Josie smiling

Josie smiling
One ear up and one ear trademark look

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Back to our Hospital Visits

Well, after being sick with Strep Throat and Sinusitis the last two weeks in December (talk about timing for the holidaze) we finally are up to going back to the hospital. Our first trip back was Saturday, January 16th to visit Pediatrics. WHAT A GREAT VISIT!! Susi and PJ (that's a picture of PJ up above) joined us too. We were there for 2 hours and boy, did it feel good to be back. Josie was beaming and doing her best to cheer up the kids. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing her lying on the bed with a little one and watching them pet her and seeing the child's eye's light up with excitement. They really seem to forget they are in a hospital. One little girl we visited, was so funny. We let both dogs, PJ and Josie, up on the bed and we made a sandwich out of the little girl. Meaning one dog on one side and one dog on the other. You could tell the little girl was in heaven. Her mom took a video of the scene on her phone. What's weird is it's not exhausting at all. Josie and I could do it for hours. As soon as Josie sees me get my blue volunteer jacket, she perks up and starts heading for the door. It's so cool.

Then on Sunday, after loads of laundry, we headed out to the hospital again. This time, Josie and I hit the Telemetry Floor, one of the Surgical Floors (there are 2 of them), and the Oncology Floor. We met a young man in Oncology who missed his dog so much. So we stayed with him for about 1/2 an hour. It was pretty funny though. I went to Oncology and asked the Charge Nurse if she knew of any patients that I could visit. They had been very busy that day. The young man's sister heard me ask and asked if I could visit with him. So I asked the Charge Nurse if that would be okay. She said "Yes". So I walked with her to see her brother. When she opened the door there were about 15 people in the room. Talk about love. I could feel the love for this young man. Boy did he smile when he saw Josie. She got up on the bed and laid next to him and they both fell asleep. I said I would come back tomorrow. Which I did.

So on Monday, which was a holiday, I wasn't off work, but I took a mental health day. Then work called and woke me up. Typical, you know. I helped them over the phone. By then, it was 1:00, so I decided to take a shower and get to the hospital for a visit. Josie had been sleeping right next to me all morning like the lovebug she always is. So we got to the Hospital about 3:00. Which was great because we could visit with some of the day staff. See, I usually get there after 4:00. Most of the day staff, leave by 4:30 and I don't usually see them, but since I got there early, I got to see them. I stopped in to see the Volunteer Office staff. Woof! Woof! Which I love to do. And I got to stop in to see the Daytime Mother/Baby Nurses which I also love to do. Hey, Nurses need Pet Therapy too. Whenever I visit a floor, I always visit the nurses or residents/doctors. Never neglect your Nurses! Or Doctors...or staff for that matter. Then we proceeded to a different Surgical Unit than the other day. Well, we had an absolutely fabulous visit. We did not get out of there until 7:30. I met a Vietnam War Vet Charlie, who was so happy to see us. He was loving Josie. I met a whole family hanging around their mom, who was so excited to see Josie. I met these two guys in one room Nick and George who were so much fun, I almost forgot I was in a hospital. Nick was so enamored with Josie, he was kissing her and hugging her, and she just sat there and grinned and gave love back to Nick. I got to hear stories about their dogs at home and they called their wives so they could tell them they had a Therapy Dog in their room with them. They were so happy that I came by with Josie. The Charge Nurse came in and said, "We were just talking about you and hoping you'd be visiting soon." How's that for timing?

We also visited on Tuesday night too. That night we visited the Diabetic/Metabolic Unit. Again, a very successful rewarding visit. Josie spreading the love wherever she goes. I would say 99.9% of the time people want her to visit. I just knock on the door and say "Hi, would you like a visit from a Pet Therapy Dog?". Sometimes the people light up instantly and say "OH YES". Those are the best. But sometimes, people are like "Dog? What?" and I have to repeat myself and make myself clear and I point to Josie and then they light up. But there is always the .1% that says "Oh No Thank You." or "I'm not a dog person." and I completely respect and understand that decision and I move on. But I always give everyone a chance.

Two really neat things happened this week. Well more than two, but two standout moments happened. One was when I was walking out of Oncology one day. I ran into a woman, who I had visited her husband in early December, who was now in Respiratory. She asked me if I had a second to please come visit him with Josie. I said "of course!" So we did. As soon as we turned the corner and he saw Josie he started making room for Josie on the bed motioning for her to jump on the bed, which she did and snuggled right up next to him. Her husband was sooooo happy to see her. He actually took off his breathing apparatus. His wife looked at him and then me and said, "He NEVER takes that off for ANYONE!!" Then she just smiled. I gave him a business card with Josie's picture on it and he said he owned a barber shop and was going to put it on the wall in the barber shop for all to see. How nice is that???

The other neat thing that happened was when Susi and I were leaving on Saturday, we ran into some people waiting by the inpatient section on the first floor. And I met a woman whose husband I had visited in early December on one of the Surgical Floors. He was doing quite well. He had taken a turn for the worse now and was in ICU. She remembered me and Josie and told me this and I told her I could go visit him in ICU if she liked. I have done that before, gone into ICU to visit certain patients. But she told me he was too sedated. So I gave her one of my business cards and told her to call me when she wanted me to visit him either in ICU or when he got into a regular room. What was so great was I could see that when she saw Josie, it was good for her, at that moment. And it gave her some hope too. I actually have been running into her every day since and even though her husband is still very sedated, he has been getting better. I'm hoping I get a call from her soon. Or that one of the times I run into her, I can go visit her husband.

Well, I think I've blogged enough. I have to get the hang of this. Maybe I should blog more often, but at least I've got something to say.

Spread some love. It's catchy!

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