Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Official Airedale Stand In

We have a LOT of angels here at the hospital where Klaus is. Dedicated men and women who have taken excellent care of him, inside and out.

Everyone here knows all about Bogart - indeed, most of them have met him in person - and the nurses are the reason I could bring him here in the first place. And then there is a particularly special nurse named Marge. Marge was one of the first nurses to take care of Klaus, and she has taken very good care of me as well. And look what she brought for me:

Yes, it is an adorable Airedale stuffie. I fell asleep last night holding it. It's a little Bogart-stand-in for the times that he cannot be here. And it's so incredibly soft...

See? This little Dale can relay all of the good doggie energy from all over the world, and channel it to Klaus.

Thank you Marge!!!



Everybody Poops

I am sure the dogs out there will understand the importance of this.

Today Klaus POOPED. I am sure he will be mortified to read this someday. Alas, I have the keyboard and he doesn't, and I am certainly not doing it to embarrass him. And I know I am amongst friends, fuzzy and furry ones who take pooping seriously.

First - the stink. There were a lot of people in the room at the time. I was going to mention something, but then I remembered the all-important maxim of "whoever smelt it dealt it" so I just looked around nervously. I also thought I didn't want to embarrass anyone else in case they were the deal-er.

But then when they turned Klaus over (his very least favorite thing), we discovered the source of the smell. It came from deep within Klaus! The excellent part of this is that pooping means his intestines are functioning. Yeah for at least one organ system! Now we just need for all of the rest to start working in tandem again.

It's always great to, in the middle of lots of bad news, get a little good news. Even when it smells funky.



Song of the Airedale

Ina and Jecke-Jule, two cool Dales in Germany, sent this song that their dad wrote and performed - it's about Airedales!!! - for Klaus. I played it for him this morning, it's so great for him to hear something other than the beeping of all of the machines surrounding him. Thank you!

Click here to hear the Airedale Song


Lulu & Bogart

Friday, February 27, 2009

Third Time's the Charm

I'm getting awfully good at this therapy dog thing. I mean, I would completely suck at it if I was doing it for people I didn't know. I would get annoyed at being petted to be sure, and if anyone tried to hug me who wasn't mama or dad... well, lets just say that I would fail the class at that point. But since this is dad we're talking about...

That's right, Bogart Handsome Devil, Therapy Dog, in da House!!!

First I had to check out dad's new digs - this was the first time I'd seen him here. Everything smells a little different, especially those pillows for some reason. I'd also heard through mama that the nurses are trying to encourage dad to poop, so I thought I'd do my part to be encouraging...

Aw dad, I'll still always lick your toes like always.

Mama has explained that we come here to help dad get better - that he's really, really sick and needs a miracle. Well dad, here I am - your fuzzy miracle

Mama was a little sneaky again - this time no chair (cause the chair did kind of freak me out after awhile last time), we just lowered dad so I could get close. Instead of semi-stale bagel, she brought some bacon treats which got broken into little pieces and placed between dad's fingers. MMM.. dad.

I went in for a couple of smooches - and to check that all of dad's medication lines were hunky dory.

Mama loves dad so much - almost as much as me - she has to be very strong for him these days.

It turns out that this therapy dog business has an added benefit: a trip through the drive thru. Oh yeah baby, I'm considering exactly what I want from Jack in the Box.

Hm. Where is that voice coming from? Who is this disembodied person who will provide me with all of the meaty goodness I so richly deserve?

Ah, we're almost there... just behind one car. That means we'll get up there fast. Mmmaybe.

Never fast enough for me when I'm in the drive thru lane. And I'm always here to help - mama, give me the cash, I'll grab that bag in my teeth and we'll be outa here.

No? Are you sure?

So then I had to wait until we got home to dig into that fine Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger.

Longtime readers know that these things happen in a very specific fashion - burger falls from sky, wrapper opens as napkin, then I eat the patty and bun in my own inimitable way.

Yes, I could totally get into this therapy dog thing. Just let me know when I am needed next.



Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sawing Wood

Please accept my apologies for no update yesterday - I think the sleep deprivation is catching up with me a bit.

