Sunday, October 28, 2007

My sick "child"

Okay, so Da Vinci isn't a real, human child. He's a cockatiel, a little gray bird with a yellow head and orange cheeks. He is 20 years old, which is ancient, and he's never been to a vet because he's been healthy his whole life ... until now.

Recently he started pulling his feathers out. So I tracked down an avian vet (across town) and scheduled an appointment. But getting him there was no easy task because he doesn't willingly come out of his cage. I had to reach into the cage with a towel and grab him, then stuff him into a shoebox for transport. (This was the method recommended to me by the vet.) Let me tell you, you've never heard a shriek until you've heard an angry cockatiel stuffed into a shoebox. When I walked into the vet's waiting room, another client heard the commotion and asked, "My God, what's in there?"

With the help of an assistant who held him (with a towel, like I did, because he bites), the vet checked him out and said he appeared remarkably healthy for an old bird, and his plucking problem was probably nutrition related. Or he might be going senile, but I was hoping for the first option. For twenty years I've been feeding him the wrong things.

So now he gets a healthier diet than I do. I offer him all kinds of fruits and veggies, Cheerios, whole-wheat crackers, corn, beans, meat, cheese, plus a kind of bird chow. He eats the chow. He's afraid of everything else.

But anyway, he's doing better. It's been almost a week since he plucked any feathers. But he's still mad at me for the shoebox incident, and he hisses every time I get near his cage.

Stuff like this is no fun while it's going on. I honestly was afraid the bird was going to have a heart attack and expire in that shoebox. But now that it's over, I'm thinking I have to use this in a book. And that is the wonderful thing about writing. It gives me a constructive use for all the crazy stuff that happens in my life. I mean, you can't make this stuff up!


No comments: