25 October 2010

Gustavo meets the bubble wrap man.


We were at the nursing home, I was holding Gustavo up for a one armed lady to pet him from her bed. I don't know why, but it was amputee day at the nursing home. I don't ever remember so many residents missing a limb. Maybe I wasn't paying attention before, or maybe some weeks it's easier than others to keep arms and legs intact. No one seemed any the worse for it, at least no worse than usual. It would be nice if the shock of amputation is softened with all the other crap that happens when you're packed out of your house and into a facility. Maybe it is, or maybe not.

Gustavo likes to jump up on wheelchairs, or do his trick show on the floor. As trick shows go, he's a one trick pony. Minus the pony. We rely on old standbys like lie down and rollover, and the show stopping left and right. On the nursing home circuit though, it's a a big hit along the lines of Jennie Garth vs. Shannen Doherty smackdown. Wheelchairs roll in for a closer look. His big finale, a festive heeling extravaganza with a recall through my legs. Slow, barely audible clapping ensues from the very few hands that have that much mobility, and a lot of blank stares.

From down the hall, I could hear fast popping noises, and Gustavo heard them too. Gunshots, firecrackers and flicking bics are the top 3 freakout noises for the G-man, and the pops sounded like caps from a capgun. I peeked out into the hallway, and Hal was parked there, popping bubblewrap bubbles from his wheelchair in the middle of the corridor. He had on an orange fishing cap covered in Jesus pins, and a blanket over his knees. Not sure who gave him the bubble wrap, but I had to make a hasty retreat out the back way with Gustavo before he went into his catatonic panic state.


Gustavo tolerates the nursing home, but usually only really connects with one or two people every time we visit. Anyone can pet him, and he'll offer everyone a lick on their nose, but the self contained worlds that a lot of the patients live in vibe out even his little smurf dude stoner bliss demeanor. I gotta take him though. I chatter away to the guy who can only hum about how Gustavo rode up from Mexico in a van, and let a tiny skeleton lady hold his soft dog foot for a while. Anyone who seems to follow a thread of information can tell me about the poodles they had as a kid or listen to a story about my dogs running through big trees in the forest. If there's a way to put a picture in their minds for a while, I'm down with that.

Gustavo's always relieved to get out of there. Especially when the day involves bubble wrap. Or being squeezed too tight around the neck by a big lady in purple. She didn't mean to. She told me to call her Cookie. All her friends do. We did his trick show over and over for her, and I'll say this about Cookie, she was a good clapper. Usually I'm pretty quick to recognize the squeezers, or the ones that make scary noises in his face. There's just a little change of tact, and I snug him back up underneath my arm. Cookie lost her oxygen nose plugs, she was so excited, so I had to help her wedge them back in her nostrils while Gustavo lay on the floor by the big wheel of her chair.


He gets it that this is a thing we do. I know the feeling of needing to be done and out of there when the expiration date hits, I had the same one stopping at the grocery store on the way home. I grabbed some random items, none of them what we actually needed, and bailed. Ended up with wasabi chips and a vegan flax seed muffin. The general idea was something for dinner and supplies to make a pie. But it was too crowded and something about the lightly veiled corporate undertow in the groovy green signage drove me out in a confused flurry. Like being chased out by bubble wrap.

There was a little petting zoo of some chickens, bunnies and pigs in an xpen outside the door where the shopping carts are corralled. Harvest fair day at the store. I asked the girl what kind of bunnies they were, she pulled a sheet of paper out of her pocket and read off of it that they were lion heads rabbits. Kids sat on buckets in the xpens and held them tight on their laps. The little piggies paced around, circling around the pen and it reminded me of circle time in the nursing home. All the wheelchairs pulled in tight until an attendant pushes them back to their rooms. No way out. Me and Gustavo, we made it out though, and off into the rain we went.

2 comments:

Mary said...

Thanks, Laura.

agilityfoot said...

yes, thanks, laura.