In my life I’ve had several dogs, and all the dogs I’ve ever had have behaved the same way; when I came home, whenever that was, the dog was always happy to see me. Nay, excited and happy to see me. Run-to-the-door and wag-their-tail and jump-in-my-lap happy to see me.
That kind of happy to see me was true of my two daughters when they were young. When I’d come home, if they were still up, they’d run excitedly to me yelling “Daddy’s home! Daddy’s home! Yay!” and either jump in my arms or, if my arms were full, each grab one of my legs and be dragged along. They grew out of that, though. Trust me, they don’t get up off the couch now, much less yell “Yay!” or anything like that.
Sue hasn’t always been that happy to see me. For example, when I’d come home late from work and missed dinner, or some ill behavior like that. There’s an old and sorry joke about the difference between your wife and your dog. If you put them both in the trunk of your car for an hour and then come back and open up the trunk, the dog will be happy to see you, and your wife will be ready to kill you. There’ve been times when I’m pretty sure Sue was ready to kill me. O.K. Real sure.
But being really sick and being in a hospital and being at the mercy of forces beyond your control can reduce you to a more animal (or infantile, if you prefer) state. One like the dog or the child who’s happy to have any kind visitor most anytime, and even happier to have a special one. That’s the state Sue lives in these days. I call it the “Happy To See You” state.
Of course, she wears out quickly, too, and so does your welcome. Sometimes when I wanted to be ornery, as visitors were leaving our house I would announce, “John, everyone who comes here brings joy to our house. Some bring joy when they come, and some bring joy when they go.” In the case of visiting Sue at the hospital, you will likely bring her joy on both ends of the equation.