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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bob Turns 54

Yesterday was Bob's 54th birthday. That morning, I asked him how old he was. He told me that he was "two."

I told him that he looked a bit older than two years old. He thought about it, then said, "oh yeah, twelve!"

All righty.

I wanted to do something special for him so I asked him if he'd like to go to the Starbucks down the street. I wasn't sure if he would, because he hasn't eaten/drinken anything since his last swallow video. I'm not sure if this is psychological (a giving up on swallow practice) or if he just plain doesn't have an appetite, but I don't push him. No need to risk aspiration if he's not into it.... So I was quite pleased when he said, "very nice" and "I like that." Then, he even requested "vanilla" for a coffee flavor.

But I tell you, the best thing that happened yesterday was not Starbucks, but this:

Bob & Zenith

I will tell you why this is so special.

Bob & Zenith, pre-stroke
Bob had always wanted a Siamese cat but I have always been a rescuer of strays and told him that I did not want to buy a purebred cat when so many shelter cats needed homes. So we were both delighted when we found Zenith (a 10 week old Snowshoe Siamese) at the SPCA shelter. Bob and Zenith became fast friends. Early on, Bob taught Zenith to perch on his shoulder. Every night, when Bob came home from work, Zenith was at the door waiting for him. Then she would immediately launch herself onto his shoulder, (no small feat for a kitten since Bob is 6'3") and curl around his neck. He would take her for "a ride".  All the while, Bob would chat away to Zenith, often singing her songs. It was a nightly ritual.  I tell you, people used to stop and stare at this tall blonde guy singing to a Siamese cat curled around his neck.

Then Bob was hospitalized for over two months. During that time, Zenith often wandered the house, plaintively crying. But when Bob finally came home, I was dismayed that Zenith was terribly frightened of him. She could tell that Bob was not the same. And she was frightened by the new hospital bed and medical equipment making strange noises, and strangers coming and going and even the wheelchair. She avoided Bob like the plague.... Which truly broke his heart. Mine too.

Zenith checking out Bob's wheelchair.
Then yesterday, after I got Bob into his wheelchair and while I was brushing his hair, Zenith jumped up on Bob's bed. I could see her watching Bob before she tentatively, oh so tentatively reached out with her paw and gently touched Bob's knee. Then, slowly, oh so slowly, she climbed on his lap. For the first time, since the stroke. It's been two years.

Then, Zenith proceeded to check out Bob's wheelchair.

And I grabbed the camera.

And Bob, as you can tell by his expression, was absolutely delighted.

Afterwards, we went to Starbucks. Where Bob enjoyed a thickened vanilla latte and managed to quaff about 1/8 of a cup. Without a single spill. Without aspirating.

Happy Birthday Bob!

All in all, a very happy birthday.


J.L. Murphey said...

Happy fifty fourth Bob! Can't think of a better present than Zenith gave you. God bless our furry friends.

barbpoln said...

Happy birthday, Bob. Co-incidentally, yesterday was my husband's 56th birthday. He and our dog have rituals too, and Turbo is afraid of changes, especially things in the house that are not supposed to be there - i.e., are new. To accept Bob's chair 2 years after makes Zenith far braver than Turbo. Pets are such a comfort. May Zenith's return to their old ritual be permanent!

Rebecca Dutton said...

What a blessing Zenith gave Bob.

Anonymous said...

Tell Bob HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Love seeing Zenith with him. Thinking of you both. Love Ed & Neta

SSTattler said...

Hey Bob - we are middle-age - the best!.
Cheers / John A.

Willowangel said...

Happy Birthday Bob!!!!!!!!!

Pictures sure do tell the story!

Wishing you both all the best (HUGS)


Grace Carpenter said...

Happy Birthday, Bob!

You can feel the love in the photos.

Anonymous said...

The sky is the limit, keep looking for miracles, zenith is comfortable with Bob again, Bob was able to enjoy some coffee and you were there to take pictures and share with us, isn't that great! More Bdays to you Bob!!


Jenn said...

Such a great birthday present! Yay Zenith! A very Happy Birthday to you, Bob!!! And many, many more!

Jenn said...

Check out the Fumanchu 'stache going on! : )

Cheri said...

Bob's sister Sue wanted to wish him a happy birthday but couldn't figure out the comment process on the blog. anyway, i wanted to pass that along.

the anti-robot thing as changed. hmmmmm.....

- Cheri, Big Sis

cheri said...

Wierd. the robot thing has a photo and a graphic. i tried typing in the letters in the photo and it got rejected.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Bob ! So beautiful Zenith and you. Made me cry.