A few days ago, Derek’s boss and friend, Greg Hallerman sent him a photograph of a yellow anteater. He said that Derek’s description of feeling like a pachyderm after his feeding tube was installed sent him on an internet hunt. He sent him a photo of his discovery and Derek showed me. We both thought it was positively adorable. I’ll let Greg take over the story from here:
The Fleecy Anteater Story
I had been following Derek and Logan’s blog for several days post surgery and keeping up to speed with how they were doing. In one of Derek’s posts he described the experience of having a feeding tube inserted in his nostril and that he felt like a “pachyderm – with a new snout for feeding me yummy things.” In another recent post he talked about his bilirubin levels and associated jaundice being at record high levels, contributing to his yellow-like appearance. He called it the “Mr. Plow” look.
Looking for a way to cheer Derek up, I wanted to send him a picture of a funny looking yellow pachyderm. I took to the internet and typed “Yellow Pachyderm” into my google images search and looked at what came up. Mostly pictures of elephants – none of which made me smile, so that didn’t do it. Ok. So how about Yellow Anteater? Ah…now I was on to something.
After a few minutes of poking around I came across this image:
I sent this image to Derek telling him: “Everybody needs a fleecy anteater don’t they?” He responded, “I love him.” Ok – so the story could have ended here. In fact, up until now I’m sure Derek thought that was the end of our discussion on Yellow Pachyderms, but it had really only just begun.
I started thinking, wouldn’t that be a nice thing to get this yellow anteater to give to Derek? I spent a few minutes trying to figure out where the image came from and finally followed it back to somebody’s personal blog. And better yet, I could tell from some of the words used to describe the “colour” that this was probably somebody in the UK. There was a section of the blog that said: leave a reply, so I figured, what the heck? I wasn’t sure if anybody would reply, but it was worth a shot. In a few sentences, I described how I had landed on the blog by some stroke of luck in a search for a yellow anteater, and that I was trying to put a smile on my friend’s face who was just recovering from surgery, etc. etc. and could you please tell me how and where I could get my hands on the yellow anteater?
Roughly 30 minutes later I received an email from a woman in Leeds, England whose name is Nicolar. Nicolar writes:
Thank you for getting in touch. I’m very moved to hear about Derek. The yellow anteater was made by myself; he’s for sale, but I’d be happy to send him over if you’re happy to cover just the postage costs. 🙂 Unfortunately, I probably can’t post him until Monday, so I hope this is Ok.
Are you kidding me? I was absolutely floored by the kindness of a complete stranger some 3,000 miles away offering to help my friend and then asking if it was ok that she couldn’t ship this gift until Monday? I can’t really describe how much that touched my heart; there are truly wonderful people in this world.
Of course I replied to Nicolar, paid for the anteater’s plane ticket, 🙂 and thanked her profusely for her generosity. We exchanged one or more emails and she hopes, as we all do, that a suitable transplant for Derek can be found soon. We also discussed the importance of being able to smile at such a difficult time.
It was just 5 days ago when this story began, and when I arrived at home today, look at who arrived:
Can’t wait to get this to Derek and hope to put a smile on his face whenever he looks at this guy. I’ll borrow a line from Nicolar’s blog:
“Everybody needs a fleecy anteater in their life.” –Don’t they?
Greg and Nicolar, thank you so much for putting a smile on my lovely husband’s face. I sound like a broken record, but Derek is the strongest person I have ever met. His very existence gives me strength and I know that all of you out there are providing us with the mental strength to keep fighting.
Your generosity, kindness, and sense of humor keep us both smiling even when dark clouds seem to be following us. This sweet little anteater joins the ranks of the tiny liver buddy from Tal & Nicole, the stuffed raccoon from Aunt Barb, Shenanigan Socks Shannon the Sock Monkey from Kathleen (on semi-permanent loan from me), the liver cell from the Voutes, and the tiny Pooh bear from Rachel.