It was around 3:30 in the morning. Like damn-near every night since Ryan was attacked (coming up on ten years this autumn), I was awake. Wide awake.
Can you believe it was exactly one week ago that I wrote to let you know that there is a real chance that Ryan might develop a pressure ulcer (a.k.a., bed sore)? In case you missed that post, I’ll recap it and give you an update on Ryan’s progress at the end of this one.
My anxiousness doesn’t interfere with my productivity, for sure. Now that I think about it, I’m certainly more industrious because I’m nervous. I find that it helps to keep me busy. “Knocking out projects!”, as I say. Well, I had just wrapped-up cleaning the refrigerator and was taking the cleaning supplies to the outside shed. When I opened the patio door, chaos came running in. A tiny black mouse ran between my feet.
Honestly, the little guy was so damned cute. Turns out, he was also quite quick and agile… and crafty! If I hadn’t known any better, I would have thought he was just playing with me. No matter, he had to go. One way or another, he was destined to be removed. It was in his
hands‘ paws in what form.
To be fair, I blurted out this warning to the little intruder rather sternly. He needed to be clear that I meant business! So, much like thinking that reason and consequences will somehow stop a dog to not dare grab some food from the countertop — or he’ll surely regret it — I blurted out an ultimatum to the mouse; “Lennie Small, choose how you’ll leave this house!”
That’s right, I named him Lennie Small. Instinctively, this name came to mind but I briefly wasn’t quite sure why. I probably confused it with Stuart Little, who was an adorable white mouse from a movie my children watched when they were very young. I was a tad angry at myself for not calling him this.
That is until I recognized where I got it from. It came to me from a character in a short novel that I read (in high school) by John Steinbeck. I probably read all his books, but this one was… you guessed it… Of Mice and Men.
Which easily flowed into “Of Mice and Ken”! It was at that exact second that, no matter the outcome, the title-parody was worthy of a blog post. In fact, I could just end here if not for what turned into a slapstick… all because of my desire to not harm Lennie.
But Lennie was tempting fate.
When it was all over he survived two dogs, a cat, a nurse, and me.
At first, I thought things would wrap up quickly. I had him blocked off, pinned behind a dog bed, just inches from the outside door from where he entered. The only problem was the door was closed and when I had to lean to open it the dog bed slide. Lennie made his break for it… in the complete opposite direction of the door.
Now he was behind the couch.
I moved quickly to pull the couch away from the wall… and the dogs thought I must be playing. Both Tucker and Duke were underfoot, mirroring my every move… and totally oblivious of the mouse. They were bobbing and weaving and it was only a matter of time until I stumbled over one (Tucker) and the other (Duke) finished me off.
As if cued, our cat comes in from outside (enter stage right when the man is on the floor) and starts stalking Lennie. I get to my knees as quickly as possible and hiss at the cat while acting like I just pulled my claws. Imagine both hands at shoulder height, palms out, and finger’s curled… like grabbing a pair of boobs? I can’t believe that it worked! That jester, seemingly, has the same effect on cats as it does on women because it scared her off.
All the while this is just too much fun for the dogs. They start barking in excitement.
Lennie hugs the wall, running back toward the open door. He’s going to leave on his own, I think. Truth is, he probably would have if not for Tucker seeing him. Curious, he takes the perfect pursuit angle to cut Lennie off… again, inches from the outside door.
Can you guess where the mouse went next?
Right toward the (closed) door to Ryan’s room, but I know how mice can flatten themselves to fit through the smallest of openings. It was futile, but I tried to win the race to the door before he could squeeze through the threshold.
But not by much. I threw Ryan’s bedroom door open and burst in low and hard (like someone expecting gunfire), scaring the living bejeebers out of the nurse. She jumps up, likewise scaring the living bejeebers out of the mouse that was coming across the room. It freezes. Now the nurse sees the mouse… and, you know, bejeebers again.
