When my human and I showed up at the Pediatrics ward for my latest therapy cat visit, I wondered if I was going to be doing any visiting at all.
“All the kids are in Iso — they all have the flu!” a nurse told me. Then she looked at the board again. “Oh, there is one little girl who you might be able to visit.”
So my human and I went to her room, and yes, she and her mother wanted to see the kitty (i.e., me!). Because she was the only child we were visiting that day, I got to snuggle and spend extra time with her. Whatever had been the reason for her hospital stay, she must have been getting better. Her bed was full of dolls, a tablet, and there was a huge Minnie Mouse balloon in the corner. My human figured the kid was probably getting bored and needed all these things to keep her occupied. It was a cool room too. Someone had painted a sea scape on the wall, with a dog and cat sitting under an umbrella propped up in the sand. In the waves, a cat was surfing. I felt really at home in this room.
The mother asked my human lots of questions about how I became a therapy cat, questions my human is always happy to answer. All I cared about was stretching out and making happy paws while the little girl petted me. The mother was Facetiming with some of her family, and she showed me a few times.
We had a little time after this visit before going over to Behavioral Medicine, so we went down to the Cancer Center. The people in the waiting room weren’t really that interested in me, but the patient receiving chemo was sure happy to see me!
Monday visits always involve Behavioral Medicine. It takes time for the staff in this ward to get things in order for the visit. They are always expecting me, or whoever else is visiting that Monday. This time, they brought four patients into the activity room to see me — one man and three women. One woman seemed very closed off, and another mainly spoke Spanish. The third was a younger woman who smiled when she saw me, but there was still something really sad about her. She kissed and petted me lots, and at one point she started crying.
The Spanish speaking woman was the most social of the group, even though my human was limited in understanding what she had to say. At one point she told my human that her granddaughter had “cinco gatos.” Now, that my human understood! So she replied that she just had “dos gatos.” This lady encouraged the closed off woman to touch me… and she did! My human was surprised, because she didn’t think she would. But not only did she touch me, she petted me a little bit too. I think we did some good in Behavioral Medicine that day.
It may have been a quieter day at the hospital, but it gave both me and my human the chance to notice a lot of details we don’t usually when we are busier.