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Sweet Dreams for Grandma Marty

Posted By Al Martinez On July 15, 2014 @ 5:23 pm In Notebook | No Comments

I began hearing the dog’s [1] squeaky bark after a few days of being transferred from West Hills Hospital to the nearby Topanga Terrace complex for physical therapy. I was to undergo a healing program after a bout with pneumonia [2] and other potentially fatal problems.

Dog sketch [3]It was a faint yap that emerged out of the dim shadows down the hall at about 2 in the otherwise muted sounds of a quiet morning.  The slightest noise awakens me, especially unexpected disturbances, and I sat up in bed and listened. At first all I heard were the soft footfalls of medical personnel, but as I listened it became clearer.

Was it a dog?

Our dog Sophie’s bark can rattle windows, this teeny-tiny yap was hardly a 1.5 on the barking scale.  But still…

>> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter  [4]

I lay there wondering if the facility allowed pets [5] into the rooms as valuable assets of care and comfort for elders. I asked a passing nurse. It did not. I said no more about it at that moment, not wanting to reveal someone’s secret if they had snuck a puppy in.

The squeaking was silent for a day or so, then began anew. By God, that was a dog, I would bet the left part of my manhood on it. I struggled out of bed and reached for the walker [6] I had just figured out how to use.

“Going somewhere?” a nurse’s aide asked. “Going to find a dog,” I said, following the direction of the squeak. She nodded. “Follow me,” she said and we headed off down the hall. She stopped at the open door of a patient’s room and gestured for me to look inside, then left.

A diagonal of outside light cast a glow barely bright enough to see the tightly-curled white hair of a very old woman snuggled partway down in her blankets. She seemed fixated on something on the table next to her bed. She reached out with a frail, veined arm, retrieved the object, held it close and appeared to squeeze it. It barked.

It was a little toy dog.

>> Get travel discounts with your AARP Member Advantages. [7]

What I had been hearing was a woman I’ll call Grandma Marty, after a member of our own extended family who died recently of Alzheimer’s [8]. A small dog was her companion until death, somehow helping Grandma Marty link with her soul, and with the sepia-toned memories of her fading past.

The old woman [9] before me was probably slipping into a misty distance of her own, the toy dog trotting alongside her in a dreamy world of peaceful yesterdays.

I returned to my room and lay awake through the wee, small hours of the morning thinking of Grandma Marty and the sweetness of the journey that lay ahead.

Illustration by: Nicole Weatherall


Also of Interest


See the AARP home page [14] for deals, savings tips, trivia and more


Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org

URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/07/15/sweet-dreams-for-grandma-marty/

URLs in this post:

[1] dog’s: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/pets/info-10-2011/gone-to-the-dogs-trivia-quiz.html?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[2] pneumonia: http://blog.aarp.org/2012/01/02/new-pneumonia-vaccine-now-approved-for-adults-50-and-older/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL

[3] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AlMartinezDogSketch.jpg

[4] >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter : http://www.aarp.org/online-community/people/subscribeFromEmail.action?id=19061&intcmp=ILC-EMAIL-SUB-HLTH

[5] pets: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/pets/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[6] reached for the walker: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/07/02/the-dawn-of-a-new-morning/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL

[7] >> Get travel discounts with your AARP Member Advantages.: http://discounts.aarp.org/travel/index/uSource/HCTN?intcmp=AE-BL-TRV-DISC

[8] Alzheimer’s: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/05/16/new-alzheimers-movie-inspires-and-entertains/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL

[9] old woman: http://video.aarp.org/video/78-Year-Old-Woman-Skydives-As-P?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[10] An Old Dog Scratching at the Door: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/05/12/an-old-dog-scratching-at-the-door/?intcmp=AE-ENDART1-BL-REL

[11] 7 Unsolved Mysteries Boomers Can’t Forget: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/03/28/7-unsolved-mysteries-boomers-cant-forget/?intcmp=AE-ENDART2-BL-BOS

[12] Fight fraud and ID theft with the AARP Fraud Watch Network.: http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/fraud-watch-network/?intcmp=AE-BL-ENDART-ADV-FWN

[13] Join AARP: https://appsec.aarp.org/MSS/join/application?keycode=U9ZTPH9&intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-MEM

[14] AARP home page: http://www.aarp.org/?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-HP

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