Doing What We Can
You wander down the hall, doing your daily rounds. You work in a hospice, and you have a very important job.
You see, fluffies were built for love and hugs. Between this and their ability to hold a (very) basic conversation, they make excellent service animals.
You’re a fluffy. You’re very proud of what you do. You’re in charge of all the other fluffies in this wing of the hospice. Most of the people living here are too old or sick to take care of themselves and need lots of help; many are dying and have come here to live out their final days somewhere comfortable without the cold, sterile environment of a hospital.
Or at least, that’s what the nurses say. You’re not quite sure what all of that means, but it makes sense.
Trudging down the hall, you nod to Pickles, a green-and-yellow unicorn, as he runs down the hall to the safe room with a panicked look on his face.
“Nee witta bawx! Nee witta bawx!”
You glance over your shoulder to make sure he at least made it into the safe room, then continue your rounds.
First, the yellow rooms. You have a hard time remembering names and keeping people straight, so the hoomin staff made it easy on you. There are four rooms of each color in your wing, so if there’s something to report you just tell a nurse what color the door was and how many circles were painted on the door so they know which room to go to. First, yellow one.
Poking your head in, you see Mistah Foweman. He’s old, like most of the hoomins here, with no hair and wrinkly skin. He always wears the same red sweater, sits in an old orange chair he brought from home, and watches football on an old teebee set that sits in a wood box on the floor. He says he’s been watching football on the same teebee in the same chair “since the sixties” (you have no idea how long that is, but he’s old, so it’s probably a long time.) and isn’t about to change. Baxter, a stallion with short, coarse, red fluff, is sitting beside the chair getting his ears scratched. Baxter is a Cwydesdawe, big, square, and with short fluff except for around his ankles and a ruffle on his chest. Mistah Foweman likes Baxter most of all, because “you don’t look like a sissy faggot like the rest of the pride parade here”. Mistah Foweman is yelling at the teebee, his favorite activity.
“Can you believe they traded this guy from the Packers? He’s a dumbass! Hey Baxter, you wanna get me a beer?”
Baxter jumps up, tugs on the knotted rope attached to the door of the little cold box next to the teebee, and picks up a can in his mouth and trots back to Mistah Foweman with it. He smiles and nods in greeting when he sees you and goes back to getting his ears scratched.
“Y’know Baxter, the rest of those furballs might deserve my foot up their ass, but you’re allright. Not as good as my old dog, but you’re allright. Find my socks, would ya? My feet are gettin’ cold. Bad enough my damn grandkids never bother to visit, now I gotta freeze my ass off…”
Situation normal. You wander down to yellow two, the next room.
An old lady whose name you can never remember is using her walkie-thing to slowly move across the room. Maisy, the only mummah at the hospice, is showing off her four babbehs.
“Oh! Are those your little babies, Maisy? They are so adorable! You must be a proud momma!”
Good. This lady has a hard time keeping fluffies straight and often gets confused, but she loves the babies. You make sure Maisy visits her every day to get showered with love and attention.
Moving on, you visit yellow three. No one here. The bed is made and there are no personal belongings in the room. Must be getting ready for someone new. On to the next room, yellow four.
It’s Thelma. She’s a really, REALLY old lady, and she can’t remember where she is or who anyone is (hoomin or fluffy). She doesn’t recognize her own family when they come to visit. But she recognizes Spot; Spot is a brown and white pegasus, and he takes his job very seriously. Thelma needs someone to keep her company, and spends all day in her wheelie chair with Spot in her lap, petting him and talking. None of what she says makes sense; the nurses say she’s remembering the past. But she’s always happy when Spot is there, and he’s very attentive to her needs, fetching help when she needs it and comforting her when she gets upset about how confused and forgetful she is. She gets so upset that Spot permanently moved into her room with her, even having his own litter box hidden in the bathroom so he doesn’t have to leave her alone for very long.
Right now, she’s stroking Spot and talking to someone named Jane. Spot looks like he’s napping, but keeps making encouraging noises to keep her talking. All is well here. Next are the green rooms.
You poke your head into green one and nearly bump into Tulip, a bright pink mare, as she’s leaving. She holds a hoofsie against your nosie and says, “Shhhhh! Missus Owangefiewd am napping!”
You nod. This old lady sleeps a lot, but when she’s awake she’s very lonely; the nurses say she doesn’t have any family left. Tulip is her favorite fluffy; Tulip does a good job of keeping her company and making her laugh with her silly antics.
“Whewe Tuwip gu?”
You nod and watch her trot off to the safe room and see her exchange polite greetings with Pickles as he returns from using the litter box. You follow Pickles into green two.
“Pickwes am back!”
The person in this room isn’t old, he’s a hoomin babbeh. He has to stay in bed all day and has weird beepy, hissy machines next to the bed to make him better. He can’t play or run or jump, but he likes to tell Pickles jokes. Pickles doesn’t understand why a lot of the jokes are funny, but he laughs anyway. He’s also Maisy’s special friend. Like Maisy, Pickles visits a lot of the people who live in your wing, but he spends of his time here because he’s the boy’s favorite. He even has a special ramp so he can get in bed with him and cuddle. All is well here.
You check green three and pause. Angel is in here. That’s a bad sign. The old man in this room is very sick, and right now he’s lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. He’s petting Angel on the back, between his wingies, while Angel hugs him.
Angel is a grey pegasus that doesn’t belong in your wing; he doesn’t belong in any wing. He spends most of his time roaming the halls or lounging in one of the safe rooms, and usually ignores the nurses and the people living here. The only time he visits and cuddles with someone is…
… when they’re going to take forever sleepies soon. You asked the nurses how Angel always knew, but they don’t know how he does it either. And Angel can’t tell anyone; he had throat owies as a babbeh and can’t speak. But when someone is about to take forever sleepies, Angel is always there to comfort them. He turns his head and meets your eyes, then slowly nods. You have saddies; you don’t want this nice hoomin to have forever sleepies. You turn and walk down the hall to the nurse’s station, briefly sticking your head into green four.
The old lady in this room is well enough to walk around on her own, but right now she’s fussing over Bella and stroking her. Bella is a kitteh-fwend; she belonged to the old lady before she came here, and she got along with fluffies, so instead of kitteh-munsta all the fluffies in your wing call her kitteh-fwend. Like Spot, she has her own litter box in the room, but that’s because she’s not smart enough to go to the safe room to make poopies or peepees. You like Bella; she gives hugs and lickies, but she makes your nose itch.
After your brief glance into green four, you trot down the hall and through the little fluffy door next to the big hoomin door and enter the nurse’s station. Floyd, the fluffy in charge of the blue-red wing across from yours, is talking to one of the nurses there.
“Candyfwoss had aks-sked-dent in haww-way, she nu make it tu witta bawx in time.”
“Ok, thank you Floyd. We’ll have someone come take care of it.”
Floyd waggles a hoofsie at you in greeting and returns to his wing. You trot up to the nurse and tap his leggie with a hoofsie.
“What’s up, Sigmund? Everything ok?”
You shake your head, eyes watering.
“What’s wrong, fella?”
“Angew in gween twee.”
The nurse suddenly gets serious.
“Angel is in green three?”
You nod. You have bad saddies now.
“Ok, I’ll check it out. Janice, would you mind calling Mr. Horton’s family and telling them now would be a good time to visit? He hasn’t got very long.”
“Oh no, is Angel in there? I’ll make the call.”
“Thanks Sigmund. I’ll take care of it.”
You nod and push your way back through the fluffie door and begin your rounds again at yellow one.
You have a very important job to do.