It all began so innocently. My daughter, my one an only, having reached the age of emancipation decided that she was old enough to leave her childhood nest. Thus began my “empty nest” sadness.
Though I had the job of my dreams in caring for my patients I was, quite simply: sad.
Kind patient to the rescue. “You know”, says she, “my Mother just had poodles in Tampa and I am going to drive there and bring you a new baby.” This stated while rubbing her own very pregnant belly. Clearly, by the concerned expression on her face not even realizing the picture she has painted in my mind’s eye of her poor Mother birthing a litter of poodles. I smile, completing her exam and thanking her but assuring her that a new baby is not needed. This puppy will not have a winning smile, just perfect smile to melt her Mom’s heart and a sense of humor that syncs perfectly with my own. Thanks, but no.
A few weeks go by and as I am flying about my office getting lab results, checking fetal heart tones, sheduling ultrasounds etc. I see the front office door open and note someone carrying what appears to be an apricot fluffy object.
I cringe and then break into a run. I find my co-worker (also best friend) and immediately relate what I observed. I beg for her effective intervention in the form of going to the front office and explaining all the very valid reasons that there is no way, no possible way, I can take on the responsibility of a new puppy. I suggest a myriad of reasons for her to provide to this thoughtful, if wayward, patient why the puppy cannot be placed with me. Leaving this unsavory task in the hands of my beloved and very capable friend I once again merge into the care of my patients in total confidence that all will be well.
An obstetrical practice is one in which there are equal parts nursing skill and friend/counselor.
Many hours pass and finally as I sit to catch up on my charting and finish out the day I notice by the quiet that the last of the patients are gone. I also become aware that Kim, my best friend and co-worker are no where to be seen either. I abandon the charting and begin the search. I knock on the bathroom door. Nothing! I look outside our break room. Nothing! I venture into the waiting room and there they are. Yes, I said THEY.
Kim, oh capable one, is holding up for my perusal the small, fluffy item I got the scant view of before. She plaintively tells me, “I tried, I swear I tried, but look at her” she says as she thrusts the apricot fluff ball forward again. We meet, this puppy and I eye to eye. We begin to search each others face and then I smile. I reach forward, gently picking up her tiny, warm frame from my friends outstretched hands and say, “Ok, now you know very well that I cannot possibly keep you permanently. I am so very busy and stretched as it is.” She is looking very solemnly at me as though she is grappling with what I am saying. I begin again, “You are very small now and I will see to you for a few weeks until you are bigger and have your shots and I promise I will find you a lovely home.” I look down on the office floor still home to my friend, oh capable one. “Ok, just for a bit and we’ll poll the patients to find her a nice home”, I said. My friend, wisely silent, knows she already has one. We begin scouring the office for a box for her ride home.
Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls