Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In memory

My mother, Patricia, died two days after Ulani visited.  If you would like to read what I read at her memorial service, you will find it here.

Busy Solitude Farm has been a source of peace and solace these last few weeks.  Soon I will share more stories with you, but in the meantime, thank you for your kind thoughts and understanding.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ulani Goes on a Visit

A few weeks ago I shared that my mother had broken her leg, and my father contracted a bad bacterial infection while visiting her at the hospital.  Unfortunately things went downhill, as one often hears happens at hospitals.  Now my mother is in hospice care and my father at a nursing home from which he will never go home.  All of this took place in the period of six weeks.

So today I decided that Ulani and I would go visiting together.  We drove the 80 minutes or so to the suburb where my parents are.  My mother's hospice room is in a hospital, and to bring a dog in to visit you enter through the emergency room!  Imagine the excitement!  The doorway has an "anteroom" between two big doors.  The floor there is ridged, apparently to provide traction and drainage on wet days.  We went easily through the first door, but Ulani put on the brakes when confronted with the ridged floor.  I calmly encouraged her forward.  She practically jumped over all of the slats to get to the second door and we were inside.

The man at the desk asked "can I help you?" and I explained we were going upstairs for a visit.  He chuckled "they'll all enjoy that!"

Next challenge was the very bright, shiny, slippery tile floor.  My girl slipped a couple of times before adjusting to my pace to walk down the hallway.  One right turn and we arrived at the elevator.

This hospital is not new.  While it is clean and gradually being updated, some parts are still older. Like the elevators.  We enter and push "6".  Then the floor jiggles a bit as the elevator began to rise.  This quite startled Ulani, and she seemed to grab the carpeted floor with all four of her feet, then slipped behind me into the corner for more stability!  I think she was really glad when the door opened and we exited.

Right away we were greeted by one of the certified nursing assistants who cooed over how beautiful Ulani is, and how much everyone would enjoy meeting her.  We moved on, discovered that Mom was sleeping so went to meet the rest of the staff.  Sister Amy, the chaplain, was delighted to have a dog on board and encouraged us to stay as long as we wanted.  The secretary told stories of her dog, and another aid chimed in with her own stories.  Ulani adored the attention from everyone.

Eventually we made it back into my mother's room and stayed with her about 20 minutes.  She patted Ulani, admired her big, cold nose, and enjoyed watching her explore the room.  After a while I saw Mom getting tired so we said our goodbyes.

At Dad's nursing home we once again met all kinds of warm greetings.  Ulani and I joined Dad in his room for lunch.  She sat on the bed for a while (he was in his wheelchair!) and had a good drink of water.  After lunch Dad wanted to rest, so we began to leave.

I say began because everywhere we went there were staff and residents who wanted to see the pretty dog, ask what kind she was, and give her a pat.  I even had her do tricks for a nice group of ladies.

Everyone asked us to come back again.  I think we will.