Arf: I call the front seat.
Once again, Mark was taking all three dogs to the hospital with him. He felt more comfortable with them having to wait in the truck for a while than to leave them in the little cabin up on the mountain by themselves. He could let them out periodically for short walks, and they would get along fine. Besides, he knew that seeing Arf and Annie would be good for Clark and he could meet his grandpa’s dog, Biff.
Doctor Murphy promised he would be in his office when Brad and Clark arrived. He had to be the one to give them an update on Mr. Sanders’ condition. They would have a lot of questions.
Mark had been thinking about something all day and after things settled down a bit, he intended to tell Brad about his idea.
“What do you think, Arf?” He asked the dog who thought he was pretty clever for beating Annie and Biff out of the front seat. “Do you think you might be able to work your magic again? The outcome of all of this, could be in your hands…I mean paws.”
Arf: I didn’t know what to do but to bark my yes bark. I’m usually a happy dog, but lately I had been feeling like I wasn’t worth the good bones I always get. I had four new frisbees that I hadn’t done anything to earn. I needed to step it up and do my part. Uh…I wondered what that might be.
Annie: If Mark gives you something important to do can I help? Clark is in school now and I get bored. I want to do something that makes a difference in someone’s life.
Biff: Woofta! You two are wearing me out. I just want to see my human get better. That’s all I want. When he gets better and comes home, you all can make like a tree and leave. I can take care of him just fine.
When Mark pulled into the same spot he had occupied that morning, he saw Brad’s truck parked in front of the hospital. “The doctor is probably already talking to them. I guess I’ll go in and see what’s going on. You all be good dogs and I’ll come and walk you a little bit later. Who knows. Maybe Clark or Brad will come out to see you.
“Doctor Murphy is going over Mr. Sanders’ condition with his grandson and Mr. Humboldt. He asked that you wait in the waiting room and he will come and get you at the appropriate time.”
“Your grandfather doesn’t have any broken bones and he doesn’t appear to have a concussion, but I’m afraid there is an injury that can’t be fixed. We’ve had to keep him sedated while we worked to get his temperature down so he isn’t aware of anything, yet. I’m really glad you will be here to support him when we have to give him the news.”
“What news are you going to give Grandpa John?” Clark asked.
“Your grandfather is blind, son. It’s a permanent condition. I anticipate that he will be well enough to leave the hospital in about a week. Hopefully, he will be open to getting some occupational therapy. At his age, it won’t be easy to relearn how to perform tasks he’s done automatically his whole life.”
Clark didn’t say anything. His head was spinning.
“My sister is blind,” Brad said. “She was badly burned in a fire when she was sixteen. She went through years of physical and emotional pain while enduring multiple surgeries, but the hardest thing of all, was accepting the realization that she would never see again. I know what you mean, Doctor Murphy. At his age, Mr. Sanders will have a very difficult time adjusting to not being able to see…especially since he lives alone in a cabin up in the mountains.”
“I’ll stay with him and help him,” Clark said. “I want to. I have to.”
“We’ll find a way to help your grandpa, son. Doctor Murphy, when will he be well enough and lucid enough to be told about his blindness?”
“He’ll have to be told as soon as the sedation wears off. Otherwise, he will realize it on his own and in all likelihood he’ll panic which would not be good for him. Come back at midday tomorrow. You might have to wait a couple of hours, but I’m certain he will be fully awake by early tomorrow evening. We will keep him here a few more days. He’ll need some time to regain his strength.”
Mark saw Clark and Brad leave the doctor’s office. He could see the uncertainty in Brad’s face and the confusion in Clark’s eyes. This was not going to be easy for that young man or the people who loved him and wanted to be there for him.