The Puppy and the Patient

BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ. It’s my phone, but can’t get to it. It buzzes again. 

Then again. It goes unanswered.

“Mom?” A distant voice calls out from upstairs. “MOM?!” It’s the patient. He is yelling out, as his efforts to reach me on the modern-day version of the ‘sick bell’ goes unanswered.

I’m on my hands and knees, sopping up the water that has poured out of the dog dish, flooding the floor for the second time in less than 3 minutes. As I once again move the garbage can, the puppy figures it’s play time. He tugs at what is the sixth or seventh towel of dozens I will end up using in this fruitless effort.

It enters my mind that I could avoid this whole ‘swabbing the deck’ routine if I just leave this puddle on the floor. I mean, it would be so much easier for both of us. Murphy’s cone-of-shame won’t get caught on the water dish’s edge, dumping it on the hardwood, and I won’t have to put my knees through Child’s Pose any more.

As I struggle to free my ankle from the puppy’s upholstery-tack teeth, he goes all in with this fun new game, trying to tug at my toes. But wait! There is still water on the floor and it must be stomped through with his big puppy feet!


Right. The patient.

“Coming!” I yell up the stairs “Murphy, can you possibly not eat the table legs while I go see what the patient needs?”

That face. He is sitting and giving me that face. His  puppy dog eyes kill me with innocence and sweetness that lives in this precocious 10-week old German Shepherd.


“Alright, come on boy. Let’s go upstairs”. Murphy thinks we are going on a grand adventure, dumping the water dish again in his excitement.

As the cone gives this clumsy puppy absolutely no spatial awareness, he hits the back of my legs, and pinballs back and forth across each step, bashing between the wall and the rail all the way up to the patient’s bedroom.

A week ago, my son had an unexpected surgery that has left him in a LOT of pain. Getting to the bathroom from his bedroom is a major effort. Sleep comes when it comes, frequently interrupted by waves of pain, and a need for various pharmaceuticals. 

I am a passenger on this sleep-deprived joyride. Just as my eyes close, my phone buzzes. Just as I reach dream-state, my phone buzzes. Just as I get good into a podcast, since I can’t sleep anyway, my phone buzzes.

I, of course, slink out of bed every time, as to not disturb Murph, his easily annoyed new sister, Lexi (also a German Shepherd), and Steve (not a German Shepherd), who seems to snore quite peacefully through it all.

Murphy clambers into the patient’s room, tumbling over whatever it is that tends to inhabit a teenager’s floor.
I tend to the patient’s needs. I grab his water bottle for a refill.

I get half-way down the stairs.


Back up I go. He needs more ice in the pack.

Back down the stairs, and make it to the kitchen. Get said ice and water, then back to the patient.

“I forgot to tell you I need something for the pain.”

And back down the stairs I go. I glance at my FitBit. I have 7200 unintentional steps. I haven’t even left the house.

In my sleep-deprived stupor, I realize I am looking at two bins of meds. I hope I have grabbed the right one. You see, Murphy the GSD puppy has also had surgery. The kind that will hopefully keep him from humping our couch pillows or whatever happens by.

In my effort to stay organized, I put the meds for the patient and for the puppy in a couple of tupperware-like tubs. I have been keeping logs of who gets what drug and when.

“Welp,” I think to myself “I’m PRETTY sure I grabbed the right med for the patient”.

I stumble back upstairs, tripping over Murph and his satellite-dish accessory. I make sure the patient is squared away and gently close his door.

This has been some version of our lives for the past week. Would I have adopted a puppy at exactly the same time my son needed an unexpected surgery? I’d rather go through chemo, radiation and a double-mastectomy without anesthesia ALL OVER AGAIN.

But, we couldn’t control the timing. The puppy was available from the rescue NOW and my son needed his surgery NOW. What were we to do?

Murphy, like any rambunctious little one thoroughly enjoys chewing anything that isn’t tied down; anything that IS tied down; pretty much anything.

He fights naps, then conks out wherever he happens to be. He is kind of potty trained, which is why we have a tile-pattern of potty-pads in every room Murph has relieved his little bladder or bowels.

At least it’s on the pad

When I do have five minutes to myself, I realize I haven’t run in a week. That’s my church. It keeps me sane, and keeps me from being featured on the true-crime show “Snapped

I barely get a shower, much less get dressed. Oh, did I mention in the midst of all of this, I am working full-time from home? Trying to keep the puppy quiet and occupied while I work is a futile effort. 

I know this is all temporary. I know my son will heal, and be well again. I know the puppy will grow into his feet and ears and move on from this stage. I know I will find my sanity again.

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. My phone lights up again. I hear a crash from the other room. I go to see what the latest fiasco is. I pick up the plant Murphy has discovered.



Back upstairs to the patient and the puppy follows.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s