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