Category Archives: Birds

Indefinitely.

While looking back over this blog last night, deciding which entries to archive to private mode and which entries to leave public, I read my 2018 year-end entry.

Quick refresher: 2018 kind of sucked in that Inigo was diagnosed with a testicular tumor:

All in all, 2018 was a mostly stressful year, one that taught me how to make tough decisions and dedicate myself to seeing trying situations through to the end. That will continue into the first half of 2019, as next year will most certainly bring loss and a tremendous amount of sorrow—I got Inigo in 2002, when he was six months old, and he has been my constant companion through thick and thin—but the most valuable thing I learned in 2018 is to live in the present. I have travel plans for 2019 and much to look forward to later in the year, but I stop short of saying “I can’t wait for that” because, knowing what will come first, I can. Today is its own gift, and I will make the most of it.

Well, that will teach me to be so pessimistic. He’s still chugging along, beyond even his extended prognosis of last August.

I do notice that he’s slowing down. He is losing strength in his good foot. He has arthritis. He hasn’t flown in three years. He needs two kinds of pain medications, and still, every now and then he lets out a tiny little squeal when he turns the wrong way. Sometimes he loses his grip and slips or falls.

Yet aside from his tumor, a lot of that is just plain age. Nanday Conures usually live 20 to 25 years in captivity, and Inigo is now 18 years old, a senior bird. But he still loves his nanners, especially after a bath…

 

He still keeps an eye on me…

 

He’s still engaged with toys and new experiences…

 

And he still tries to eat the phone.

So we take it day by day.

This week he’s in for a treat, as he’s going to birdie camp tomorrow while I travel. He loves my friend. She’s got a way with birds, and she was the one who worked with my Green Cheek Conure, Jimmy, before I adopted him. Jimmy didn’t have the best life before he was relinquished to Phoenix Landing, and she helped him get his spirit back, with the result that we had over five great years together before he passed in 2011. Plus she’s blonde, and Inigo luuuuuurves blondes. (I’m blonde, too.) He always comes back from his visit with her in fine spirits, and he tells me all about it for days.

Just goes to show, though, that he has a strong will to stick around. At this point his last vet–alas, he moved to Florida–didn’t want to give him another prognosis date, and instead settled on the word “indefinitely.” So that’s how my little buddy and I take it: One day at a time, indefinitely.

2018 Review

I don’t normally do year-end reviews, even in my personal journal, but this year warrants it, I think. 2018 was the typical even-numbered year, which in my world means “not all that great.” It’s weird, but looking back on my life, odd-numbered years have always been better.

This year started with a herniated disk with severe nerve impingement, a carry-over from the end of 2017. Ye gods, what a world-rocker that was. It’s still not 100% right, and is a little wonky right now from all the resting for the pneumonia. The doctor gave me prednisone for the pneumonia, which I am a little hesitant to take because it puts me in Hulk-smash mode, but maybe a happy side effect will be to turn the back down a notch.

Next, my little buddy, Inigo the Nanday, was diagnosed with a testicular tumor in February. It’s so big in his little body that his veterinarian asked me if I was sure of Inigo’s sex because it looks like an egg on the X-ray. But I had Inigo DNA sexed when I got him. At the time of the diagnosis, his vet gave a prognosis of a few months to a year, which would get us to February. Last August, the vet added up to another 6 months beyond that, which would take us to next August.

If you know me, you know how devastating this news was. But I’ve also made it a point not to “pre-grieve” him. Nandays usually live to about 25 years, and he’s 17, so we’re getting robbed of time, but it would be tragic beyond his shortened life-span to spend the time I do have with him thinking about the time I won’t have with him. Instead, I’ve focused on cherishing every moment with him and ensuring that he is as comfortable as possible until he decides it’s his time. I firmly believe he will let me know if and when he needs help on his final flight.

In the meantime, he gets a shot of Lupron every 4 weeks or so to turn off his hormones, and for pain control he gets meloxicam (an anti-inflammatory) and gabapentin.  The tumor presses on a nerve in his hip a lot like a slipped disk gives humans sciatica, and he cannot unfurl his right foot on flat surfaces. When he’s on the couch he walks on his balled fist, what vets call “knuckling,” but when he’s on his rope perch or hanging out on the top of his open door he can grip well. He can still climb with his foot, and hold snacks with it, too.

At night he sleeps in a special birdie box. He has a shelf in his house that I cover with several layers of towels, and he rests there during the day sometimes as his legs are malformed to begin with, but with the box there is no chance of him falling and injuring himself at night. Here he is, offended by the price.

 

Like anyone with a tumor or cancer, or any chronic or terminal illness, he has good days and bad days. I’ve noticed that he’s a lot happier and more active when it’s warm, so my heating bill is a bit outrageous and I’ve been wearing shorts indoors for much of the winter. But if it keeps him this active, curious, and silly, it’s a small price to pay.

