continues to do well, although she has spent one more night in the hospital since her episode in June.

On another note, please keep my friends Kirk and Courtney in your prayers. Their 10 day old son, Seth Ryan, born 13 weeks early on 8/30, passed away on Saturday evening. I will be attending the memorial service tomorrow night. Please also continue your prayers for the Scott/Tom family. Adele is continuing her treatment, and handling it well. We are reminded once again how fragile and precious life it, so let's be sure to spend as much time as possible with those we care about.

We hope this finds everyone well.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Bad Blogging Mom!!!

Well, I hope everyone does not think that Chel has been a slacker and not working - I have been a slacker and not been blogging. Mom has just been too tired. Tonight, it was so miserably hot and humid outside we almost stayed home. Mom sweated and Chelsie was panting by the time we got to the 4th floor of Dodd. My primary concern about tonight was that it would be very hot for little Belle in the patient rooms. Sometimes, it is very hot in the patients rooms, and with it being so hot outside, I was afraid it would be too much for her. But she was a champ, as usual. She still had energy when we got home, but there was NO WAY we were going out. To get back at me, she emptied her toy box.

Tonight, we had a first - a patient who was a prisoner. When I first got there, Barb, the nurse coordinator, said not to go in 4098. They could not tell me why (patient confidentiality) but said I would figure it out once I got there "trust them". So of course, we go down that wing of the hall, and I see the corrections officer sitting there. I know it is not Christian like, but I had to laugh. Suffice to say, we did not visit that patient. I don't think it would have mattered, this man was very "experienced" if you know what I mean (he was an old man).

One of the patients I don't know that I have written about is Jerry. Jerry is about a 30-40 man, I think he has cerebral palsy. He is a very nice guy - his body is somewhat shriveled up, and up until last week, he had a cast on his left leg. He has trouble speaking, but if you are patient and just listen, it is actually pretty easy to understand him. The last 2 weeks have not been good weeks for him, he has been in a lot of pain and the reason why is a mystery. He is supposed to go home on Wednesday, but he is not sure if he is going to go to his parents house or to his apartment (he lives in assisted living). He also runs a business, and has been away from his business for awhile. He finds this very frustrating. I think he enjoyed our company. I really hope they can manage his pain for him - as it stands, right now he is unable to use his walker. Keep Jerry in your prayers - he is a favorite among the staff. He was the first patient we saw last week, nurse Kori said to come with her, she knew someone who would want to see us.

Another patient I have not written about is Mr. Dillon. Mr. Dillon has been up here since the end of April, most of it in the Ross Heart Hospital. He told me tonight he weighed 237 lbs when he first came, but he certainly does not weigh that now, he is about 160. Today was a good day, he walked about 600 feet, which is huge. He is going to be transferred back to an assisted living facility in Upper Sandusky on Friday. He was quite happy to see us tonight, and little Belle was very cooperative and sat nicely in the chair for her pets. Mr. Dillon thanked us and said he would always remember us - he was in tears when we left.

All in all, I am glad we went, as I knew I would be. For some reason, I am quite exhausted this evening - I think it was playing soccer in the heat and humidity both days this weekend. After we got home, I sat on the couch and have not gotten up all night - not even to make my lunch for tomorrow. Bedtime is coming shortly for mom. The little princess has gone to bed herself, on the couch next to me, she is resting up for agility tomorrow.

We hope this finds everyone doing well. Please keep the Tom/Scott family in your prayers, as Adele Tom was diagnosed with lung cancer this week. The family is staying positive, and she is beginning treatment this week.


Nicole and the Chelsie Belle

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

First, Chelsie wanted me to tell everyone what happened to her last week. She went to the dreaded "doggie camp" while her family went on vacation. We went to Myrtle Beach to celebrate Bill and Maggie's 40th wedding anniversary, and had a great time. Unfortunately, since grammie and grampie were on vacation with us, all three puppies got shuttled off to camp. As usual, mom made grammie be the bad guy - she dropped all three off at camp. Of course, then mom was the hero and picked up all three from camp. Tonight, when her grammie and grampie came over, she stayed VERY close to mom, despite reassurances from grammie that she was not going to take her anywhere. For those of you that think dogs don't remember, you have not seen my little baby angel in action. She wanted no part of grammie tonight - I told her it was not nice, it hurt grammie's feelings, but she did not care.

