thejunipertree: (Default)


Simon the Best Rat Ever
December 2003 - May 2007
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I've been so behind on so many things; it's really not even funny anymore. Work has been kicking my ass, keeping up with school has been kicking my ass. This time of the year is really kicking my ass. I rarely have the gumption to do anything I need to do other than study my fool head off and occasionally change the litter boxes.

On top of all this, I have a house full of sick animals. One of the cats, Tinker, came down with a cold. Trip to the vet visit and $150 later, I've got a prescription for orange antibiotic liquid that I have to shoot directly down his throat. He doesn't like this very much and I usually wind up with more of it on me and the floor than actually in the cat. Any attempts to mask the medication in some form of food has been snubbed. Further, he appears to have given his cold to Baby. Hooray.

Misty, the cat with the hyperthyroid condition, gets worse by the day. His medication just doesn't appear to be doing anything for him anymore and there isn't anything else that can be done for him, other than prohibitively expensive radiation therapy. On top of that, he's 17 years old. He's gotten even more clingy, if that can be believed, and seems to have set his affections on the Engineer. Who is not exactly pleased to have a cat climbing up and trying to stand on his head every five minutes. Thankfully, he has at least stopped the tap dance recitals on my face in the middle of the night. He still wants to be close to me, but is content to just wrap his body around the top of my head. We give him as much attention as possible, to the point of excluding the other cats (much to Tinker's disgruntlement), but he still can't stop trying to constantly get into your face. I don't know what he wants, I don't think he even knows what he wants. It's distressing because there isn't anything else I can do for him. It's all a matter of just waiting until his poor body can't deal with the thyroid issue any longer and begins to shut down. He's currently not in any pain, which is good. It's just a waiting game, at this point. And not the kind of game I look forward to.

Howard, the ferret, decided he was going to stop eating and no amount of coaxing would change his mind. That got him a trip to the vet and got me a very large bill for various medications. I've got an antibiotic and some sort of stomach medication. I've been force-feeding him baby food and Pedialyte in an effort to get some nutrition and hydration into him. He seems to be feeling a bit better and after a few days of force-feeding, has started to eat some solid food on his own.

I've come to the decision that if I can get him through this bleak period alive, I'm going to find him a new home. I just can't do it anymore. It's not that he's any trouble, he's not a difficult animal. Very sweet, not bitey, loves to play. But, I'm so freaking allergic to him that I can't properly take of him. And that's just not fair to the creature. At all. It's rather upsetting because I do love him tremendously, but I can't do it anymore. At the vet's office, there was a posting on a bulletin board for a woman who takes in ferrets. I asked the ladies at the desk if they of her and one of them did. The woman is apparently great, her animals are all well-cared for and much loved. I'm going to give her a call if I can some weight back on Howard and get him back up to healthy. Hell, I'll even give her the cage too.

The rats are both getting old. Simon is quite elderly now and is really starting to show it. His fur is thinning, his gait is uneven, and he doesn't do much other than sleep. Renfield doesn't seem to be that much better and he's only about a year old! Once the two of them are gone, I may hold off on getting more rats for a little while. Like maybe until after I've finished college. It would remove a financial responsibility, not to mention give me one less thing to constantly worry about.

Despite the ass-kicking, school is going rather well. I'm in the top of my algebra class, much to my astonishment. English composition is going great. Business is also quite peachy (except for being monumentally boring). The only class I have issue with is Psychology. I'm not flunking it, not by a long stretch, but I really detest the online course set-up that this particular professor does. No structure, no assignments. Just read the chapters and take the tests. I can't handle that little input. I need structure. I need discipline. I need homework, goddamnit. Otherwise, I do not learn. Due to this, I've been fucking off and not taking the exams (there's no deadline for any of them, other than 'just take them all by the end of the semester'). The semester will be over in a few weeks. As of two weeks ago, I hadn't taken any of the exams. Hooray for me! So, I have six weeks to take six exams. I've done two so far (one was a high B, the other was a high C-grr). I blow through the chapters during the week, take the test on Friday or Saturday. The most frustrating thing about it is that I only have fifty minutes to take the test and there are usually sixty questions. Not enough time, I think. I always wind up coming very close to the limit and if you go over the time limit, you get an automatic zero for your troubles. Balls.

