Ok first thing is that waking up for me is tricky. I’ve said that a bunch but not sure I’ve really described it in enough detail.

I start stirring between six and seven a.m.

Not all of me, mind you.

Only certain parts of me stir. The parts of me that stir are typically what we in medicine call supratentorial. When a person has a physical complaint that appears to be “all in their head” we refer to it as possibly being supratentorial.

Don’t get your panties in a bunch because I just said “all in your head” – we all know that supratentorial is perfectly legit. A tummy ache is a tummy ache. And the term is a bit dated. The more current term is probably nonphysiologic. Or, if you’re really woke,  “a somatic manifestation of all that is wrong in the universe.” Or, sorry we doctors have no idea what’s going on so you are on your own with this one and it probably won’t kill you so there’s that.

But none of that matters at the moment. What matters is that on a typical day my brain wakes up about an hour and a half before my body feels much like stirring. It’s kind of annoying because my brain can really start messing with things, too.

The dogs wake up about forty-five minutes after my brain comes to life, but at least thirty minutes before I feel like getting up to feed them. Sometimes I play dead until Dylan breaks down and feeds everyone but mostly Dylan can play dead longer than I can. Dylan is my roommate who takes care of the house and animals in exchange for rent.

Then there’s the pig – he’s a moving target. If you want him to stay asleep just turn on the heat. He sleeps over the vent and nothing will get him to move if the heat is on. He starts screaming between seven and eight on a typical day but occasionally he loses his mind and sleeps til eleven or lets it rip at 4am. Never can know for sure when that hunk o’ madness will come to life.

So there is this no man’s land of vague unease where my brain is awake, my body is on high alert that something may be about to disturb the peace, the dogs have one eye open and are threatening to mobilize, and the pig snuffles a few times – and I lay there in silence. I realize that I also have to pee. I have to get up and pee, and feed the dogs and the pig if I want to get back into bed a relax a bit more….and it’s not my lucky day – Dylan is playing dead.

Rise and effin shine!

My brain tries to convince my body that it really would be a good idea to not go back to bed: clean out the bathroom cabinet, go for a run, hit the farmer’s market – what have you….but on the weekend my body usually wins, in part because I live with roommates who are under thirty and rarely up before noon. My brain is really going at it as my body cranks into gear…..

Feeding the dogs is about a fifteen minute process that isn’t hard. But it IS incredibly annoying. I no longer yell at anyone to STFU or back off – I just go super Zen and tell myself that it won’t always be this way.

For as the heavens have dictated and God is my witness, Tyrone the pekinese barks his ever-lovin head off solid the entire time I’m getting their food ready.

His bark really sucks my energy, too. It’s one of those alarm! alarm! ALARM! barks. And did I mention that it’s non-stop from the minute I walk down the stairs until his bowl hits the floor?

There’s also other assorted chaos.

Zoe the farting old frenchie (I just said that because she’s sleeping next to me and just cut one) – she gets really excited when she wakes up and has been known to fall down the stairs on the way to the kitchen. It’s one reason I can never let her off leash in open space. Her motto is leap before you look and she is ace at hurling her body in all sorts of sketch directions. I’m pretty sure she’d dive for a butterfly right over a cliff, so I keep her leashed up.

So she does that and Max the Chiweenie with social anxiety –  he for some reason nips at my ankles. As I’m making my way down the stairs it’s bark bark bark, hurl hurl hurl, nip nip nip.

Serenity now.

Dash -the most feral and tiny of them all- he sometimes likes to pee on the floor before he is fed. Which pisses off Garth my big guy and occasionally Garth pees all over Dash’s pee.

Nature’s Miracle time!

I say to them in a loving voice that when I have to stop and Nature’s Miracle the floor, it only delays their breakfast. Bark, bark, bark. Tyrone don’t care, paws in the air…

The pig is usually screaming and making his way to the kitchen by now so I have to nudge him out the door and down the ramp. Getting the pig all the way down to the yard is super necessary or else a) he will eat the dog’s food and b) he might decide to start pooping on the deck like he did several years back and it was horrendous.

I have a pig ramp and there are slats on the ramp so the pig won’t slip and if I’m barefoot which I usually am, the slats bother my feet. That’s just extra.

Things are tense about now. I like to give the pig a morning treat like peanut butter or an apple and Garth has been known to steal it if I’m not watching. Unless there’s a squirrel in the yard; then he’s too busy losing his marbles at the squirrel to notice.

What I do is I have the dog’s food ready and then I get the pig down the ramp, give him his food, race back up and feed the dogs their dry food with home-cooked topper (because I love them and food is love) all the time making sure that Max who is technically obese doesn’t steal anyone else’s food.

Dash is the slowest and most timid eater so I feed him under the dining room table. I slide his dish under the bench seating like I’m in some kind of curling championship. Max likes to wolf his own food and then make a break for Dash’s bowl. If I don’t catch him in time I end up running around the dining room table chasing his fat ass until he either gives up and runs out back or dives back under the table in a second attempt to secure a second breakfast.

At some point it becomes clear that I have done all I can do – everyone is more or less fed and I am up and somehow the two-three under-thirties have slept through the entire performance and if it’s the weekend I usually get back into bed and write something.

Et voila!

Weekdays are a whole different story.

During the week I circumvent the animals by sneaking out of the house to go to the gym before anyone even wakes up. I gotta tell you, it feels good. I still have to come to terms with arriving home an hour later to complete mayhem…bark, bark, bark….ambush, ambush, ambush….but at least I’m fully awake and on top of the world by then.

And that is how I get up in the morning.

I left out the part where I start getting texted about rashes, bloody noses and the croup because I don’t want to show off. You can sprinkle that in there. Sometimes people wake me up to ask me when we open the office in the morning and can they be seen. The answer is always yes. We always open at nine, and I usually start seeing patients by ten, but feel free to wake me up to ask me anyway. Luckily I’m never annoyed because I’m too busy worrying about feeding the dogs to worry about a few texts.

Robocalls on the other hand are a whole different subject.

Don’t get me started.