Because I am a nurse in Home Health, I do a lot of driving. To places that I am scared to go alone. From the 'over hills over dells' boonies-away from any sign of civilization to the million dollar high rise with the 10,000 sq ft pent house. I've been everywhere man.
Today was the country mouse's day. I head towards the country from the highway, arrive on graveled streets, which eventually turn into dirt roads, which finally become four-wheel-drive-only accesses. Through the mud. Lots of mud.
After my unintentional Dukes of Hazzard driving tricks, which included spinning out, doing doughnuts, and fish-tailing, all without the song and Bo Duke by my side, I arrive at my patient's house. A tad bit frazzled.
Country mouse is precious. He has had throat cancer and uses a voice stimulator to speak. This device looks like a small flashlight and vibrates so that when held to his throat, allows him to speak. His voice sounds like he is gargling and it takes practice to understand what he is saying. I always feel bad having to have him repeat things because I have no clue what he just said, so I just nod and say something intelligent like,"Uh huh."
I have to document all the "stuff" that requires skilled care of a nurse, so I ask him, "Hey, Bob, what exactly is the name of this?"(pointing to the stimulator). He's hard of hearing, so I have to repeat it. "What do they call these things?" He shrugs his shoulders and hands me the stimulator. I am looking all over it for some name on it because quite frankly, I feel like a complete moron writing, "Voice vibrating thingy" or even the word "Stimulator". Surely to God there has to be a medical name for the damn thing.
As I am turning it over in my hand, he reaches over and flips the switch, which causes it to start vibrating. It startles me and he thinks it's hysterical. He is sitting next to me and throws back his head, opens his toothless mouth and from his tracheostomy hole...he laughs. The sound is that equal to a cat hissing. Hiiiiisssss hiiiss hiss hiss hiss. Hiiiiiiisssss hiiiiissss hiss hiss hiss.
I was taken aback and startled with: A. the sound, B. the realization that I have never heard him laugh before, and C. the fact that he was like 6 inches away from me on the couch. Now when I laugh, sometimes I "snot" out of my nose. Not some gross lugey-ish snot, just the clear stuff. I then D. panicked that poor hysterical toothless Bob was going to snot. On me. Out of his hole.
He is crying laughing by this time, and normally I would be reveling in the fact I made someone crack up, but not at that moment. I lean back as far as I possibly can so that if there is anything shooting out, it doesn't hit me in the face. I know I had the wild-horse-eyes as I am trying to smile and keep an eye on his hole. But he was ugly/cute and I soon laughed too.
So I head back after apparently making my patient's day. The drive from the mud to the dirt road is thankfully uneventful and as I drive from the gravel to the smooth road, still miles away from any sign of life, I see something in the road.
The body of a large black lab lay on the curve of the road, right in the center. I stopped my car and did the, "Awww. Poor dog." Then tried to figure out what my next move would be. I could drive into the ditch to avoid smashing the poor beautiful dog or I could move him to the side so someone barreling around the curve won't squish him. So I get out. I walk over and look down at old Blackie looking so peaceful lying there. No blood. No guts gooshed out of a gaping hole in his abdomen. I bend down to see if I can see broken bones so I can know which legs to grab onto to move him. No bones out of whack anywhere I can see. Must be on the other side, I think. I touched his front and back paw and old Blackie's head pops up. I am so startled (see a pattern here?) that when I jerk back I almost fall backwards. Old Blackie stands and stretches, yawns his toothless yawn, with his butt up in the air. All the while I am standing clutching my chest gasping for air with pee running down my legs. Okay, really I didn't pee, but I could have. Old Blackie was without a doubt old with gray around his eyes and muzzle and he slowly meanders up to me wagging his tail as if to say,"Thanks, lady for not smashing me while I snoozed in the middle of the road."
WOW! I made two toothless beings happy today. It was a good day!