I was reminded the other day of what my life was like for a period of time when The Toots was about nine months old.
I had had surgery to remove my thyroid which was cancerous, and some (30 or so) cancerous lymph nodes. For some reason when my thyroid decided to quit on me, so did my back. Literally. I had such bad back spasms that there were periods of time that I could not walk. Eventually, my back healed a bit but was still extremely painful due to constant muscle spasms.
It was really, really awful. I could not take care of the Toodle Bug by myself because I could not lift or carry all fifteen pounds of her. I could not bathe her because I could not stand for more than a minute or two at a time. And the thought of actually bending over was unimaginable to me.
Without us really having to ask, my family jumped in to help. Someone was here with me and The Toots all day, every day. They would come in shifts starting at around eight in the morning so that Charlie could go to work.
The a.m. shift would come and give The Toots a bath, get her food and bottle ready, get her in her high chair and position her in front of my 'chair' so that I could actually feel like a mother to her. Then they would sit on the couch, next to my chair and I'd "visit" with my first 'guest' of the day.
Next came the mid-morning/early afternoon shift. This meant that the morning person was no longer the most important guest on the All Day with Joanna and The Toots Show. Thus, they moved down a space on the couch.
The mid-day person would prepare lunch for Toots and me and we'd all three "visit" because the early morning person didn't want to seem rude to the mid-day relief crew by running out the door right away.
Now, sometimes, we'd have a "surprise" guest star show up. Well, that person was naturally shown our respect and admiration by having the other two each move down a space on the couch so the surprise guest was closest to the stars of our show, me and The Toots. We'd all chat and try to pretend that this had all just transpired by sheer accident and no planning had gone into it whatsoever.
By mid-afternoon, both the morning and afternoon crew would leave. The Toots would be left to snuggle with me in my 'chair' until her sisters or dad came home to help, which would always be soon after the last 'guest' had departed.
But the show must go on and so it did. Each day The Toots and I would host pretty much the same 'guests' brought back by popular demand. The couch was never vacant for long and usually held more than one 'guest'.
I do not remember the exact day our Show ended. It was most likely around the time the State of Maine stepped up to the plate and we were given Private Duty Nursing.
But it was a great show while it lasted and I sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, want to thank all of my "guests" who showed up day in and day out to make our days a bit easier.
And in the word's (twisted to fit my needs) of the late, great, Johnny Carson when he gave his farewell speech upon leaving The Tonight Show:
I can only tell you that it was an honor and a privilege to have you come into my home all those months and entertain me... I bid you a very heartfelt good day.