Amazingly, she made a full recovery today - although I think she was a very vocal girl at camp. I had a new TV installed today, and she gave a really pathetic bark when they came to the door. I laughed, it was so pathetic.

Despite the hot weather, we trooped off to Dodd Hall tonight, where there was a MAD game of bingo going on in the TV room on the 4th floor. Chelsie greeted the nurse coordinator in her usual manner, by scrounging on the floor to see if she dropped anything. It looked as though most of the people were in playing bingo, so I was not sure how our visits would go. Only one room was in isolation, so off we went.

Overall, it was a pretty successful night. We ran into lots of "friends" tonight - the old man we saw a few weeks ago with the leg amputation remembered us and asked us how our vacation was. Chelsie sat in a chair for about 15 minutes and let him pet her. He asked the strangest question tonight - I was speechless, actually. (Please, no comments from the peanut gallery) He asked me what I was going to do with her when she died - I was a little confused by the question, and his roommate yelled at him for asking such a question. I then learned his wife and 2 sharpeis were on the mantle in urns. I responded I did not know and that hopefully it would not be an issue for many years. We also spent time with his roommate, and I was thankful that he interjected. I was kind of weirded out by it, actually.

On another note, we also saw Bob - golden retriever Buddy Bob. We were walking by a room and I looked in and when he sat up, I immediately recognized him! Apparently he had been in another facility, but was back in Dodd - and missing Buddy - for another 2 weeks. Chelsie jumped on Bob's bed and he thought that was great. Bob is the only person I have given bed privileges to Chelsie - most of the patients are too immobile. But Bob likes it a lot, and I know it does a world of good for him.

Not sure what we did all night, but by the time we ended up back in the bingo room, we had been there for over an hour. I went into the bingo room, and had a few takers. By that point, my little precious had enough and I told her we could go home. On our way out, she gave one last final dose of therapy to the parking ticket attendant. We go to the same lady every week - usually she is inside her little booth, but tonight she was outside cleaning. She came right up to the car and Chelsie planted a big one right on her face - she loved it. She got a final hug after we turned in our ticket.

And finally, it is off to bed for my little working girl. She is resting comfortably in her "spot" on the bed, paws and body with a slight curl. This is the sign of one exhausted puppy.

We hope everyone is doing well and staying cool in this miserable heat!

Love, Nicole and the Chelsie Belle

Monday, June 25, 2007

One Final Note...

Mommy got smart and picked up the trash can this week. No corn cobs chewed up and spit out all over the floor or carrot peelings and corn shucks on the floor. She might have been lab stew if I came home to another mess..

MUCH Better Night....

Well, tonight was a MUCH better night than last Monday night...for a whole bunch of reasons. First and foremost, aunt Sharon is home and is feeling better. Last Monday night was by far the worst period of her illness. She snapped out of it on Tuesday, thankfully and began to improve greatly. On Tuesday night, I again took the Truth down there to see her. When we got in the room, Truth ran over to the bedside and was so very excited to see her mom. I had to pull her back to get the harness off her so she could jump on the bed. She has become somewhat of a twit about jumping in the car in her harness, but I think last Tuesday she would have overcome her grievance about that if she had to. We helped Sharon get a shower and it was all uphill from there. She was able to come home Thursday - after being diagnosed with e-coli. Still not sure where it came from or if she was run down and her body just could not fight it off. She is still tired, but very happy to be home. And the rest of us were relieved the doctors were able to find out what it was - at the worst of it last Monday night, they did not know the origin of the illness. Thankfully in all this, her kidney continue to "kick butt" as it had for the past 7 years, and despite the rest of her body being ill, her kidney was just fine.