 

 

If you notice the caption below the video, let me add that the bird community on Instagram is AMAZING. His followers have been so supportive, and there is no way I could cope with his illness without them. Some of them have been through the same illness with their birds and their words of wisdom have been a comfort. Others have been with us from the day I created the account, and they have been right there with words of encouragement and love. He has followers in nearly every state, and on every continent except Antarctica. I lost count of the number of countries, but it’s a lot, maybe 20 or so. We follow those birdies whose accounts are not private, plus other pets of the furry variety. That’s the silver lining in all of this, the spirit of friendship from the community.

Next, I changed jobs a few months ago. The new job is challenging and enables me to do a lot more with my skills than I had been, and the pay enables me to live a fuller life than I had been. I do miss my former coworkers though. The old gig had some great people, and I like to think I made some friends there. I’ve seen them a few times since, and will see them again soon.  No job is perfect, and the camaraderie we shared made the tough times more bearable.

And now I’m closing out the year with pneumonia.

All in all, 2018 was a mostly stressful year, one that taught me how to make tough decisions and dedicate myself to seeing trying situations through to the end. That will continue into the first half of 2019, as next year will most certainly bring loss and a tremendous amount of sorrow—I got Inigo in 2002, when he was six months old, and he has been my constant companion through thick and thin—but the most valuable thing I learned in 2018 is to live in the present. I have travel plans for 2019 and much to look forward to later in the year, but I stop short of saying “I can’t wait for that” because, knowing what will come first, I can. Today is its own gift, and I will make the most of it.

My favorite picture of Inigo.

Roc on.

I love me some Sunday Stealing, boy howdy. Props to Bev at Funny the World for keeping it going.

And to think, back in the day I used to dislike memes. Now I like the speed of them. A reflection of the times, perhaps, where so much material gets spat out in short bursts of social media. Or maybe it’s all I have energy for. Or brainpower.

Favorite novel and author? One of my favorite novels is Bambi by Felix Salten (yes, it was a novel before it was a Disney thing) and one of my favorite authors is Anne Rice. Neither one of those are part of the security question so don’t even try.

Favorite perfume/scent? Perfume to wear, not really sure. I trotted out some Pleasures by Estee Lauder last night for a night of adult games, which sounds much more raunchy than the skee ball and tabletop shuffleboard it was. And I will have you know that I am undefeated at tabletop shuffleboard. Must be all of those years of air hockey.

I digress. I’m also fond of Oscar de la Renta signature sent, but haven’t worn it in forever. Hmmm, must revisit the whole fragrance thing because Pleasures is really strong and that’s just tapping the little roller ball once to the skin. No way could I spray it. My eyes would cross.

Scent on a man? Sawdust. No joke. My favorite part of any relationship with a guy is the first trip to Home Depot. Maybe it’s the whole “a man who works with his hands” thing, which would be really ironic being that I live and work in one of the most soft-handed areas in the U.S.

Coffee or tea? Tea. I have never had a cup of coffee in my life. Yeah, I know. I’m a freak of nature.

Are you a cat or dog person? I like them both but I’m a bird person.

Inigo the Nanner King says, “Good answer.”

Which mythical creature would you transform into if you could? A Roc. See? Bird person. But I wouldn’t feed my young with elephants like the Roc does in The Arabian Nights. Let’s just say I would consider the elephant in the picture below symbolic and Paul Ryan should know that his decision to retire is a good one.

(Plate from The Arabian Nights, public domain.)

Favorite time period? In some ways, the ’80s. It was big and bold, and it was when I came of age. But there’s no time like the present.

Name 3 films that have changed your life and have shaped you into the person you are today. Films generally don’t have that effect on me. I see them as entertainment, even when they’re deep.

Diamonds or pearls? Lab-cultured diamonds. The Kimberley Process is rubbish and I don’t want blood on my hands. Come to think of it, Blood Diamond might be a film that affected me. I haven’t wanted or accepted diamonds since.

What’s your biggest dream? Six winning numbers.

Dream destination? Finland. So much winter. So much snow. So many forests. So many long nights in which to write. So much fabulous education producing so many well-read, well-rounded people. So much common sense. So many smart, gorgeous guys. So many Poets of the Fall concerts.

Share a quote or passage that means something to you.I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things.” — Dorothy Parker

What’s your favorite plant/flower? Irises and anything little and purple (violets, pansies, lilacs, etc.).

Do you prefer the forest or the ocean? Why? The forest. I like the scent of the earth, the sound of the wind in the trees, and birds, birds everywhere.

What do you value most in people? Integrity.