Yesterday Klaus got an upgrade of sorts - we were moved to another room in the ICU. The room we were in before was fine, but it did not have the facility necessary for the changes to Klaus' dialysis, so the nurses came and got me to do a little room shopping. There were 3 open rooms, and this one was a clear, easy choice. It has a large window (our old room had a window, but it opened onto the inside of the hospital lobby) which is open to the outside, and much more space behind Klaus for me and my Barkalounger.

Hehe. Barkalounger.

Luckily I can sleep almost anywhere - generally not for that long, but falling asleep has never been my problem. Now I can fully extend Ol' Barky, pull out my pillow and blanket, and last night was almost 5 hours. I know that there is always the sounds of beeping and nurses entering and exiting while they tend to Klaus overnight, but I am generally blissfully unaware (Klaus has been kind enough to not have any loud, emergency needs while I have been sleeping so far). The 5 AM xray wakeup call is getting a little old, though.

It is semi-surreal. I have been basically "living" in the ICU now for over a week. This is where I wake up, spend my days, and fall asleep. I know almost all of the nurses and doctors (and love them all for everything they do for my husband). Many of them stop by to say hello even when they are not assigned to work with Klaus.

Klaus' family has been here from Austria this week and it has been wonderful. Both for me and for Klaus. I am sorry that they will have to leave soon, but I understand. We all need to get back to our regular lives (I would do anything to go back before last Tuesday). It seems that mine for the future will revolve around Klaus and the hospital which is a very good thing - in the sense that he is still with us, though still very critical.

I absolutely one zillion percent believe that having paws crossed around the world has already helped my husband do what every medical person here at the hospital thought sure he would not: survive. It is now 10 days. We have so very, very far to go, but to have made it past this first hurdle (while I certainly think of it as the biggest one, I am sure that Klaus would disagree, complain, and say something like, "What, are you kidding me?").

Bogart is still my faithful sentry, guarding the homestead and poking his fuzzy schnoz out of the vertical blinds each time I come home. He has been an incredible source of strength and merriment in a time when I had none of either. Thank you to the many people in Portland (especially you Charlie and your mama) who have offered to take care of him, walk him if need be. Those little respites from the rigors of my days at the ICU (here I can once again hear Klaus interject something about his day being slightly more intense than my own - in a humorous way, of course) are something I truly treasure. Yes, it is a pain in the arse to have to drive all of the way home twice a day. Yes, there were days when I was driving bareknuckled and had our cell phones glued to my hands. But having to do nothing other than come home and be showered with love by my Airedale welcoming committee (with the felines making up the Greek Chorus) and then forced to not roll in my grief but actually get out and walk has actually been very, very good for me. I have been able to think some things through, and make some tough decisions. Bogart offers no opinion, doesn't ask me any medical questions that I am still trying to figure out myself, he just poops. And smiles. And grabs any passing pine cone.



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Little Chicken Soup

For the ICU Nurses Soul:

This lovely arrangement (complete with mylar balloons) just arrived in the ICU - the head nurse brought it to our room reminding us that there are no flowers allowed in the ICU. I nodded, but I had already seen the envelope as she handed the flowers to me.

Never to fear, this was for the ICU nurses!!! The people who brighten my day, every day and every night, who take amazing care of my husband - who allow Bogart to pretend he's a therapy dog - and of me as well, camped out on the chair next to him.

The card says: To all the nurses in the ICU. Thank you for being so kind to our friend Brodie (ha! - I fixed that to say Bogie) letting him visit his dad. From Putter, Maggie & Mitch

I put all of the balloons together, so that the Gooberstan ones could hang with the Maggie & Mitch and Putter ones. They do look awfully darned cute together, and there is no way Klaus would not be able to see them.

Maggie, Mitch, Putter... you should have seen the faces of the nurses when I told them that they had just received flowers from 3 Airedales. No one believed me at first! The flowers are now in the nurses' break room, so that everyone can enjoy them - and they're gorgeous!!!

That was an incredibly sweet and thoughtful thing for you to do. I too have been thinking of how can I possibly thank all of the incredible nurses that have kept my husband alive, and kept my husband comfortable. Especially on a Monday - a day that most of us aren't that fond of - to see a pretty arrangement in their break room has gotta make 'em smile. Normally I would throw in something about getting better service by kissing a little butt - but there really isn't any better to get. Sweet Maggie, Handsome Mitch, and Gorgeous Putter, you simply have to give a big aire kiss to your mama's for me. While I am sure this was your idea, I know that without opposable thumbs you could not have ordered the flowers yourself (maybe over the phone... to another Airedale who answered... and translated the Airedale into English... ok now it's getting silly).




