Sunday, July 20

The Surprise

It was boys night at Magee.  Lindsay and I stayed at the hotel.  Even though the night was short, we were able to catch up and just be girls.  It was wonderful.  When we got to Jackie’s room the boys were up.  Lindsay ran down to the cafe and then we all ate breakfast with Jackie in his room.  After morning meds and some visits from the weekend docs we decided to get some fresh air and sat on the second floor terrace for a while.  As the lethargic pattern continues, Jackie was tired so we went back to his room so he could sleep.

At this point I was so excited I could hardly contain myself.  Jim and I had a surprise lined up and it was about to unfold.  Since Jackie was napping I suggested that Jim and Lindsay take a walk and do a Starbucks run.  What Lindsay didn’t know was that very good friends of ours had driven Jovie up for the day and were waiting outside the lobby.  Lindsay, being the DC city slicker that she is, stays focused on where she is walking and does not look to make eye contact with anyone.  Jim stopped to talk with a couple on the bench outside the entrance. Lindsay took a quick glance and thought their dog was cute.  After a closer look she excitedly said  “Jovie” and was then lovingly mauled by an 85 lb ball of furry sisterly love.  Jim and Lindsay brought her up to the room where Jackie woke up to see Jovie staring up at him.  He had a huge smile on his face and for once spoke loudly so Jovie could hear him.  PTL!

For those of you that have a dog or family pet, I think you understand the feelings of comfort and joy you receive from them on a daily basis.  If you multiply those feelings by the number of days since we have seen Jovie you can begin to understand how much her visit meant to all of us.

Minus the setting and Jackie’s injury it felt like the old days.  So incredibly awesome for the entire family to be together. Jovie has the heart of a therapy dog even though she has not been officially trained.  She was very loving but careful with Jackie both in bed and in his wheelchair.  She also was keeping an eye on all of us,  when one of us left the room, she would lay by the door until we returned.  After we all ate lunch together in Jackies room we decided to go up to the sixth floor terrace for some fresh air.  There were many patients on the terrace as it was a beautiful day. We found a quiet spot and literally had a blast just enjoying each others company and the random acts of Jovie kisses.  Several of the patients came over to say hi to us, ok really to Jovie.  It felt good to be sharing some of her love with others and you could tell for just one moment they forgot about their conditions and were truly happy. One of the patients and her son came over.  They used to have Golden Retrievers so spending a little time with Jovie brought back special memories for them.

Jackie was getting tired so we came back to his room and got him in for a nap. He fell sleep right away knowing that everyone would still be there when he awoke.  I stayed with Jackie while Lindsay and Jim finally were able to take their stroll to Starbucks.

The clock was ticking and we knew our remaining time with Jovie was limited.  We actually had already pushed her pick up time back an hour.  Jackie was awake now and we joked and laughed about funny things that happened earlier in the day like me trying to carry something and also steer Jackies wheelchair while Jovie was pulling him down the hallway.  Lindsay actually got video of me failing at my job and running him into a wall; thankfully it was before Jovie got up to full speed.  There was also the time when Lindsay was helping to take one of  Jackies sneakers off and Jim accidentally hit her in the face with the other one.  Thankfully she was not injured and we could use the incident as comic relief.

Our friends returned for a short visit and we all said our goodbyes to Jovie.  We are hoping for a finalized discharge date soon and anticipate getting home sometime in August.

The dinner trays arrived and Jackie started eating while Jim took Lindsay to the train station.  We are hoping to see her again soon as well as Florent.

The weekend was wrapping up.  Jackie, Jim and I fell back into our normal routine and went to the second floor for a quick protein snack.  Then it was back to the room for a shave and shower.  Jackie went to bed later than normal but we didn’t care.  He fell asleep quickly knowing the next day was the start of the week and the beginning of therapy sessions.

I found a quote from Gilda Radner, one of my favorite comedians who has since passed.  It is about dogs and life and I wanted to share it with you.  She said, “I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.”

Live simply and love unconditionally then take all the rest as it comes.  As always, thank you for your positive thoughts and prayers.