Well, I got sick, which, of course, is exactly what you need to have happen when your wife is hospitalized on a wing full of newborn babies. I started to feel the symptoms come on when I was cleaning our place in anticipation of our new roomie…the fabulous Miss Madeline Alice. Over the last few months, you see, our place had gotten a tad cluttered thanks to, among other things, my compulsive hording of Giants bobbleheads. I was making good progress when my Mom called en route from the Bay Area with my Dad. I had barely said hello when she, in that weird, psychic way mothers have, immediately shrieked, “Oh my God. You’re sick, aren’t you?” It was then I realized I did have a scratch at the back of my throat, though I nonetheless yelled into the phone that I was fine and that I would appreciate it if you would at least say hi before you launch into a lecture thank you very much.
Later, as I was cleaning some more, I sneezed…then sneezed….and sneezed again. I literally could not stop sneezing. Even Rigby woke up from her nap on the couch and looked at me like “What the hell, dude?” I looked back at her in such a way that I was sure communicated to canines that I had no idea before I sneezed again. When I sneezed for the tenth time I started to panic, and remembered that guy I’d read about in the Guinness Book Of World Records who sneezed non-stop for forty years. “Oh my God,” I thought, “What if I’m like that guy?” I mean at some point he had to have been a regular dude just going about his day and then, out of the blue, he became the sneeze freak. Sweat beaded on my brow as I sneezed for the fourteenth consecutive time, and Rigby started to bark at me which really wasn’t helping matters. I then flashed-forward to picking up Madeline from school in fifteen years and saw her standing with the cool girl who would say, “What is, like, the deal with your weirdo dad always sneezing, Maddie?” Maddie would then hug her backpack, mortified, and stare eye daggers at me as I waited in the car, sneezing. Luckily, I finally stopped sneezing and was able to go back to cleaning.
When my parents arrived a few hours later I was so sick that my own mother, the person who is supposed to love you unconditionally, winced upon seeing me as if I was a homeless man peeing in the gutter. She literally said, “Oh, honey. That’s terrible you’re sick. Can you stand back a few feet?” Despite feeling awful I did manage to go with my parents to visit Heather. I felt so bad though that I almost shoved Heather out of her hospital bed so that I could climb into it myself. It was a rough couple of days, but I am on the mend and feeling better now thankfully.
The other interesting thing that happened was that Linda and I snuck Ribgy into the hospital so that Heather could see her for the first time in two weeks. The hospital had security though, and dogs aren’t allowed, so getting her inside was a real…wait for it…Mission Im-PAW-sible! (Thanks! I’ll be here all week!)
Upon arriving at the hospital we stuffed Rigby into my backpack and zipped closed the top. For once in her life she was quiet as we walked with the backpack past security, and I wondered if she was quiet because she thought she’d been kidnapped. I suddenly imagined Rigby having been kidnapped by Al Queda, and a little grainy video being released of her barking with masked, armed men in the background. Over that we’d hear a translator say, “The imperialists must leave Iraq or they will end my puppy life.”
Anyway, we finally got to the room and Heather was so happy to see Rigby that she cried. It was the sweetest, most heartfelt reunion ever until I had to shove Rigby back down into the backpack and zip closed the top.