I also need to look into next semester's registration and what's going on with my financial aid. I've got loans, but I'm unclear if they cover next semester in addition to the classes I'm taking now. I need to get on that as soon as I can.

And now, I go to my English class and get back my last two essays. I'm a bit worried about these ones. I had a hard time writing them both (one is a compare/contrast essay on Maya Deren and Wade Davis, the other is a division/classification essay on the different stages of my relationship with my mother and how it effected me). blergh.

Remind me to write about the classmate I drove home two weeks ago? That's a good story for the campfire. I've just remembered about it and I've no time to get into it now.
thejunipertree: (Default)
I don't mess with people who look like the Skesis. They can do whatever the they want. If you make them mad, they're all "TRIAL BY STONE!" and then you're fucked.

These are words to truly live by, I would reckon.

I have managed to aquire a rather fetching scratch going across my right eyelid, delivered unto me by one pancake-headed cat I live with. Thanks. No, really. It's what I always wanted. Now, I look like a complete moron with this scratch across my eye and I can tell people want to ask about it, but are afraid to. Normally, I would say that I had it coming. But, in this case, I was asleep and therefore, should have had nothing coming but sleep.

This weekend was full of many things. Friday night was the Engineer and I going out in the rain to see The Hills Have Eyes, which I actually enjoyed (surprise of surprises). I haven't seen the original since I was about eleven or twelve, so I don't recall much of it. But, this movie was fairly hardcore in its violence and too many horror movies that have come out in recent times seem to shy away from such a thing. A lot of the violence is more suggested than anything else and that always bugs the bugs out of me. I had a few nitpicky things about the movie that I didn't care for, like the use of a walkie-talkie that belongs to the mutant hillbillies to communicate with one's friends. Why would someone do that? You know that the bad guys have the other goddamn walkie-talkie, so why would you message one of your friends on it? Ridiculous. After the movie, I embarked on an epic phone conversation with Miss Janette, which left us both very bleary-eyed and giggly. I loves me some Miss J.

Saturday found me waking up later than I'd care for, rushing to be at work for a handful of hours, then jetting off (in more rain) to the Engineer's art opening. A bunch of people came back to the apartment afterwards, where we had Thai food and shit-talking until the wee hours. A good time, despite my feelings of slight illness over the past few days.

It would have been a fantastic weekend, if it weren't for the fact that I was greeted with news of rattie death upon first waking up. The Engineer's last surviving rat, Humphrey, passed away sometime between us going to bed and TE waking up Sunday morning. My poor boy, he's with his brother now. That's the last of the litter sired by my Aardie, sadly. I don't know what disbursed rats from that litter are still alive, I have heard of a few deaths here and there, but I've no concrete idea of who's still alive. Speck, their aunt, is still kicking. Strangely enough, I would say. She's over three years old, with not much time left on her clock and her health is not the best. But, I have no one left from Aardie and that makes me extraordinarily sad.
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I hijacked the Engineer's new toy that he's refusing to share new digital camera, to take some sorely needed photos of the boys.

cut, for your pleasure )
thejunipertree: (Default)
The Death of Rats snuck into my apartment again this evening, right under my feet and into Aleister's cage as I was peering into it.

I was talking quietly to her through the bars, getting ready to give her another bath, when she suddenly gave a tremendous shake, then moved no more.

My little old lady, she was such a fighter.
thejunipertree: (Default)
Simon doesn't appear to be doing all that well.

I don't know if he's just upset because Major Tom is gone or if something is actually wrong with him, but he's refusing to eat and he wants nothing more but to sit on the second level of the cage near the door. I put him on the hammock and he climbs back to the second level. I put him near the food dish, same thing.

He was coaxed into eating a small bit of egg I scrambled in a little butter, but not vey much. I took him out for a while and held him in my lap, wrapped in the edge of my sweater, and he just laid there. This is not like him. Normally, he'd have been up my shoulder, sniffing my face, trying to pull my nose ring out, and attempting to get on the computer desk.

Nothing is different in the apartment. No new cleaning chemicals have been used, nothing's been changed in their cage, their diet hasn't been altered. So what the hell is his problem? His breathing seems to be clear, when I hold him up to my ear for a listen, but it does appear to be very quick. Also, when he sits on the second level, he puffs his fur out like he's cold. But, it's not cold in here.

Is the Death of Rats continually missing his correct appointment with Aleister? Why are the healthy rats letting go of their lives and the one who's on death's door still clinging to her heartbeat? Speck still looks to be ok. Renfield is acting his normal cracked-out, baby rat self. What the hell is going on?

I don't understand any of this at all.
thejunipertree: (Default)
Animal updates.

Nympho seems to be doing ok. He's home, with a partially shaved leg and instructions to lower his insulin to one unit twice a day (it used to be two units) and to carefully monitor his eating. He'll be going back to the vet's office on the 7th for a glucose curve, to see how well he's taking the change.

Aleister is still hanging in there, to my amazement. Today, I decided to give her a bath because she was getting soaked in her own urine, so I took her out of the little travel cage I put her in to keep her away from her sister, who was pulling all her hair out in a fantastic feat of over-grooming. She laid in my hand and didn't protest the water, but she did lick droplets of it off my fingers and bruxed at me as I dried her off. She eats the food I bring her and drinks from the bottle when it's close enough to her face (I try to keep it as close as possible and even hold the bottle for her when I think she's not strong enough to drink from it). If she doesn't go this week, I think I may drive her to the vet's to be put down, despite how it hurts me to think of it. She still doesn't seem to be in any pain, but this is just going on for too long.

I came downstairs today to feed all the animals and check on everyone (I'd been up in the Engineer's apartment). When I went to feed the boy rats, I noticed Major Tom lying in the bottom of the cage and breathing very shallowly. It didn't look as if much of the food I'd given him and Simon the night before had been touched, maybe a Simon-portion was gone. When I took Tom out of the cage to look him over, he'd quietly in my hands and didn't struggle to get to my shoulder, as he always did. He gasped for breath and just laid there. At first, I thought he may have been choking because he can be a glutton and shovels too much food into his mouth at too quick a rate. It's happened before. I took the appropriate measures for a choking rat, but nothing seemed to help. I held him for a while, scratching behind his ears and talking softly to him. Decided that I wanted to sit on the couch with him for a while, maybe see if he'd feel better in a little bit, so I put him back in the cage and went to get a towel to hold him in, for warmth. When I came back to the cage, Simon was dancing around him frantically and as I opened the cage to take Tom back out, he took his last breath.

I'm still kind of shock over the whole thing, I really wasn't expecting this. Last week, I'd brought home a new rat for the boy's cage because I knew that Major Tom was getting old and wasn't going to be around forever and Simon was going to need a new cagemate. I thought that now was as good of time as any to introduce a new boy, so I brought home a little hooded boy that was born in August. Named him Renfield and set him up in the little cage until he got big enough to swing with the fat rats. I knew Tom was probably not going to last too many months next year because some of his littermates had already died, his father died this year, and his mother was on her way out. I just didn't think that it would happen so soon.

I suspect that whatever killed him was the same thing that killed Senor Diablo. It came quick and painless, without this horrible wasting away like their mother, Aleister, is going through.

The Engineer and I took him (and Edgar, who still had not been buried) to my father's house today for burying. We stood outside the fence in the sun and the Engineer struggled to dig around several enormous roots deep in the ground. I kneeled down in the loose soil, took off my gloves and placed him gently in the ground with Edgar right after him.

It hurts, but I haven't quite reacted yet.

Renfield, the new rat, is a joy to behold. He's just a tiny little man right now, but has enormous feet and a personality that shines. He frog hops all over his cage and climbs the bars when he knows it's time to eat. Hopefully, he'll being Simon out of his sadness that Tom is gone. Currently, Simon is buried underneath the dishtowel I have tied to the upper level of the cage and refuses to come out. He sticks his nose out from under the edge of it and glares at me for a few moments, then retreats. My poor boy, he looks so sad.
thejunipertree: (Default)
This is probably one of the most heart-wrenching things I've read in a long, long while.

Every morning and every night, I peer into Miss Aleister's cage and ask her how she's doing. Usually, she's tucked into the little wooden house I gave to her and her sister, but she has enough strength to poke her pointed nose throught the window and twitch her whiskers at me.

I pile bits of food at her feet and scritch behind her ears as she eats, holding each bit between still dainty paws. She chatters her teeth at me and closes her eyes in pleasure.