House of Muppets

Dare I say it, so far Klaus is having a good day today. He is on a lot less medication than before, and he has opened his eyes a few times. I'm only sitting a few feet away from him, so whenever he does that I throw down the laptop and run over to try to force my head into his field of vision. I think I was able to accomplish this once after much upper body gymnastics.

If you recall, I mentioned that Bogart has started waiting for Klaus and I to come home by poking his head through the front curtains. Now with accompanying video goodness:

The first thing I thought when I saw Bogart doing this today (in the middle of a rain storm of course), was that it looked like muppets were protecting my house. Almost like the way those portable puppet shows are. First the head looking in your general direction, then the shaking of the ears, then looking again, and more shake and shimmy, then eyes fixed on his target as though the hand up his butt has suddenly stopped moving. And... then we're off.



Sunday, February 22, 2009

Won't You Take a Chance With Me

Do you ever have one of those days when nothing happens?

Klaus is still in very critical condition, but bless his big heart he hasn't gotten any worse. Just maintaining - I have to consider that a victory for the day. One in the plus column. The messages that I am receiving now are including stories and photos from some of our crazy times in New York City, Los Angeles, and lots of them from Vienna... I keep telling Klaus that he is going to have to explain more about some of these stories when he wakes up...

Right now Klaus is listening to my ipod. I have not listened to any music since this occurred, and I usually always have my ipod on. On the way back to the hospital after giving Bogart his evening walkie, I absentmindedly turned on the radio. Now here I am going to show my age - they were playing Whip It by Devo - and I started to cry and sing the song at the top of my lungs.

When a problem comes along - you must whip it

Before the cream sits out too long - you must whip it

When something's going wrong - you must whip it

Yes, I'm sure it looked as ridiculous as it sounds. Of course I was making some of the whipping motions as well. But what it did, after the song was over, was make me realize something that might be missing - music. So when I got back to the hospital I asked the nurse if I might let Klaus listen to my ipod. Well these are the fabulous nurses who let me bring Bogart into the ICU so the ipod was an easy sell.

Right now he is listening to Roxy Music's Avalon. It's my very favorite make-out album. All slow-ish songs, sexy Bryan Ferry voice...

I hope he's enjoying it. I'm enjoying thinking about him enjoying it.



Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oops I Did it Again

Oops, I Did it Again...

Slipped into the ICU...

And licked daddy's hand...

Oh baby, baby...

Ah yes, your eyes do not deceive you. Bogart made a return engagement to the ICU this evening for some much-needed thairepy. And this time he was even more affectionate toward Klaus than the last.

Marge, one of the sweet nurses that has been taking care of Klaus, brought me a bagel on the first day that I was here with him. It was a lovely gesture, but I haven't been able to eat much and so it sat untouched. Until tonight. I broke off small pieces of the bagel and put them between Klaus' fingers. Bogart is a bagel man, and enjoys a piece or two now and then. So he could not help himself - he had to dig between Klaus' fingers to get at those pieces of bagel with that gigantic tongue of his. Klaus' reaction could not be clearer if he sat up and started singing. His blood pressure told the story. There indeed is nothing in the world like the feeling of stroking our pets. So thank you Marge for the bagel! I didn't exactly eat it, but it did very good things.

And then we had a surprise visit from Josh & Susan - who brought me food (which looks fantastic by the way Susan, I promise that I will get to eating this right after I'm done blogging). Josh and Klaus are beer brewing buddies, and Josh has let the whole Brew Crew know about Klaus so they can raise a glass.

I know that Klaus is feeling the love from all over the world that is flowing his way. I desperately wish I could say that he is suddenly up and running around again, having a beer, and complaining about something. But we're not there... yet.



Friday, February 20, 2009

My Beautiful Ballooooooooon

Yes, I'd like to fly... far away from all the sadness. My pals, the reigning rulers of the Republic of Gooberstan, obviously knew this and wanted to help.

