Category Archives: Pets

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.

Hi, Holidailies!

Welcome to Holidailies 2019!

You know, because I did SO WELL with Horrordailies. But wait, I can explain! See, I’m a journalist in real life and I had a whole bunch of deadlines, some of which were for a four-part series, and…

Okay, no excuse. And I am not making any promises on this, either, because I’m traveling a bit this month. That said, I have topics selected, posts outlined, time blocked off for writing, and the very best of intentions intended. And the background image may change. I just found it ten minutes ago.

Being that it’s already 11:20, I’m going with a Sunday Stealing for tonight.

1. Right now I’m blogging, duh.
2. Talking to random birds outside is my well known quirk.
3. Are you confused by this question? Yes, yes, I am.
4. Shower first, then put in contact lenses!
5. That’s why they call it The Streak.
6. A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of my favorite TV shows ever!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to getting this blog entry submitted on time, tomorrow my plans include work.
8. If I could go anywhere on a road trip, I’d go across the United States, from coast to coast.
9. Supporting Trump is something I don’t understand.
10. Thanksgiving makes me think of slaughter for the sake of gluttony. (Yes, you found the health-conscious vegetarian.)
11. Reading, no wait, coloring, no wait, goofing off with a game on the tablet, no wait, cooking, no wait, escaping into a good movie is the best way to relax!
12. It looks like Autumn is about to give up the ghost around here.
13. Fruit is one of my favorite healthy snacks.
14. The smell of the wood section at Home Depot makes me think of hot men who work with their hands.
15. When I am feeling lazy I stay in my jammies.
16. When I look to the left, I see my reflection in the sliding doors of my office closet.
17. The living room and kitchen are the room(s) that have the best view in my home.
This is what I see through the pass-through in the winter, when I move Inigo’s house away from the drafty living-room window.

He weighs 128 grams and he fills 840 square feet.

18. This week’s food prep, red beans and rice, was done dirt cheap!
19. Cutting back on using plastic is a responsibility that all qualified citizens must share.
20. If you have any suggestions for good cruelty-free make-up, feel free to share them with me.

 

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.