Saturday, May 16, 2009

Helping Hands

August 29, 02

It's been a rough week on the farm, especially for my mother-in-law, Louise.

Her pacemaker started wearing through her skin, which led to surgery to have it repositioned under her pectoral muscle. That resulted in quite a lot of pain, which created the demand for pain meds, which caused constipation, which triggered the use of laxatives, which caused dehydration, which exacerbated her orthostatic hypotension. And in a resulting morning rush to the bathroom, she took a tumble and shattered her femur, big time, resulting in complicated orthopedic surgery with pins, plates, and bone grafts, all ending in a return home for rehabilitation in a hospital bed in our living room. Now she is going to need pretty constant care and assistance for the next few months. My wife has decided to stay home during her recovery.

There must be some good in all of this.

When Louise first came to our home, she was totally bed-ridden, catheterized, disoriented, and was told that she would never walk again. It sounded pretty grim. We were able to get her up and going again, though, so that until this most recent incident, she was doing laundry, washing dishes, cooking meals, and this year canned some bread-and butter pickles that she wants to enter in the county fair along with the best of her African violets. I attribute a big part of her recovery to the fact that we had her bottle raising a pygmy goat and hatching out chicken eggs in the house last winter. Right now we have no babies to raise, though, and the chickens have slowed way down on their egg production.

After Louise was all settled into her hospital bed this time, one of our friends came over to see how things were going. She had gone out and bought a stuffed monkey for Louise, explaining that she had seen a show about a quadriplegic person that had a helper monkey to help fetch things and feed him, etc.

Wow! Light bulbs started flashing in my mind's eye. What a great idea! Why mess with a stuffed one, when you can have the real thing? (Don't tell anyone, but I've always wanted a monkey.)

Anyway, I looked on the Internet and there was the answer: Helping Hands--Monkey Helpers for the Disabled. And they are seeking foster families with one person in the home not working. These families can apply to raise and train a capuchin (organ grinder) monkey for a few years for eventual use in the disabled helping hands program. They explain that raising a young monkey is similar to raising a human child, and requires nearly as much time and patience. Foster parents are expected to bathe and diaper their monkeys on a daily basis. Young monkeys are quite active. They run around exploring their homes, knocking things down. (With a nursing background, my wife loves to clean... I'm pretty sure, anyway.) As with human children, an adult must be there to supervise and intervene at all times if necessary.

In fact, not too long ago, my wife mentioned that she was interested in fostering a child. "Wouldn't it be neat to raise a child around all of our animals?" she asked.

Having fostered a difficult child long ago, and with daughters up and out of the roost now, I wasn't terribly keen on the idea. But fostering a monkey would be perfect!

It would fulfill my wife's desire to care for a foster child.

It would give my mother-in-law a goal in life to get the monkey trained to eventually assist her and others even less fortunate than her in fetching things.

Bob would have a playmate more his own size.

And I would have my revenge on the cats.

Now I just need to sell Deb and Louise on the idea. Hopefully, selling them on the camel was just a warm-up pitch.

Stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment