For the weak of stomach, this is a non-icky nursing story.
I found her cuddling with a stuffed bunny. 70 years old, thoroughly lucid (not always the case in my job), normally in excellent health, and clutching a rather raggedy-looking stuffed bunny as I have seen five-year-olds do.
"That's a cute stuffed animal," I told her.
"Yes, my grandson gave it to me. I have several, and this one is one of the ugliest, but I love it best," she told me matter-of-factly. "I call him Bunny."
Before I tell you another word about Bunny, I must clarify that "Bunny" is actually a teddy bear wearing a suit with bunny ears. I didn't find this out until the end of my shift, which left me feeling that I'd regarded the animal in a false light the entire day. Like going all day referring to someone's cat as a "she" when it is actually a "he".
She went on, "A few years ago I went to Europe to visit all the organs that Bach played on. I'm terrified of flying, and this was my longest flight to date, so I took Bunny with me on the airplane."
I thought to myself, "Are you really 70?"
"One night in Germany I went out for a dinner, and left Bunny in bed with his feet propped up so he'd be comfortable until I returned. When I got back, I found the maid that turned down my bed had also placed Bunny on my pillow so he'd be waiting for me cozily."
Then, quite seriously, "I guess it doesn't matter what language you speak--people understand about stuffed animals."
Later, I got her ready for a procedure that would last several hours. She set Bunny up on her bed and said, "I guess he'll be all right here until I get back."
"You know, if you want to, you can take Bunny with you."
"Oh, can I?" Her face shining.
I tucked Bunny in amongst her blankets, and delivered her for her procedure, with strict instructions that they take care of Bunny while she was asleep.
When she and Bunny came back that evening, I confessed to her about Waldo, the purple stuffed elephant that I sleep with every night. A huge grin lit her face, and as I left, she told me, "Say hi to your purple elephant for me."
And I left feeling at one with that German maid.