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Teaching an Old Dog

Joe Flach Avatar Joe Flach - LIFETIME Premium Member Joe Flach - Premium MemberPremium Member Send Soup Mail Go to Poets Blog Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below is the poem entitled Teaching an Old Dog which was written by poet Joe Flach. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Teaching an Old Dog

All I remember is going into the garage to get the snow shovel.
 
I am not even sure how much of the driveway I managed to shovel.  Apparently, I was lying in the snow for several hours before one of the neighbors noticed me.

The next thing I remember is waking up from a deep sleep to the sounds of beeping machines with tubes and wires stuck into and on my body.

As I slowly regained consciousness and my eyes were able to focus, I was aware of a young, bald child looking down on me.

“Hi,” said the smiling, angelic face.  Given the child’s age and complete baldness, I could not tell whether they were a boy or a girl.  And, with the tube inserted in my throat and taped to my mouth, I was in no position to return their salutation.

I tried to remember who this child might be and why they were here with me.  I guess my eyes displayed my confusion as the child said, “I'm Elizabeth.  They let me walk around the hospital a little.  Sometimes I sneak out of the oncology wing and look for people who have no visitors.  I like to make sure someone is there when they wake up.  I know I always like to see someone when I wake up from my operations.”

She just stood above me smiling.  I then noticed she was holding my hand.

“Sometimes it is hard for family members or friends to come visit.  Some people just really don’t like hospitals.  And, I guess”, she said, “not everybody has someone that close to them.  So, I like to become their visitor for them.  I hope you don’t mind.”

I didn’t mind.  Although it did make me embarrassed to realize that I fit in the latter category; I didn’t have anybody that close to me.

She just smiled at me and petted my hand as the medications worked their magic on me and I started to drift back off to sleep.  I heard a nurse come into the room and say, “There you are, Honey.  You need to get back to your room now and leave this nice man be.”

The next time I regained consciousness, I noticed a hand drawn picture of a house with a Christmas tree out front with a note that said, “I hope you get home before Christmas” and was signed by Elizabeth.

Each new day, I was welcomed by another drawing of Christmas scenes; smiling faces; reindeer; and, starry skies.  All containing a happy note and all signed, ”Love, Elizabeth”.

After ten days of recovery and following the insertion of two stents into my heart, I was well enough to return to my empty home.  On my way out of the hospital, I stopped by the Oncology Wing to say good-bye and thank you to Elizabeth.  When I asked the nurse at the floor station where I could find Elizabeth, she replied, “Oh I'm sorry, Elizabeth is no longer with us.”

I then said, “Well can you tell me her home address or phone number, I would really like to thank her for visiting me in my hospital room this past week.”

The look on the nurse’s face indicated that I misunderstood what she had meant.  Elizabeth was no longer with us.

Sadly, I started walking towards the exit.

Just before I got to the elevator, I noticed an open door with a man lying on his bed, with tubes in his nose and throat and nobody else in the room with him.  I went into his room and sat in the empty chair.

When he opened his eyes two hours later, I said, “Hi, I'm Joe.  I noticed there was nobody here when you were brought back from your operation and I know how nice it is to see a smiling face when you wake up, so I thought I would sit here with you for a while.  I hope you don’t mind.”

He squeezed my hand; gave a slight smile; and, slowly drifted off back to sleep.

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  1. Date: 12/11/2012 7:08:00 PM
    Joe, this is an amazing write. You have penned a mighty narrative here. It goes a long way in strengthening my belief in angels.... Jake

  1. Date: 11/30/2012 5:04:00 AM
    Joe, this is totally amazing, it held me right to the very end, don't know if it's true but either way you should turn this into a short story, well done...David

  1. Date: 11/29/2012 11:23:00 PM
    Ohh, I love it! What an awesome story. So touching and warm. Beautiful write, Joe. You learned a great lesson :)