Chelsie was fantastic tonight - I am a little worried she might not be feeling well. She actually walked on her short lead like a civilized canine being and kept the whining to a minimum tonight. She was civilized on her leash to and from the car. Mom was very happy - hopefully she will remember this behavior.

We managed to do it again - leave 2 people in tears. One room was this middle aged guy, it seemed as though he had a stroke. He spoke very slowly and seemed to drool somewhat. I asked him if he wanted to come in, and he said yes. As I was moving the chair next to his bed, he all of a sudden started crying and saying how much he missed his dogs. I asked him if having us there was too upsetting, but he said no. We had a real nice visit for about 15 minutes before little angel belle got restless. But she kept the whining to a minimum, which was very nice. She even gave him her paw twice and he thought that was pretty cool. I told the nurse we might have made him a little emotional - turns out it was the nurse who was emotional last week. Her parents had to put their little Sheltie down and did not tell the kids because of final week. She was doing better this week.

We met some really nice people tonight. The first lady liked pets, but from a distance, so Chelsie laid down outside her door while I talked to her. She was a very good girl to lay down. We saw Margaritaville man's room, and his niece and nephews were there, and they got to see the dog. The grandmother said they would be afraid of the dog, but I put Chel in a down and they all stepped up and petted her - very carefully. Another man was an older gentleman with his daughter in the room. I took her in there, and he was able to arrange himself in bed to get up and see her. The nurses were there and they asked him if he wanted help sitting up in bed - he said he would try on his own and the nurses were very happy with his efforts. They gave him a little extra help and he was quite comfortable. Chelsie then jumped up in a chair and sat next to his bed, and the guy thought that was just the greatest thing. We were there for about an hour and 20 minutes tonight, which is a long time, however, she was still going strong. It took us about an hour to get down one side of the hall tonight, but very few people were interested in seeing us on the other side. By that time it was getting to be after 8, and a lot of people are usually dozing by then. Therapy is very intensive and I think most of those poor people are worn out by then. Chelsie was usually worn out by then too. :)

And, finally, on our way out, we made baby Laura cry. She was in the parking garage with her parents (who were chain smoking - at least her mother was) and apparently loved doggies. She was "just but 9 months old" according to her mother and put everything in her mouth, but her mother "reckoned that all kids near that age did done do the same thing". Chelsie stuck her nose under the stroller and Laura did not flinch. We spoke for a few minutes - her parents were really nice. Spoke like they was from the South but dressed like Marilyn Manson. It was an interesting combination. When we said good night, she watched us walk away, spit out her bink, and threw a tantrum. And that my friends, was how our evening ended.

She was fabulous tonight - did a lot of great work. We made a difference tonight. Mom told her she was a SUPER good puppy. After her hour of hard work, she is resting comfortably on the corner of the couch. The pet spray to keep them off the furniture does not work, as I have saturated these couches down here in and both animals were still on it tonight...

Next week mommy will be in Myrtle Beach celebrating grammie and grampie's 40th wedding anniversary, which is next Sunday. Chelsie will go to doggie camp for the week at Dr. Tami's - grammie has even agreed to be the bad guy and take her. Camp is not really a fun place for the baby angel, but I guarantee MB will be fun for the mama! She will survive!

I hope this finds everyone having a good summer. I still have aspirations of going to CP's house to live on the otter pop diet and have a fun day, every day, but until then, I will have to get creative and plan my own fun activities. MB is a good start. Take care and look for my next post on Monday, July 9.


Nicole and the Chelsie Belle

Monday, June 18, 2007

Rough night....all the way around

Tonight was quite the night. It is 9:46 PM and I am absolutely exhausted.

Chelsie's first patient tonight was none other than..her aunt Sharon. On Saturday night, aunt Sharon all of a sudden got very sick, and on Sunday, discretion was the better part of valor and she went to the hospital. As we were going down to OSU anyway, I took Truth and Larry down to see her. Truth missed her mom and her mom missed her - it was a happy reunion. Chelsie and I went to Dodd Hall after we dropped them off.

