cat sitting on woman's shoulders. Dog sitting next to woman.
Selfie with my always-helpful animals, Nefertiti and Sirius Black. Sorry it’s such a bad photo!

Note: I wish this were going to be a post full of answers, but it is mostly full of questions. The answers are something I am still looking for.

There are three things you should know about me to understand this post:

  1. I have lived almost my whole life with either cats or dogs or (most frequently) both.
  2. I travel fairly frequently, and have practiced routines in place to care for my animals when I travel (if they don’t come with me).
  3. I had the first surgery of my life that required anesthesia and a significant recovery on March 17, 2016.

I knew that I this surgery was coming for several months before it actually happened. I thought I had had time to prepare. My husband and I tried to be prepared and ask my doctors every question we thought would be relevant to my recovery. We missed a few, of course, but overall, I thought we did a pretty good job.

I thought I did a pretty proficient job of wrapping up other loose ends as well. I was able to time my surgery to fall between two sessions of group classes (although my apologies to everyone from my April class that was pushed from April 2 to April 16!). I did a number of private sessions and phone sessions in February and March to make sure that private clients were in good hands during my recovery. I worked with training colleagues to arrange referrals for urgent matters while I was unavailable.

I managed to finish up several large projects at my full-time job and get others into a good place to be dormant for a few weeks or handed off to someone else. I even remembered to cook some meals that would make leftovers and freeze them, and also to stock up on easy-to-prepare options like canned soup and macaroni and cheese.

dog lying on the floor
Sirius Black wondering why we aren’t going for a walk RIGHT NOW

What I didn’t really prepare for was the care my pets would need. Don’t get me wrong, I saw to their literal physical needs. I remember to ask my roommate to care for them on the night after my first surgery when I was in the hospital. I bought cat food and litter and checked the stock of dog food. But I somehow failed to think about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to walk my dog, or even reach the cat food stored on a high shelf for several days.

I didn’t think in advance about the fact that I wouldn’t be allowed to walk my dog for several weeks (3.5 and counting). I didn’t think about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to pick up my cat (which hasn’t stopped her from jumping on my shoulders). I feel blessed and lucky to live with great people who can help care for my animals, and also to have a very supportive extended family who came to Maryland to help as well. My animals are fine. I am fine, and getting better every day, but I am still thinking, I wasn’t really prepared.

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