Stressing Over Our Pets’ Well-Being: Part 2
Yesterday, I wrote about my pet parrotlet named Zerby. If you haven’t read the first part of my little avian saga yet, you can do so here.
Let’s go back to yesterday’s bloody bird story.
I woke up to find a big sack of dried blood on Zerby’s wing. Let’s remember something here: I have panic disorder. I don’t do well with blood, but I care so fiercely about tiny little animals and my maternal instinct is basically raging. So, I investigated the area. Did he pick the skin open? Was a blood feather broken?
I set up a little station on the bathroom floor with Q-tips, cotton balls, corn starch packed into a little shot glass, and a cup of water. I cupped Zerby into my hands as he shook — he doesn’t like being cupped. I felt so bad, and I started to feel queasy. I popped a Pepto-Bismol, then I cleaned off the dried blood.
Beneath the dried blood was a broken blood feather — and blood came dripping out.
My bird SCREAMED and I panicked. I felt the pangs of nausea hit hard and suddenly I became so lightheaded that I couldn’t think clearly. Zerby ran away, bleeding, while I desperately tried to gently grab him. The only way to stop a blood feather from bleeding is to pull it out with a pair of tweezers. (A broken blood feather, if left attached, could cause him to bleed to death. We surely wouldn’t be able to get a vet appointment until the following day, so I had to take care of this immediately.)
So there I am, reaching for a bloody, running bird, all the while thinking the following: I am going to pass out. Or throw up. Either way, no matter which one happens, my bird is going to run around my apartment and bleed to death while I am passed out or vomiting.
But I managed to scoop him up, cradle him in my left hand, and pull out the broken blood feather with my right hand.
Not quite. Still lightheaded, I had to splash some water on my face while Zerby, obviously a bit more free of pain right now, stood still on the bathroom floor. But then, I noticed that he was bleeding again — FROM the spot where I’d pulled the feather out.
Now, my thoughts went something like this: I am going to pass out or throw up, AND I’m responsible for making my bird bleed to death. Shit. I thought I’d done the right thing. I need to fix this — I need to use corn starch to stop the bleeding — but I am so lightheaded…
I tried to pick Zerby up, but by this time, I was no longer his “mom” — I was some mean lady who makes him bleed. He ran off like a little chicken into the living room. I followed him on my hands and knees as I waited for the black patches in the periphery of my vision to move center stage & put me out cold on the living room floor.
But I was able to get him. I didn’t pass out, so I managed a one-handed crawl back to the bathroom while holding him gently in the other hand.
I shook as I tried to put a tiny amount of corn starch on his bleeding wing. He’s a small, fidgety bird. It wasn’t easy trying to line everything up.
And then he bit me. Hard. Harder than he ever had before.
The bite did two things: first, it woke me up. The lightheadedness diminished and the pain grounded me to the task at hand.
Second, the bite made me release my hand as I was shakily pouring the corn starch — which lead to me dumping an entire shot glass’s worth of white powder all over my poor bird.
But it stopped the bleeding.
I laid down on the bathroom floor, on my back, and set Zerby down on my stomach. He cried. Yes, my bird can laugh — he learned that one through imitation — but he also cries. It sounds like a high-pitched human whine, and he’ll cry whenever I take him into the “scary” corner of our bedroom or anywhere near the washer and dryer. He hates the washer and dryer.
My hands were speckled with bird blood and my black sweatshirt was speckled with corn starch. His poor little chewed up wings were coated white. He looked at me with an angry face that said you hurt me. I want a new owner.
I was exhausted.
Zerby kept crying, and eventually, I followed suit.
Beretsky, S. (2012). Stressing Over Our Pets’ Well-Being: Part 2. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 6, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/panic/2012/03/stressing-over-our-pets%e2%80%99-well-being-part-2/