Sharon is pretty sick. All of her anti rejection drugs leave her immune system very compromised, so she is susceptible once she gets sick. As a transplant patient (2 kidney, 1 Pancreas) she requires a little different care, so she is in the transplant unit at OSU. After seeing her tonight, she is where she needs to be.

We had a good night at Dodd tonight. There were a lot of patients, and a lot of them wanted us to stop in and see them. The last room of the night was the roughest one. I walked in there, and this lady said "Bring this baby in here!" So I did, and the patient was getting up to get out of bed. She took one look at Chelsie and got down on the floor with her and started crying. I looked up in a panic and asked if I should leave - the lady said no, no. I got down on the floor with her and she laid down and let this lady pet her. THEN, I looked up and the nurse was bawling - apparently her dog passed yesterday, so of course, she was upset. I can't blame her - I was upset because both of them were crying. Thankfully, it was the last room of the night.

She did such great work tonight - we met all kinds of interesting people. The first lady we met was nice lady - of Japanese descent, she told us - who was quite grateful to see Chelsie. We probably met the funniest patient in our time tonight. His family had made his room "Margaritaville" but as the patient said, without the margaritas. They were all very nice, and very much enjoyed our visit.

Another patient that was memorable was an African American man and his wife. I am never sure how African Americans will react to Chelsie - I find they are most consistently afraid of dogs, so I try to be respectful of that. But this man and his wife were not. This guy had very obviously had a stroke, but worked very hard to enunciate his words, and most of the time I was able to understand him. They had a pit bull at home named Kane, who was a big baby. They said that if someone came in the house, he would be like "come on in!" I said they must be related to Chelsie - I am pretty sure she would be like "come on in, sit down, my mom said it is OK". We spent about 15 min with them and they were nice people.

On another note, today Chelsie was NOT A GOOD PUPPY at home. She went dumpster diving - and in the dumpster were corn shucks, corn cobs and carrot peelings. You can imagine the mess, and she knew she was bad. Mommy still loves her. :)

Hope this finds everyone well. I need to go pass out.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Back at It

After taking a week off to celebrate Memorial Day, we headed back to see our friends at Dodd Hall. The day was a lot cooler than it has been, which was nice. It was a little windy outside, but the longer it stays cooler, the better. Sometimes the patient's rooms can really stuffy.

She did well again tonight. Although it seemed as though there was a full house, we had a few people in contact isolation and a lot of doors closed. Both our deaf lady and Bob seemed to be gone, which is a very good thing for both of them.

Now that I think about it, we really only saw probably about 10 patients tonight, but spent a fair amount of time with each of the ones we saw. The first patient we saw was actually a very sick lady - she told me she had cancer, which was pretty obvious. She had a pretty good sized U shape scar above her right ear as well. We talked about her pets - she was pretty straight forward in telling me she wished it was her dog that was here instead of Chel. I can't blame her - I know I would want my little puppy if I were in her shoes. She was trying to avoid germs, so she did not pet Chelsie. She seemed to enjoy our visit.

Our last visit of the night was with the wife of a patient who was in contact isolation. Apparently they had a farm out near Marysville, and her husband used to hunt. She told me all about her dogs, and Chelsie really took to her. She bent down to pet Chelsie, and Chelsie went after her ear..I had to tell her, Get down you crazy ear eater! She wagged her body and walked around in circles while this lady scratched her butt. What a life.

She is now upstairs resting. Mom is off to make her lunch and freeze little Belle's peanut butter kong. What a life. I hope everyone is well.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Slow Night...sort of

Well, it was a close one, but we managed to make it to the hospital tonight. Instead of eating a bee this week, she overdid it at Barkpark in the pond on Saturday and had a sore tail. When I got home on Sunday from the ball game, she was running around with her tail between her legs and could not sit down. All signs of a sore tail. She managed to recover yesterday and today, and I decided she was OK to go. She has to be able to sit to go to the hospital - "Sit" is the command I use to regain control of her if necessary.