My poor girl. I want it to be soon because I know her body is weary and worn-out, but I don't wish my friend to ever leave. She still shows no sign of pain, no matter how much I manhandle her every day, she simply submits. I hold her close to my heart and feel the incredible warmth that such a small body can generate. And, like in the entry I linked to in the beginning of this post, I ask her: Is it time? And she tells me: no, not today.

I'll listen. For now. I don't wish to cause her distress by packing her into the travel cage, away from her sister and taking her to the places of loud noises and bad smells, only for her to go through several minutes of terrible pain before she can blessedly and finally say goodbye. But the very second she seems to be in any sort of pain, I will have to amend that statement. I don't look forward to that and can only hope that she passes peacefully in her sleep, like her son did.

She get treats before I go to bed tonight. A small comfort, my sweet old lady.
thejunipertree: (Default)
The Good:
The Cadillac has been returned to me, with a shiny new water pump and various hoses/belts. Hopefully, she'll stop acting assy and beginning driving like a normal car for me. Because I can't take this shit. My father and I have made the deal that he will pay the mechanic and I will pay him back slowly, whenever I get the extra money. Still don't know the total, however. And once it looks like the car's going to remain ok, we're going to start working on restoring it entirely.

The Bad:
Simon, the Golden Rat Who Can Do No Wrong, has a tumour, a very small one.
Jesus. I can't get a break, can I?

The Doesn't Make Any Sense:
I'm so thirsty, it's starting to make me feel queasy. And the only thing helping is absolutely ice cold water.
thejunipertree: (Default)
This has probably been one of the crappest days weeks I've had in a long, long time.

work blather )

All I wanted to do today is come home and get some ferret nose kisses, but as I was leaving work, the realization of Edgar's death finally fell around me. I knew it had happened, after all, I found his body. But, I hadn't really had any time to actually process it.

Ferret and rat blather )

Depression is seeping in from every angle. The one year anniversary of my mother's death just passed, which feels very weird to me. I'm still not used to it and I suspect I never will be. My car is currently sick beyond belief, though hopefully that will be straightened out soon. The holidays are creeping up, which is never a good time for me. And money is unbelievably tight, which it always is.

Money blather )

Hoarding blather )

If you've read this entire entry, I'll be mighty surprised. For those of you who decided to skip to the end, you didn't really miss anything. Just a lot of me working some stuff out in my head that needed to come out.
thejunipertree: (sequin tears)
I came home this evening from work, thinking that I was just going to run in to the apartment with Thee Pumpkin Girl, feed all my animals, grab an extra pack of cigarettes, then head out to the art supply store to buy a frame for a rather large Joe Coleman print.

This was not quite exactly how things would pan out.

I found Diablo in the bottom of the cage, lying still and quiet. He was dead. From what, I've no earthly idea because this morning he was acting his usual, stand-offish self, except for a brief scratch behind the ears before he got down to his morning ritual of emptying the food dish.

I don't know what caused this or when, but he was still pliable when I found him and only beginning to grow cold in some spots.

My poor boy.
He may not have been the most affectionate of rats, but he was a good boy (even that one time when he bit me, I had it coming).

thejunipertree: (aardiezilla)
The rats are all clean and in freshly cleaned cages.

However, now the three boys are all glaring angrily at me after their time in the bathtub. Especially Simon, who has never been exposed to suchatrocities practices before.

Major Tom, who until now has been sequestered in the sick cage due to recovering from his tumour surgery, is doing quite well since I put him back in the highrise. He's back to being the bossy little despot that he was, back before the tumour grew to such enormous proportions. Hopefully, his bullying will help work off all the weight Senor Diablo has gained in Tom's absence. I swear, he's completely rotund. Like a furry softball.

The girls are, as ever, my well-behaved little ladies. They weren't subjected to bathtime, since they seem to be able to not PEE ALL OVER EACH OTHER, and gave me no trouble while I cleaned and scrubbed their cage. My good rats, those two.

One of these days, I'm going to get some proper photos of them all. The ones I have now are all either blurry as hell because they were taken with my crap webcam or very outdated because I took their photos when they were wee babies.

Need to put that on some sort of to-do list, along with hanging up all the pictures I've gotten for the living room and possibly even buying curtains.
thejunipertree: (aardiezilla)
The best feeling in the world is that of stretching my arms over my head, then pulling them slightly backwards until my shoulders pop. Kind of like cracking one's knuckles, only on a much larger scale.

It's glorious.

It has been a week and a half of insanity. We had house guests last week, [livejournal.com profile] disastrid and Jeff (whose LJ name I do not know, or if he actually has one), who are currently travelling across the US in the name of art. Astrid made dinner for everyone the second night she was here, we talked a world of smack on various and sundry things, and I was actually driven to thinking about writing again.

That and a couple of hours before I met up with them, I was told by another friend that he'd been waiting for the ending of a short story of mine for about three years and if I didn't produce one soon, he was going to kick me.

It's a strange wonder what the threat of physical violence will make me do.

This weekend was filled with driving up to Miss Robin's for thwarted swimming plans and the squeeing over of kittens.

Let me preface this bit by informing you all that I get kitten fever like most women get baby-rabies. Kittens are my kryptonite. They are my heroin. There is nothing quite like a loudly purring ball of big-earred fluff to make me grin like a Down Syndrome kid working the Fry-O-Later like a grinning thing grins at things.

That being said, Kitten #1 (Lucy, short for Lucifer) is the boingy-est little thing I've ever met. I played with her for a good three hours straight, without even the glimpse of a nap. I even managed to get her to jump from the Engineer's bald head, much to my amusement and his disdain. Also, her entire head fits in my mouth.

Kitten #2 (Axel) looks and acts exactly like a teeny version of my Russian Blue, Nympho. We didn't interface all that much because he wasn't feeling up to snuff due to an alledged spider bite in his eye and an emergency run to the vet's office (which is what thwarted our swimming plans).

No dogs peed on anyone and a grand time was had by all. I even got to feed the Oscars, something which always brings me great joy.

Sunday, I was forced invited to Cracker Barrell for dinner, which was fairly uneventful except for me shouting, "Larry's got the trots!" across the parking lot to Rowan and the two orders of Frosty Mug Apple Cider I downed. "Frosty Mug" apparently means 'apple cider with some ice cubes thrown in', but I am more than down with that as I am verily queer for the ice, as the Engineer will tell you. At great length.

Backtrack a little, on Friday the Engineer had to have one of his rats, Solomon, put down. He'd been in very poor health for some time now, despite our best efforts to medicate and get him back up to snuff. Sadly, his little body was just starting to give out and there wasn't anything else we could do. The Engineer constructed a great casket for him to be buried in and this evening, we drove down to my father's house for the burial.

He now rests a couple of feet away from my Aardie, with some banana chips and letters of love wrapped up with him.
thejunipertree: (sunlight wakes me up)
This afternoon, while driving to Delaware for cigarettes with Thee Pumpkin Girl, I noticed that the middle finger on my right hand suddenly and sharply hurt when I grasped the steering wheel. Peering at it, while swerving into the middle lane like a moron, I noticed that I had a small discoloured bump right under the second knuckle bend.

It's a hard, little knot right under the skin. Like a BB lodged into my flesh. Blueish, like a bruise. Since I'm not inclined towards shooting myself full of BBs, I've no idea what the hell it actually is.

A photo of the finger, despite the fact that you can barely see what I'm talking about (you can, however, see my freakish hands and how the first two fingers are even), can be found here )

It hurts when I press down on it and a little when I clench my fingers. At first, I thought it might be a wart (which would suck verily, due to the location, it's right on the bend of my finger), but it doesn't look like any wart I've ever seen. The Engineer says it looks like a bruise, but I've never seen a hard bruise before.

I reckon I'll just keep an eye on it, for now. I don't have any health insurance, currently, because it is cost prohibitive (yet another reason to get a new job, our health care is beyond disgustingly expensive). If it turns out that I must go to the doctor to get this taken care of, I'll have to figure something out.

To make today even better, when I was at the tobacco outlet in New Castle, my car decided it didn't want to start back up again, after being parked and shut off so that I could go into the store. I turned the key and...nothing. No clicking, no groaning of the engine, no half-way turning over. Nada. I tried it a couple more times and looked at TPG with worry. It was rather hot outside and there was a creepy homeless guy almost directly sitting in front of the car, I really did not want to be going through something wretched like a pissed off alternator or something wrong with my starter.

