I may have mentioned before that having elderly loved ones in your life is a good way to learn to enjoy every day you have with them. Elderly pets are also included in this category. But, being a caregiver to an elderly loved one also comes with a certain amount of separation anxiety.
If you search for “separation anxiety” on the internet, you’ll find a host of sites giving you advice on how to deal with separation anxiety in your children or your dog. Anxiety over separation from your horse? Not so much. But, with summer travel season looming and a winter of near-constant vet calls behind us, I find myself experiencing a fair amount of anxiety at the thought of being away from Bars—and largely unreachable—for more than a couple of days.
While I’m looking forward to our upcoming trips, I am also viewing the plans with some trepidation. If something should happen while we are hours or days away and not reachable by cell, the burden of caring for him and making difficult decisions will fall on someone else. More, there is a very real possibility that the worst could happen and he won’t be there when I get back.
As a conscientious boarding client, it has long been my habit to make sure the barn manager knew if we were going to be out of town for a period of time and how to reach us in case of an emergency. Since Bars’ brother Tecate died, I confess I’ve gotten a little obsessive, and it’s grown in the recent months. For example, I am never without my phone. Not ever. Whereas before I left it in my purse overnight, I now sleep with it on the nightstand. I only turn it off in movie theaters. At living history events, where I once would have put it away in a box or drawer, I now have it in my pocket. If something should happen at any hour of the day or night, I am reachable wherever there is cell service. Also, after the events over the winter, I now check in with Bars’ Splendid Vet to make sure he’s on call when we are gone—and if he’s not, to make sure we know who’s covering his calls for him.
For our upcoming trips I’ve been coping by appointing guardians, assembling a nauseating array of emergency contact numbers, and a certain amount of jaw clenching. The rational part of my mind knows that he’s been perfectly healthy for five whole months now, that he’s returning to his more normal level of work, and there is absolutely no reason that his health will take a sharp turn for the worse the minute we leave the county. And yet….he’s 31. Every day is a gift, and I don’t want to miss a single one.
I’ve not yet gone so far as to propose curtailing our travel plans. Not only is that a little ridiculous even for me, such an idea would likely be met with some degree of marital disharmony. And yet…I’m anxious. That’s the only way to describe it.
It’ll be fine. Yes, yes it will……Right?