Tonight was sort of a slow night at the hospital, but it did manage to take us an hour to get up and down the halls of the 4th floor. We did see our friend Bob again, he was not feeling so great tonight. He did not get to see Buddy this weekend, apparently his daughters had a soccer tourney and they kept winning, and were not able to bring him up. He does have a D-date though, which is June 5th and he is very excited about that. Apparently he saw 2 other therapy dogs after Chelsie last week, so it was a decent dog week for him. He was looking a little sad until we walked in, and perked up when Chelsie sat in the chair next to his bed. He was one of our last visits of the night, so we spent a little more time with him.

We did not get to see our lady that lost her hearing, she had gone off to have an MRI shortly before we got there. This was incredibly disappointing - she really likes Chelsie, all the nurses walking around her room tell me that when they see us. Sort of a bummer, but on a good note, I think she has been given a D-Date too of 5/31. She is probably one of those people I will never forget. Everyone has a story, and I just wonder how her story will go on. I can hardly stand being away from Chelsie, can you all imagine what it will be like when I have to leave my kid somewhere??

The west wing of Dodd is where our old man whose grandsons drew pictures for him is. I don't think he was having a particularly good night tonight either. I was not sure he was still here because the pictures were off the door. Apparently, he had some sort of relapse - he was supposed to go home, but was unable to. I know Chelsie lifted his spirits, and I think I might have too. I was teasing him about causing trouble and raising a ruckus in the halls, and he told Chelsie not to talk to me. His grandsons were up yesterday and one of them dug through this stuff to find the pictures they drew and put them back up - this time they are on the bathroom door so he can see them at all times. He is quite and old character. I will miss him when he is gone - hopefully tonight was the last night we saw him.

Our last patient of the night was yet another old man. This guy was 81, and his wife and daughter were there with him. He wanted to know if Chelsie brought him any chewing tobacco and whether or not she had a bottle of brandy around her neck. I said no to both, and laughed. They were a very nice family - he asked me if she was a bird dog and told me he could undo 5 years of training in 2 days. Funny thing, there is no doubt in my mind he could, and would enjoy every minute of it. I told him he and his buddy across the hall were quite the pair, that if that side of the hall went up in flames, I would know who did it. If all goes well, we will not see him again either, he is scheduled to go home on Thursday.

I hope this entry finds everyone well, we are doing quite well. After a hard day's work of kong chasing, supervising some yard work , working at the hospital and going on her walk with Truth the guide dog (who was NOT a good dog tonight because she ate the cat food) Chelsie is relaxed and ready for bed. How do I know she is relaxed, you ask? Well, when she is relaxed she is very....flatulent. And it is killing me right now. On that note, take care and we hope to see and hear from everyone soon!


Nicole and the Chelsie Belle

Monday, May 14, 2007

What about Bob?

Tonight was quite the night. The weather outside was absolutely gorgeous, and Chelsie was very excited to get her jacket on and get in the car. Mom put all the windows down for her, and she was in pure dog heaven - sitting in the middle of the back seat with the breeze blowing on her. Sometime over the past three days she ate a bee - or at least tried to. I have seen her trying to snag a bee out of the air, and told her she would be sorry if she ever did. A few days ago, I noticed her right lip was fat and swollen. It appears the damage was minimal and confined to her lip, and that she is on the mend.

We were 15 minutes late getting up to the 4th floor. We encountered a patient outside who wanted to pet Chel, and she obliged him. He was a floor 3 patient - it was obvious he had some sort of back injury because he was wearing a rather large back brace, but he was able to walk with a walker and get around. While not in great shape, he was in good enough shape to be walking on his own. Anyway, he was somewhat disappointed we would not be coming to three, but I explained to him that the brain injury patients were sometimes impulsive and yelled, which was not a good situation for the dog. He seemed OK with that and thought he was rather lucky to be downstairs when we came in. We also saw someone else from the 3rd floor (family) and they wanted to pet Chel also. So we were 15 min late.