I got out, because it was far too hot to be sitting in the car with the windows up, and called The Engineer to let him know that we had run into a bit of trouble, then called my father. I ran through the list of questions he always asks me whenever something is wrong with car and when none of my answers turned up anything useful, began giving him directions on how to get to where we were.

He convinced me to try starting the car one more time, before he started the trek down, and I got back in. I cajoled her a bit, before turning the key, something which my father began laughing at, C'mon, baby-girl. I take back every bad thing I've ever said about you. You're not ghetto at all, I swear. You're the best Caddy in the world. then hit the ignition.

Disco! It started!

After a bit of grumbling, of course. But, she started. I guess my sweet-talking worked. Yet another thing I'm going to have to keep an eye on. Hopefully, everything will be ok when I go to leave for work in the morning. I can't even drive the Malibu if I put the Eldorado in the shop, because my brother left for North Carolina today and either has the car, or has it parked at his friend's house. So, if she needs to go into the shop, it'll be me begging for rides to and from work all week, or until I get her back.

How fucking depressing.

On the drive back from Delaware, I day-dreamed about scrapping this beast and buying an old Hearse. Something, I reckon, which would be a lot like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

To liven things up a bit, here's a photo of Simon, doing what he does best: being fat and cute.
Simon, the Stout )
thejunipertree: (Default)
Simon is one bad rat.

He's also gotten a bit...errrr, hefty.

Not only that, but he rarely sits still for photos. )
thejunipertree: (aardiezilla)
It's amazing how much things can change in a handful of hours.

When I called the vet earlier today, he was still basically encouraged about Aardie's situation. Oxygen levels were still up, he'd eaten, the vet techs were spoiling the shit out of him with scraps from their lunches. I went to visit around seven-thirty this evening and the second I saw him, my heart dropped through my chest.

He looked so tiny in the oxygen tent, resting on a pile of felt blankets. Breathing through his mouth again, far too skinny (only since Saturday, how is this even possible?!). He got very excited when he spotted me through the walls of his tank, but wobbled unsteadily on his feet as he attempted to get closer. I asked one of the techs if I could hold him, but they told me no. He gets far too stressed out and squirmy when he's picked up and they didn't want to upset him, but they'd let me open the tank and pet him as much as I wanted.

He started bruxing and eye-boggling the second I ran my fingers down his spiny back and licked my hand continously whenever it got close to his face. Every time he tried to stand up and walk, he stumbled over and fell a few times. He wanted out of the tank and onto me, but I couldn't pick him up. I talked to him quietly, rubbing the peachfuzz on his snout and scritched behind his ears until the vet saw me in there and came in to talk.

He hadn't checked on him in a bit and was surprised to see how deteriorated Aardie's condition had grown. He had me try picking him up, to get some food into him because it looked like he hadn't eaten, but it just wasn't happening.

We're giving him one more day.

I made an appointment for seven o'clock tomorrow night. If he's gotten any better, I'll be taking him home for further treatment. If he's gotten worse, or stayed the way he currently is, then I'll have to finally make the decision I really don't want to make.
thejunipertree: (aardiezilla)
Aardie is still at the vet's office. His oxygen levels are up around 87, from the high sixties previously, and he's been eating a bit (ate all his food last night, they're giving him banana baby-food, he'll be so spoiled). They have him on Baytril and tetra-somethingorother. Both are antibiotics.

The vet was a bit more encouraged today, as opposed to the general opinion yesterday. Aardie's still doing a bit of mouth-breathing, but is also sometimes breathing through his nose and not sounding so ragged. Tomorrow, I have to call in the afternoon and see what's going on and talk to the doctor about what we're going to do.

I'm spending an extraordinarily stupid amount of money on this creature, but I simply can not have another loved presence in my life die on me. Eight in three months is too much, this one being the first animal. One more is going to send me shrieking over the edge. There are those of you who may think me foolish for going to such lengths over an animal, and a rather tiny animal at that with an already incredibly short lifespan, but you can blow it out your ass. This is my baby we're talking about here. Aardie is the first rat I got so many years after my much beloved Nicodemus died. And I swore to never get another rat after her, their lifespans are just too short and it's too hard to deal with. I broke that promise, he is my responsibility and I will go to quite ridiculous lengths to ensure he (and all my other creatures) are ok.