Today I took my evening break a little early. The weather was so nice, and Klaus was in good hands. Bogart and I had a lovely walkie in the forest - which gives me time both to process all that is going on as well as have the perfect conversation partner, Bogart, to talk with/at. When I returned to the hospital, I went right over to Klaus to tell him all about our walkie. I turned around to put my bag down on the chair, and saw this:

They are AWESOME. I was grinning from ear to ear. All of the nurses were asking who the balloons were from, at first jokingly saying that they must be from a dog. That's exactly right! I am so proud that Bogart is a card-carrying citizen of Gooberstan (code name: Bogartoober), where all the dogs are good-looking, and the humans are above average. (must. change. radio. station)

I brought them over to show to Klaus. I know he would be tickled to be receiving balloons from dogs.

There is another thing that all of the nurses have been coming in to see - I brought in some photos of Klaus and I for him to look at and feel good - they are displayed on a wall. I know that Bogart sometimes thinks since we're his mama and dad we must be uncool or embarrassing, but hey, we were cool once:

Yes, I am wearing a vintage showgirl's costume and headpiece. Yes, Klaus had amusing facial hair back then. Yes, we got married in Las Vegas by Elvis. White. Jumpsuited. Elvis. (oh yeah).

We had to promise to always be each others' hound dog, and to never leave each others' blue suede shoes out in the rain. I can proudly say that we have both lived up to those promises.

The day seems brighter already. Many thanks Stanley and Stella, for making me laugh out loud when I thought I couldn't.



Th-Aire-Apy for Klaus

Last night I received an amazing gift. The team of fantastic nurses here at the hospital have been listening to me yak on and on about Bogart, and the special relationship that he and Klaus share. If there is one thing a nurse understands, it's the power of positive therapy, and what could be more positive than this...

I've gone to great pains to not show too much of Klaus in these photos, but I know they could be disturbing, and for that I apologize in advance.

Bogart walked right in, and after sliding on the slippery floor, he found Klaus. I brought a chair up to Klaus' bedside and Bogart hopped right up.

Bogart kissed Klaus' hand numerous times, and I lifted Klaus' hand so that he could pet Bogart.

Bogart was certainly confused, but his reaction to Klaus was automatic and magical.

He stayed for awhile, but then I had to get him back home. Before we left, I held Klaus' hand tightly and Bogart came in close to kiss us both. Our little family is strong, and we're all working hard to get Klaus his miracle!!!

Thank you yet again - your thoughts, candle lightings, prayers, purrs, hugs, headbutts, and zen mean the absolute world to us.


Lulu & Bogart

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Generosity Set to Overwhelming

The incredible kindness that has flowed from the hearts of so many has me in tears (as if I need to cry more).

I sit here with Klaus - talking like a chatterbox and stroking his hair - and I cry. A lot. Despite the best care and the very best healing vibes, it seems that his body may just be too weak. I'm still looking around for my miracle - for the coolest, handsome-est Dale daddy around.

Yesterday in the midst of one of my many rambling soliloquies, I think I mentioned kissing Klaus. There is far more meaning to that story than I was able to communicate at the time. Because Klaus is so heavily medicated and sedated, he responds rarely. He is on a ventilator, and has a large tube down his throat (amongst a zillion other things). In the midst of my chatter I said to him that one thing I really miss with him being in the hospital is when he kisses me, and that I cannot wait for him to get well so that I can get a big kiss. Just as I said that, his lips slightly puckered. So I bent down and kissed him - and he kissed back. It wasn't much, but it meant the absolute world to me.

Bogart is very, very confused. Klaus and I have always raised Bogart as our fuzzy child, and for the last few years Klaus spent every single day with him. There is a ritual - the two of them walk me to the bus stop in the morning, they have a long afternoon walk together in the forest, and then they pick me up at the bus stop in the evening. Everywhere that we can go that Bogart can come along, Bogart comes along. Right now Bogart gets to walk with me twice a day during the short times that I leave the hospital. Yes he's thrilled to see me, but he is always looking for Klaus to walk in after me. Last night after our walk I kissed him and explained that I had to go back to the hospital to see dad. He stood still as I explained, and then I walked out. I looked back to see a giant fuzzy Dale head in the window - watching. This wouldn't be remarkable except for the fact that Bogart NEVER looks out the front window. And this morning as I arrived, there was that fuzzy head staring just as I pulled up in the Bogcedes.

