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» Tuesday, April 09, 2002
You might have noticed that in my last post I mentioned Bandit's leg being possibly "sprained" and wondered about it, as I mentioned he had breathing problems, not sore limbs.
At the moment the panting problem seems to have alleviated. I kept him warm and as calm as possible (since half the time he will hop up on the bars of the cage when I walk by) and on Easter Sunday allowed him certain small flights. He has flown since then, from the cage to me and back again, or from my head to James' without any appreciable loss of breath or gasping.
Easter Sunday, though, I noticed he was favoring his right foot a little, and by the next day he was obviously favoring it.
He isn't using it much, although he can still climb and still scratches with it, but then holds it up afterward. He can bear a little weight on it, but prefers not to, and balances by carrying his tail low and sitting with his little breastbone resting on the perch or my finger.
On the other hand, he doesn't seem to be in severe pain, although he's resting a lot. He chirps when uncovered in the morning, makes love to my thumb, eats and drinks and eliminates, talks--just nothing as much as he did when he was completely well.
When I spoke to the vet last no further diagnosis could be done without stressful tests, which I didn't feel as if he were strong enough to take--and even if he was strong enough, would he be able to endure it anyway? A budgie is all ego and looks like the strongest little fellow in the world--I've always said Bandit is as tough as old boots; nothing fazes him and it's Willow who's the bundle of neuroses--but is he truly? And came the diagnosis, what then? One thing might be treatable, but it included a diet change. I can't even get him to eat pellets without his getting frantic with hunger. But the vet did tell me I had to make a choice--I, not she--and one could be just to let him be.
There's the part of me that wants to do anything to hold on, yet it can't be me I'm concerned about, it has to be Bandit. Somehow I can't conceive of this sweet little gallant bird being poked and prodded any longer if there are no guarantees it will help. He's seven and a half years old, and even though they have been known to live up to 15 years, he's pretty well on in years for the average budgerigar. Maybe the kindest thing to do, as long as he's not hurting, is to let him slip away at home, where he's safe and warm, with "Daddy" and "Sister" and his teevee and his "'puter," and silly "Mama Hen" making soft noises at him.
It's a rum old world, isn't it? The place where James worked had a "store budgie" who never went to the vet, got the cheapest seed in the supermarket, and didn't have her cage cleaned every day, while Bandit's had regular checkups, the best food Petsmart can supply, scrubbed perches, and fresh air, and yet Adrian lived until thirteen and Bandit's failing at half that age. Hard to understand, too.