On Sunday, we woke up to a surprise:
Snow is kind of a big deal here because 1) it’s pretty rare and 2) we live on top of a huge, steep hill. Our Sunday plans (church and Costco — yes, we live on the edge) were shot and we stayed home. Not a big deal as we buy everything in bulk (Costco).
Sunday night, we had freezing rain. Alex’s classes were canceled, and I had to stay home from work. Our usual Monday helper crew (nurse E, grandparents) very reasonably wanted nothing to do with our icy hill, so it was another day at home, just the four of us.
We were also homebodies on Saturday, so this was our third day in at home, just the four of us. I felt some cabin fever today. It’s always good to be home with family, but it’s not a great feeling to be homebound. There are errands to be done, patients to see. The holidays are over, and we need to get on with our lives!
And then I remember our Julianna. She is homebound. Every. Single. Day.
In the last year, she has gone out just a handful of times – a few trips down the hill to grandma’s house, even a few times to school. When the weather isn’t nasty, we take her out on the deck. But most days, she is home.
There are lots of reasons for this. We have all kinds of mobility devices (power wheelchair, manual wheelchair, a rolling chair thing), but none have kept pace with the aggressive awfulness of her disease. To go out now, she would need a chair that would let her lie on her back — and BiPAP, suction, cough assist, and a vehicle to accommodate all of this. It’s a lot.
I know that J would love to go more places, but she doesn’t complain. As long as there are people around to play and love, she is happy. Her buoyant spirit and powerful imagination leave no room for self-pity or boredom. It’s yet another thing I can learn from.
Here’s how we spent our time this weekend, stuck on our icy hill.
For Christmas, J received a book that contained everything she needed to open up a veterinary practice. It gave some basic materials (signs, forms) and some suggestions. She and Alex came up with the rest.
This is Dr. J and her assistants, Snoopy and Hobbes.
Alex registered patients at check in. (Tylenol Hello Kitty had the flu)
He then brought them back to the Exam Room (aka J’s bed) and helped with the exams. I was the scribe. Their exams and plans were documented on the “Exam Checklist” – you can one taped to Tylenol Hello Kitty’s wheelchair.
J’s window sill was the inpatient area/recovery room. Long Monkey (he’s really one of those microwavable neck wraps) is in a recovery cage, and Mrs. Hare is keeping him company while wearing a lampshade collar.
Here are some of our chart notes: (italics are Julianna’s words that I scribed)
Name: Long Monkey
Heart rate: still beating
Length: really long
Temp: 3 degrees
Eyes, Ears, Fur : good (checked)
Mouth: teeth and breath are smelly
Paws: Good – have been brushed and washed.
Treatment: Tylenol and Motrin
Plan: Stay 3 days and rest. And sleep.
Name: Mrs. Hare
Heart: beating slowly
Eyes: checked bad (blurry)
Ears: checked good
Fur: checked bad (a little shaggy)
Mouth: checked good (she can still eat)
Paws: checked bad (it has a little bruise)
Treatment: Bandaid (circled)
Plan: stay 2 days. Rest and watch something that distracts her from bad things.
For most of the day, J had a strict no-shot policy at her hospital. Her only treatments were Bandaids, Tylenol, Motrin and rest. Then Alex insisted on giving shots. They argued, and J compromised. She now gives shots, but they are gentle shots with “soft needles.”
Later on in the evening, while playing with Steve, she transitioned from vet hospital to K-drama. The bad Korean queen (Vivian) is in jail (formerly a cage in the vet hospital) because she has torn apart the good Korean girl’s (Young-Hee) house. I have no idea how this happened, but I’m not surprised. That Vivian girl is trouble.
J’s imagination requires willing participants and TOYS. We have way too much.
I look at the pile of toys in the corner
M: Julianna, this is crazy.
J: Don’t worry. They’re not alive.
M: But we have to do something about this.
J: They’re just toys. Don’t judge.
She’s right, of course. Who am I to judge?