We got to three and Chelsie gave the nurse coordinator her standard greeting - by scrounging through her trash. The house was pretty full tonight, with only three patients in isolation. Sadly, one of the isolation patients was one of the ones who really enjoyed Chelsie's visit last week. Thankfully, the curtain was pulled in her room, so hopefully she did not see or hear Chelsie, I know she would have been disappointed. Maybe next week.

Upon our arrival, one of the floor nurses told me she thought she had someone who would really like a visit. His name was Bob, and it turns out he has a 2 year old golden retriever named Buddy at home, who he misses dearly. Bob was probably in his late forties, and had a stroke; he had been at Dodd since last Friday. Apparently he had a stroke 5 years ago as well. Bob was divorced 2 years ago, and got Buddy after his divorce. As the nurse was unsure if Bob would want to see the dog, I had her go in there and ask him; the answer was yes, please bring her in here. Off we trooped to Bob's room, and within the first few seconds we were in there, I knew that Chelsie had done her job for the night, regardless of whether or not anyone else wanted to see us. He lit up when we walked in - said hi to Chel, told her she was a pretty girl, a good girl and asked her to shake. For the first time in her life, Chelsie held up her paw while she was standing up. At that point, he just teared and told me how much he missed his dog Buddy - told me all about what a good dog he was, how energetic he was and that his daughters were going to bring Buddy down to see him this weekend. (He will be visiting Buddy in the courtyard - there is a pretty nice courtyard in back of Dodd, between the University hospital and Dodd) Bob was waiting for us in his wheelchair, and thanks to the class we had, Chel had no fear of the wheelchair and walked right up to him. I was eternally grateful for that training tonight - I think if he could have, Bob would have invited her on to his lap. As it was, she sat on his bed for a few minutes so she could be eye level with him. I know our visit to Bob did him a world of good. I think we will see him next week - he was there for 3 weeks when he had his previous stroke, and he is hoping to be in for only 2 weeks this time. Let's hope so, so that he can get home to Buddy.

We also saw the lady who had the baby and lost her hearing. She was quite glad to see Chelsie also. I pulled her bed table away and got the chair as close to the bed as I could. I think she is seriously lacking some sort of touch - human, animal, anything. I think she wanted Chelsie to jump on the bed and sit with her, but she is too frail for that and can't hear. Chelsie did stand up and got face to face (with a few kisses in there I think - which mommy does NOT like) so that was good. I wish she had been a little more interactive with this lady, because I think it would be really good for her. But she was glad to see Belle and I tonight.

Our old man whose grandsons had drawn him the pictures was still there - causing trouble in the halls, raising a ruckus and picking on his nurses. He is a nice old man, I hope he goes home soon.

It took us over an hour to get down one side of Dodd 4, which turned out to be OK. Two of the isolation rooms were in the other side of the hall, and by the time we got there, many had drifted off and others did not want to see us. I guess that is further proof that everything works out OK.

On our way out to the car, we encountered 2 year old John, out wandering around with his dad (and had on these bright blue Nike shoes!). He was quite interested in the doggie, who laid down nicely for him to pet her. In the end, John decided he was not into petting the doggie - apparently, the neighbors have a border collie who jumps on him and knocks him down.

I was a bad mommy and did not feed the little angel before we went tonight. For all her hard work, she was rewarded with dinner and lots of praise from mom. She is resting comfortably on the couch next to me, after dispensing email advice to her 10 week old friend, black lab puppy Shelby (she was telling Shelby to oblige her humans when they want to hold her and only chew on what they give her).

On a final note, my softball Buckeyes will be hosting a regional this weekend here in Columbus. The weather is supposed to be beautiful, and they have been playing well as of late. So...on that note, have a great week and of course, GO BUCKS!

Love, Nicole and the Chelsie Belle

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

My new blog...

At the encouragement of a very dear friend of mine, I have created this blog to document our weekly therapy dog visits to Dodd Hall. I might add this particular friend of mine took great joy in reading my Asia blog, especially the enrty about the grouper staring me in the face all through lunch. I should also add she volunteers with one of her dogs in the same capacity as Chelsie and I do - only Keyton is much better at playing up "look how smart and handsome I am". There is really no arguing with him though, he is a beautiful dog.