If it comes down to it, if the situation is just completely hopeless and he's in pain, then I will obviously make the correct decision and have him euthanized (I've already spoken to the doctor about this and given him my list of demands for such an occasion), but that will be my last recourse. I've put great thought into it already; how could I not, with it staring me right in the face? I could put all of this time, money and energy into getting him close to well again, only to have him die in a handful of months. Rats, especially ones of the hairless variety, have delicate respiratory systems and are extremely susceptible to these kinds of illnesses. Getting Aardie completely healthy again is most likely a futile effort. But, I have to try.

It's all I can do.

The other five rodents are getting antibiotics twice a day and will be doing so for a few more days, I think less than a week more. Unfortunately, the medication tastes disgusting (yes, I tried it) and I've had to go to great lengths to disguise its flavour so they'll eat it. This morning found me injecting it into a honey-toasted wheat germ, brown sugar and peanut butter mixture, then rolling that into a ball. They seem to like it so far, wee Simon even stole three of the balls out of my hand when I was in the middle of dosing everyone. He ran away from me, stuffing them into his mouth, and squeaked indignantly when I attempted to retrieve them from him.

I didn't get the doses back, he appeared to have simply inhaled them (though I did find one of them on the floor later this evening, smooshed flat into the carpet), so now I'm wondering if his dose for tomorrow morning should be skipped.

The Engineer's three rats are also being carefully watched. Although they didn't have any direct contact with me or Aardie, I did have Aardie upstairs in the Engineer's apartment on Friday night when I was unable to get him to the vet. I didn't pet any of them, or even go near their cage, but the Engineer did pet Aardie when he was with me on the couch and then went to the boys' cage.

I had read online that giving rats a drop of tincture of echinacea on a tiny piece of bread (three days on, three days off) helps their immunse systems fight off any lurking nasties, so that's the course we've been taking with them. Well, that along with breaking down their cage and thoroughly cleaning everything in it, not to mention washing the couch blanket.

Last night, I broke down my own two cages and cleaned everything, much to the disgust of the inhabitants. They had a complete cage and accoutrements cleaning not that long ago and were therefore extremely unhappy that I was once again getting rid of the stink that they had been so diligently working on getting back.

The three boys from the cage Aardie lives in are reacting in their own ways to his not being here. Major Tom is finding solace in food, something which I'm not sure is from being unhappy that his father isn't around or just being even more greedy than usual. He had his face in the food dish this evening, with his snout completely buried, pushing everything around. Senor Diablo appears to be a bit bummed out and mostly stays in the little wooden house in the bottom of the cage. Simon, however, has taken this oppurtunity to throw his small weight around. Aardie is the usual alpha of the boys' colony, now Simon is appearing to be attempting a coup. He tackles the other two, power-grooms them, picks fights and steals food for his growing stash behind the wooden house. It's amusing to watch him trying to fight the other two, because they're probably twice his size (three times his size, in Tom's case). I've had to play alpha-rat with him on more then one occasion so far, something he resents me for, but readily submits to. The girls, living in their own cage, are the same. Semi-prissy and ignoring everything around them.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring some good news.

Aardie

Feb. 19th, 2005 11:06 pm
thejunipertree: (aardie <3)
Aardie, my gorgeous hairless pimp of a rat, is very ill and is currently at the vet's office in an oxygen tent.

This situation developed yesterday when I came home from work, but the vet's office was closed until this morning. I called as soon as they opened and took their first appointment. The doctor says it might be myco, but it came on so quickly that I'm unsure about the validity to that statement. It very well could be he's correct, but it happened so fast. One day he was ok, the next...not so much.

I spent all of last night trying to get him to eat bits of chocolate (to help open his bronchial passages), taking him into a steamy bathroom (again with the bronchial passage opening), keeping him wrapped in a towel in my lap, and trying to get him to drink some echinacea tea (he licked a tiny bit off my fingers, but that's it).

The vet and I are giving him until Monday morning to see how he is doing before we begin any kind of treatments, thinking that time spent in the oxygen tent will get him going enough that his chances of survival will improve. Right now, if he continues at the pace he was when I left him at the vet's, they are about 40%.

Watching him struggle to breathe tore me apart.

Please send any good thoughts our way.

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