Monday, October 22, 2007

As the Day Begins

You never know where the day will take you.

I teach with another teacher four periods a day and we share a big double-sized classroom. We also each teach a class alone. His single class is first period.

So I walk into our classroom during his first period, smile (or scowl--it IS 7:45 AM) at his students--many of whom I know well. My colleague is instructing his students to start an assignment while they wait for the bell to ring.

So, I sit at my computer and log on, when I hear a girl sobbing hysterically. I turn around, and this girl has her hands over her face and, as I said, is sobbing. A couple of students get up to comfort her, but she says nothing and just keeps sobbing. My colleague walks over and starts patting her on the back and tells her it's ok, but gives me a look that shows he has no idea what's going on either.

And she keeps sobbing. Usually, you can expect high school girls to begin crying like this at a moment's notice, but they usually calm down. This poor girl was heaving and sobbing and clearly unable to talk.

We both realize that she's not crying but is having problems breathing. So, I quietly tell my colleague that I'm going to call the school nurse and I do so.

The nurse walks in, very calmly, and goes to the girl. She knew who this girl was when I gave her our room number and begins telling her in a calm voice "It's ok Christy. Breath. Just breath."

The girl starts breathing and gasping and soon sobs "My body hurts! My body hurts!"

The bell rings and I shepherd the students out. I tell my colleague that I'm going to keep the students outside, thinking at the time that the girl will be alright once the crowd leaves.

So the class and I sit over at the lunch tables and wait. By the way, it's very windy outside, so dust is blowing everywhere.

Soon administrators come. Then the girls mother comes. Then the paramedics come.

I take the students to the library to get out of the wind and because I don't know what's happening or how long it will take.

Meanwhile, my colleague is in there with the girl, the nurse, the girl's mother, and several administrators. Tells me later how the girl went into seizure five times and actually turned blue. All the while, the nurse gently reminded the girl to breath.

The paramedics took her to the hospital and I don't know how she is but I haven't heard from my colleague or anyone else, so I hope that's a good sign.

But what a day.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Designed for Dogs by Dogs

I got two puppies in August. I named them Ruby and Pearl. They are the mongrel offspring of my brother's latest dog, who is herself one of the ugliest dogs I have ever seen. Someone found her as a stray and somehow, Billy C got bamboozled into adopting it. Turned out she was pregnant to boot.

For mutts, they are quite beautiful. If I can get a picture of them where they don't jump up and try to eat the camera lens, I'll post them.

Anyway, when I moved into this house, the dog run out in back had an old dilapidated dog house, ripe with termites and other vermin. Gloria wouldn't go near it, but Joey would. It was so unsightly that I dismantled it (actually, it just sort of collpapsed when I touched it) and got one of those Dogloo things. Neither dog ever went inside it that I know of. It didn't matter if it rained, if the wind was blowing, or it was cold outside. Whenever I put a mattress in it, they would pull it out and sleep outside the Dogloo.

Roscoe, Gloria's replacement, would go inside either.

When I brought Ruby and Pearl home, I cleaned out the dog run and tried to give it some feng shui. I cleaned out the Dogloo and put in a mattress. At first, they'd go inside once in awhile. But, like their predecessors, they'd take the mattress out and sleep outside.

There was this old plastic garbage can on wheels that I got before the city started providing receptacles for the various grades of garbage. It's been sitting in my back yard for the past years--only being used when I had extra garbage. Ruby and Pearl knocked it over one day and discovered that it made a great doggie fort. They would use it to play hide-and-seek, king of the mountain, and some doggie games for which I don't know the rules.

The morning after the rain last week, I went outside and found that, instead of using the Dogloo for shelter, Pearl had used the garbage can. Then I thought, hey, it's big, durable, and the wheels make it easy to move around--the perfect dog house.

So I cleaned the thing out and put it right next to the Dogloo. They love it.

The only problem is that, when they are playing king of the mountain, the think makes a racket like a cannon every time one of them jumps on top of it.

I hope they don't play at night.