Monday, February 15, 2016

Trooper goes to the hospital

When my routine colonoscopy was arranged at Evanston Hospital, I told Debby that Trooper was going along with me. He wouldn’t be a full-fledged service dog unless he went everywhere—everywhere.

Debby had her doubts about that. Wouldn’t it be more sensible to leave the dog at home and maybe find a sitter for him?

No, no, I said, he goes. If the law says he can, he goes. 

Of course the Justice Department’s ADA guidelines address the subject of service dogs in hospitals. Patients have the right to take them everywhere except in situations where sterile conditions and safety might be compromised, such as operating rooms.

So Debby negotiated the matter with the hospital. It said Trooper could stay in the GI Lab waiting room with her while I went in for the two hours of prep, procedure and recovery, and afterward the doctor would come out and talk with her in a quiet out-of-the-way spot. But Trooper couldn’t come into the prep and recovery area. 

That was all right with me. He would be fine with Debby.

It didn’t work that way. After the procedure and my delivery to the prep/recovery room to gather my wits, Dr. Yen, the gastroenterologist, came by and told me what I needed to know.

Then he went to the waiting room, collected Debby and Trooper, and brought them both to the prep/recovery room. He went over with Debby what he had told me (never hurts to have her present, especially if I’m still sedative-addled).

Meanwhile Trooper stood on his hind legs, tail wagging, paws on my gurney, and satisfied himself that I had not been dispatched to a bad place.

And everyone in the hospital loved Trooper, even the security guard out front.

The news was good all around.

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