You know when you have “one of those days?” Even therapy cats have them! And that’s what my most recent hospital visit was like. Some pipes broke at this hospital earlier in the week, and they moved the volunteer room, where we sign in, to a different floor. But the room was locked, and we had to go all the way back down to the lobby to sign in. Then, when we went to visit the 4th floor patients, the wing was closed because of the broken pipes too. Nobody told us about that, so we had to find where the patients went. On top of it all, I was having a rare fussy day. Or maybe I was being fussy because of all the chaos.
Because of everything that was going on, it took awhile before I got to actually visit patients, but it was worth the wait. There were some really interesting people to visit. A lot of people at this hospital don’t speak English, and my human is getting better at using the eight words of Spanish she knows. (Three of them are gato, gata and gatita.)
Of course, this does not help with Asian patients. My human stopped by one room where a Japanese grandmother was being visited by a large multicultural family. They all spoke English except for the patient, and one lady was explaining my presence to her. My human heard the word “neko” (which most of you know is Japanese for cat) so she said, “¡Si, neko!” She is starting to speak Spanish even when it’s not necessary or useful. Anyhow, the patient wanted to visit with me, but she didn’t know how to pet me, and kept patting me on the head. It was actually quite comical. I was mostly there for her amusement, and for the pleasure of the visiting family, most of whom loved cats.
The final visit of the day was the most needed. We almost missed him because the first time we stopped by his room, he was sleeping. But before we finished, we saw he was awake and had a visitor, so we stopped in. Even though this man had a couple of friends come by while we were there, he seemed to have had a lonely and sad life. He was an older man, with a lot of gray in his hair. When he was young, he got in trouble and spent many years in prison. Now all his family members were dead. He shared some of what he had gone through with my human while I curled up next to him. He really liked me, and my human took a photo of us. Some people, especially the adults, treat the photos as sort of a novelty. But I could tell that this man was really going to treasure the photo of the two of us together. We are going back to this hospital in three weeks, and my human promised that if he was still there, we would visit again.
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