As many of you know, Chelsie and I are certified as a therapy dog team through Therapy Dogs International, based in NJ. To get certified, Chelsie and I took a class that was not only geared toward the certification test, but toward our therapy visits as well. The class introduced us to wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, loud noises, etc, which has proven to be very valuable. In our work at Dodd Hall, we encounter many of these items.

For those of you not familiar with Dodd Hall, it is a nationally renowned rehabilitation center. Patients at Dodd are those patients well enough to be released from acute care hospitals, but not well enough to be home yet. Dodd 3 is where the spinal cord and traumatic brain injury patients are, while Dodd 4 is where the general population is. We volunteer on Dodd 4, as the brain injury patients can be impulsive and yell at people - not an ideal situation to say the least. Mom is perfectly fine with staying on the 4th floor.

From the outside, Dodd does not look like much. However, there is a lot packed in that building. There are several rooms where patients complete rehab during the day, with the main room being on the first floor. There are all the things you would expect to see in such a place, with a few other things as well:

1) Kitchen - many people have to re-learn how to do normal every day tasks such as cooking, washing dishes, etc. Rehab specialists oversee this in the full kitchen on Dodd 1.
2) Laundry - another task many patients have to re-learn. Right next to the kitchen is a washer and dryer.
3) Fully equipped apartment living - If patients are going home by themselves, they must first show they can function on their own. To ensure the patients will be safe, there is an apartment situated on the first floor where patients will go and live for a few days to show the therapists they are capable of being on their own.

The volunteer process at OSU is a long process. First, I had to take Chelsie to meet one of the volunteer coordinators. We are what is known as "Pet Pals". Once it was established that we were indeed fit to be pet pals, the process began. I had to attend a few meetings and was subjected a background check equivalent to something someone seeking classified information must go through. By the time the meetings and background checks took place, nearly 9 mos had passed and TDI was wondering why I had not been out on visits.

Anyway, suffice to say, we have been volunteering now for about 2 mos. Every Monday night, I get her little red jacket and her special collar with her therapy dog tag and off we go. Up to Dodd 4, where Barb, the nurse coordinator greets us. Chelsie greets her by sniffing the trash for leftovers, in true scrounging form. We figure out who is in isolation (we cannot go in those rooms) and who we know would not be up for this and then we take a walk up and down the floor.

Even though we have been doing this for only a few mos, I know we have made a difference in people's lives. There was one girl in particular this last time who was very taken with Chelsie. Apparently, she had a baby about 4 mos ago, and something went very, very wrong. It was obvious she had brain surgery - the front of her head was shaved and you could see where the scar had healed (staple marks had healed also). Somehow in all of this, she had lost her hearing as well, so the only way you could communicate with her was to write everything down. The attendant told me she was not sure how much she had seen the baby since this happened, however, I did notice a picture of a baby on her bed table. We spent quite a bit of time with her, and one of the nurses commented that it was nice to see her happy, she usually was not. Further proof we should not take pregnancy and the birth of a healthy child for granted. Or the health of the mother, for that matter.

People were in a good mood the other night. We went into one room where the lady said she had always seen these dogs on TV, but never thought one would visit her. We proved her wrong. The first room of the night heard us coming and was just thrilled. In that room is a lady we have seen for the past three weeks, and unfortunately, we will probably be seeing her again. Not wanting to insult anyone, we hope we only see them once. That is a luxury many of them wish for but seldom achieve.

There was an older gentleman we have seen for the last 2 weeks who was a real spitfire. His grand kids drew pictures for his, which he has posted on his door and is very proud of. We went back to one of the first rooms we visited at the end of our night - they were eating when we first got there, but wanted to see the dog so we came back. There was yet another gentlemen who was going home the next day and was thrilled to have a dog come visit him. So many different stories...

At any rate, I hope you all enjoy out stories. This is our way of making a difference.


Nicole and the Chelsie Belle