"Thank you" does not nearly come close to expressing how incredibly warm and loved that we all feel - Bogart, Klaus and I. In a sea full of very bad things, each and every one of you has been a fine oasis in which to spend a little time and think of very good things.



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I Cannot Thank You All Enough

(thank you Miss Asta!!!)

I am absolutely floored at the amount of love that we have received during the scariest day of my life... sitting here in the ICU, seeing the love of my life so very sick, breaks my heart into tiny little pieces that turn around and stab me again and again. I stroke his hair, squeeze his hands, and even was able to give him a kiss on the lips today and then I collapse into my chair by his bedside. I cry a little and reach for my laptop, and every single time I log on my mailbox is flooded with well-wishes from animals around the world. It makes me chuckle a bit because while we have never met in person, through reading and writing our blogs I feel like I know every single one of you, that we are real friends, the kind that are there for you not just in good times, but in bad.

Words simply cannot express my gratitude for all of you at this very scary, very difficult time. Thank you for your wishes, and thank you for the beautiful, fun, and poignant distractions that reading you comments is to me. I want to be there every moment for my husband, and I want him to know how special he is. You all know him as Bogart's dad, to me he is just Klaus. He cannot respond to me directly, but I read him every single comment - and I just know deep down inside he hears and understands.



Dad Update

First of all mama and I want to thank everydog, cat, and hammie for dropping by to send us some dad-love. Mama especially cannot thank you all enough for the incredible concern and kindness that we've received from all over the world.

My dad is very, very sick. He is on life support at the hospital for a very bad infection, liver disease, organs failing, and an issue with his bowel. We have every hand, foot, and paw crossed every which way for him, but he is still very, very sick.

Mama is still working on a miracle for dad - and every day when we receive comments or emails she reads them to him so he KNOWS that he is loved. We're not sure if he can hear, but mama talks to him constantly and has only left his side to come home and take care of me and the kitties. And the cats and I are already working on how to best take care of her right back...

But right now I just want my dad HOME. I want him to be WELL.

Mama promises to keep everyone updated from her spot at dad's side...



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Emergency Zen Required!!!

This morning my dad got very, very sick. They took him to the hospital in an ambulance. Mama is there with him - but he is very sick and needs all of the Aire, Dog, Cat, and Hamster Zen you can muster...

Please Please Please help me make my dad better!!! I'm so sad that I can't be there with him, licking his hand and kissing his face.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hangin' in the SE

It's SUNNY today in Portland - in February - so that means that we HAVE to get out and go for a walk...

Mt. Tabor it is!

Come on dad, you're walking waaaay too slow for my taste. I haven't been here in awhile now, I have to reacquaint myself with all of the smells...

How cool is this tree? Caught my attention because it smelled AWESOME, caught mama's because it was so goofy looking.

Oh, we're going this way?

Let's go!

As always, walkie = hungrie. And yes, we were close to Hawthorne and a hot dog sounded mighty good. Fast, yummy, and since it was so nice outside and we could eat on the street - executive decision made.

I've seen lots of humans on these things - curious creatures, they are.

While waiting for the hot dogs to arrive, dad got to enjoy a frosty brew.

We all really like Zach's Shack - they have so many varieties of hot dogs, and especially because they can make veggie ones for mama.

Lots of fun people walking by today - much Airedmiration for me - sometimes that meant I had to get out of the way, sometimes not so much.

This is my new pal Jay. He has an Airedale at home!!!

I liked him immediately.

He has a girl Airedale, I like girl Airedales...

So I went in for a big fuzzy smooch.

Luckily not only did he understand, but he was completely cool.

One more big smooch Jay, give this one to your pretty Airegirl for me!

Now back to business - hot dogs have arrived. Which one is mine dad?

Mmm... the spicy mustard and sauerkraut is mama's, the Chicago dog is dad's. Guess which one I prefer?

Yep, you can pass that veggie dog over to mama, I'm hoping for a taste of Chicago...


I got the last bite - yep, I was concerned that I wasn't going to get any, but dad did come through.

Maybe I'll try a *little* bit of mama's... if I have to...



To Aire is Divine