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The art of worrying in the middle of the night

It is 1:53 in the morning and I am up worrying. I got tired of lying in bed worrying, so I got up.

Some people are prone to worrying in the middle of the night. I am not usually one of them, so I find it interesting in a frustrating sort of way.

For starters, I’m worried about Oboe. He’s not getting better. He’s not getting worse. He’s just in limbo. And he’s not well enough for this limbo to be considered “good enough.” He spends all his time huddled in his cave inside his house. I take him out to force feed him and inject medications down his throat, and to cuddle him. He occasionally eats a few seeds, and this pleases me enormously. However, he’s not eating enough to survive, and he’s still losing weight. He’s not even drinking.

Birds need to be kept very warm when they’re sick, so they don’t waste calories trying to conserve body heat. Ideally, you should keep their cage at 90F. I’ve got a heating pad in his cage, which helps, but it doesn’t bring it up to 90. So I’ve jacked up the house temperature from 70 to 80. But it’s a programmable thermostat, and I can’t program it because I can’t get the stupid face plate off it. So all I can do is override it for two hours at a time.

So, I was also worrying that the temperature would drop during the night and make him sicker. But then I reminded myself that the heating pad would help. Next, I started worrying that the heating pad might catch fire. It says right on it that you shouldn’t leave it unattended. I started imagining the smoke detector going off and me running downstairs and trying to save all the birds.

I keep a travel cage under each of their houses, for easy access in case of emergency. However, when you really think about it, which I did, would I have time to retrieve and open each travel cage, grab each bird, stuff it in its travel cage, and get it outside before it perished from smoke inhalation? Birds have such sensitive respiratory systems. Even if I did manage to get them out in time, they would probably perish from the cold because birds are very sensitive to cold and drafts.

I considered grabbing a pillowcase and throwing them all in there to save a few seconds, but they’re mostly scared of each other and they’d probably panic and die because birds are quite fragile emotionally.

I also worried about the fact that I sleep naked, which would mean that I’d be standing outside in 20-below-zero weather, stark naked and holding a pillowcase full of panicking birds.

Since the house wasn’t actually on fire yet, I decided to put my pajamas on and come down and check on Oboe and the heating pad.

And here I am. Wide awake and worrying in the middle of the night. Ready for practically anything.

4 comments to The art of worrying in the middle of the night

  • Bethany

    Bless both your hearts. I’m sorry this is taking such a toll on you.

    Have you considered using a portable space heater near Oboe’s cage to help warm things up? When I had a sugar glider (native to tropical Australia) in my parents’ home (consistently 65-68°F) it was invaluable. It might also be worthwhile to put a good solid wool blanket over the top to hold the heat in, or move the cage to a smaller space like a closet until he’s out of the woods.

    Best of luck to you both!

  • deb

    You poor thing…stress isn’t good for you either.

  • Lynn

    Zoom, I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time. I wish the best for you and Oboe.

  • Julia

    OMG this is hilarious, and now that it is over, okay to laugh about. I have worried about stuff like that in the past. When I had Uma and she wouldn’t go down the wooden stairs to the basement (because she had fallen down them twice), I worried about what to do in the event of a tornado. Peter suggested I should throw a blanket around her and haul her – bump, bump, bump – down the stairs to the space under the stairs where we could ride out the tornado. She was too big to carry and if she panicked, it would be easier to just haul her bundled up in a blanket. I can imagine you standing outside holding a bag o’ birds.