Dealing with a Cone after Surgery
Some people said, “Oh, she will be much calmer after the spaying surgery!” I was hopeful this would be the case, but in my heart, I knew it wouldn’t be true. Lucy is our very “spirited” 6-month-old lab, and the truth was I could NOT imagine her dealing with wearing a cone on her head for 10 days after the surgery.
I sat in the examining room, waiting for them to bring Lucy out, and had “the talk” with the vet tech to get all the details after her surgery. The vet had left me a message saying she “just did great,” which I was thankful for, but truthfully, let’s talk about what really matters now - my anxiety about the next 10 days!. I’m dying here! How in the world was I going to get through that?? (Uh, I mean how was Lucy going to get through it.)
The vet tech asked me if I preferred the traditional hard plastic cone or the newer and softer Comfy Cone. I said, “Of course, the Comfy Cone!” I mean, who would go with the hard plastic anymore? Whatever.
Then we went into a 15-minute debate on the size of the Comfy Cone. The tech explained how they had one size - it was slightly big, but that she would be able to grow into it and use it her whole life. Uh, hello, what is the logic of that? It cost a whole $30, not $500. Why in the world would I get one that was too big for the next 10 days so that it’s perfect for when she’s 50 pounds heavier and possibly never uses it again?
Sigh! I don’t get it. So I compromised and said let’s start with the bigger one, knowing I had a smaller one at home if it didn’t work. (Luckily, my dear friend had recommended I get a Comfy Cone the day before THANK GOODNESS, and I got one that looked like would fit her.) So, out came Lucy, and what a pitiful site!!
Check out the picture in this story of the giant cone on her head as she sat in the back seat of my car. RIDICULOUS!!! She couldn’t even hold her head up. I was livid. Of course, when you are at the animal hospital or any hospital, you are careful to listen to everything the medical personnel say. I was focused on pain meds and when to give her sedatives to restrict her activity. The vet tech, Lucy and I all walked out together to the car, talking all the way.
The vet tech reassured me that this cone was perfect for her because it exceeded the length of her head and she definitely could not reach her stitches to lick them and possibly open them up again, causing another surgery. Okayyyyy, but can she move or see or LIVE? No! No, not at all. But that was not the concern of this tech. Reality check needed, please.
I took Lucy’s picture and sent it to both our grown kids, getting their input and shocking them in the process. Fortunately for Lucy and me, our high-school-age son met me at home. He had about 30 minutes to help me with Lucy and figure out what the heck we were going to do before moving on to his millions of extra-curricular activities that evening. We both agreed it was absurd to expect Lucy to walk around and not even be able to hold her head up, so he helped me get the giant cone off and get the smaller one on so she could move and yes, live.
Lucy survived the 10 days, thanks to mom’s gut instinct as to what size Comfy Cone would fit her, but it was not easy. The first two days, she moved more slowly than usual and felt pretty sorry for herself, causing us to also feel sorry for her. She would stand around and then lay down, most often on her soft round bed in front of the fire. With each day, she got stronger and more active and pretty soon, the Comfy Cone was just part of her everyday life. We all believe she thought she would have it forever, so she made the best of it.
Happy to say, Lucy is completely back to her rambunctious, good-natured self, and if I dare say, she lays on our feet when we watch TV a lot more than she used to. I think she knows deep down that we care for her and helped her through a really tough time.