Lennie did an about-face, then went under some therapy equipment in the corner of Ryan’s room. He’s literally cornered! I got him now!
Well, I would have but the nurse is charging toward him with a broom and the mouse escapes to the other side of the room.
Will this never end!
I take the broom from the nurse. As much as I don’t want to harm the little guy I simply can’t let him get away. I brace myself for what will come next to poor Lennie.
I lift the broom, tighten my grip around the handle, then…
Lennie just sits there.
I bring the broom down. Gently. Simultaneously pinning him to the floor and sweeping him to a corner. Nearby are two acrylic Ryan’s Rally posters that I grab and box him in. I tell the nurse to keep him cornered so I can find something to safely capture that lucky son-of-a-bitch.
I place a mason jar over him then slide a piece of cardboard underneath him. With a degree of admiration (and affection) I carry him to pond behind our house and set Lennie free.
I like that I’m able to tell you a nice story (about myself) but, moreover, I’m happy for Lennie.
A final Thought
Just one last thing before getting you updated on Ryan’s injury. It only occurred to me after I was preparing this post for release.
As most of you would have done, I showed compassion for a living being. There was nothing especially admirable or heroic about it. Why? Because it was the right thing to do. On the other hand, I doubt many would have faulted me for ridding my home of an (oftentimes) disease-carrying varmint. A pest, by almost any measure. To me, this mouse was ultimately defenseless. I know it would weigh on me for many years if I acted differently.
Now, let’s flip it. To harm a person… particularly a defenseless person for NO reason is inexcusable. I’m talking about abusing an infant… or the elderly… or kicking an unconscious college student in the head so hard that it was described as “like kicking a football”.
Do you see the difference here? People like us, who would struggle… and, well, monsters, who are without remorse. Can anyone be blamed for this making us angry — and perhaps hate — such low-life thugs?
Recap & Update: Pressure Ulcer
Again, if you missed that blog post, titled Under Pressure (Ulcer), then here’s a quick recap: The overnight nurse inadvertently left the seatbelt buckle on his wheelchair seat then covered it with a cloth pad. Ryan sat on it all day. I discovered this when I was transferring Ryan from his wheelchair to the shower chair that evening. His buttocks looked frighteningly red, swollen, bleeding, and seeping.
First, the good news is I’m feeling more confident that this trauma will not ulcerate. As of this morning, Ryan hasn’t (at least yet) developed a noticeable soft or hard spot under his skin. That would indicate an abscess is expanding and making its way outward… ultimately erupting into a pressure ulcer as it breaks the skin. Now, some not so good news. An enormous blister, both in area and volume, begins at his tailbone and doesn’t stop until his thigh.
God bless you for your kindness and compassion (and humor!) for Lennie, and God bless Ryan. So much love to you and your wonderful family.
Michele Brandt says
Just checking in on how Ryan is doing. I know from FB that you have a big thing in September. But was concerned as to how he is doing now. Many positive thoughts are with you all.
Ann H tearle says
Just another fantastic posting, ken. Lucky little dude, Lennie! You are indeed, a kind, compassionate man. I’m so sorry for the blister – no good deed goes unpunished! No pressure ulcer, but a blister! God bless you, honey, and Ryan. SHSP NGA Prayers and love, and always on my mind…Annie
Where was the filming crew when you needed them?
Tim Ernandes says
“which way did he go, George?” LOL. I love everything about this story.
Jean Dolan says
Story was so funny and compassionate,I’m not sure I could be that kind but you will make me think next time one of those little critters creeps into my house.On another note,I am so sad about Ryan’s blister!! Darn!! He is so very lucky to have such a awesome caring family.Bless you all!!
Stacy Davis says
Thank you for showing such compassion. I was worried when I started that things would end badly for poor little Lennie! I’m so sorry to hear about Ryan’s blister. He may be “minimally” conscious but I’m sure he still feels pain. A blister on the buttocks sounds very painful.