the wheezing bird

sigh. i am growing in my understanding and appreciation for the fact that my family, when i was a child, wasn’t much of a pet family.

after thousands of dollars and thousands of headaches, we ‘adopted out’ our family dog in december. liesl’s last mouse died without much fanfare earlier last year. so our only remaining pet is max’s bird, sammy. max bought sammy with his own money (over $100!), and has done a great job of taking care of him. we did have a little leg-breaking incident that resulted in a frickin’ cast on his leg (there’s a picture on that link — hilarious).

last night, max said to me, “sammy’s making a funny sound.” he was right: it sounded like sammy was breathing hard. then it sounded like he was wheezing. seriously. i can’t say i’d ever heard a bird wheeze before — but it was clearly so. i instantly had a vision of sammy with a tracheotomy, holding a tiny microphone to his throat to make synthesized chirps.

anyhow, after max went to bed, it got worse. jeannie was not very excited about having sammy die overnight. so off i went to the 24 hour pet emergency at 9pm last night. they wanted to charge us $580 to do a few things, like keep him in an oxygen cage for 24 hours, and who knows what else. and, THEN, they were suggesting we would need to anesthetize him and do x-ray stuff and look in his windpipe and such — who KNOWS how much that would have been. and, THEN, they said, if it wasn’t a blockage, but was some common virus/fungus in his ‘breathing sacks’, it would require surgery.

uh… sorry. not goin’ there. i told her i wasn’t willing to pay the $580. if they had a cheaper alternative i’d consider it. after three more rounds, they had a cheap version of keeping him for the night in the oxygen cage and having the bird specialist look at him today. i’m thinkin’ it’s likely we’ll be pet-less…

WAIT. seriously… i was just typing that (i’m at starbucks, supposed to be writing a book), and max just called — extremely excited — to say the doctor called and sammy is all good. they said he must have been exposed to something (like a fume — hmm, what could that be?) that was constricting his breathing, and that the oxygen cage did the trick. max is thrilled. he (max) told me, “i went in my room, and prayed, and while i was praying, mom yelled to me to come quickly, because the doctor had just called…!”

so, i guess the oestreicher family will continue to have a pet… for now.

5 thoughts on “the wheezing bird”

  1. My dog, whom I love (and you’ve met) has a $300 bounty on his head. If the vet’s bill is over $300, it’s bye-bye Beaumont.

  2. ah the power of prayer!!!

    If anybody wants a a couple of $700 dollar airedale terriers (who chew on, pee on, and destroy everything I own) or a cat that hasn’t allowed me to get a goods night sleep in over 3 months. Give me a call.

    So my wife says “I would love a chincilla” (sp) And my daughters look at me with their “Daddy please” faces. Pleae pray for me.

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