I feel sick.
We just got home forty minutes ago from our nephew’s 4th birthday party. Ian had a great time helping him open presents and playing with the “bah-loons”.
On the way in the house, Bryan dropped off Ian’s souvenir balloon into the family room from the garage. And I got out the car, got Ian out, and while Bryan watered our transplanted fir trees in the front, Ian and I went on our nightly search for the moon. Not seeing it from our house, we walked back up to Bryan where he pointed out ants burrowing under our front concrete steps. So, I left Ian with Bryan and went indoors to grab some ant traps from under the kitchen sink.
For some reason, our cockatiel, Mauricio, got spooked from the noises the traps were making coming out of the box and flew off his cage. On the way past him out the door, I picked him off the floor and replaced him on his drawbridge door. I was half-way out the door when I heard him fly again, and quickly shut the door behind me.
After putting the traps out, I brought Ian with me, and we headed back towards the garage. I told him, “we have to be careful, birdy’s on the floor.” “Uh-huh” he replied. I opened the door slowly, and stuck my head around it, looking for him. “Okay Ian, I see birdy, now be careful.”
The bird was fairly close to us, about half way between his cage and the door. Ian saw him, and made a small gasp. He then spotted the balloon, got over-excited, forgot about the bird, and stepped on him. The bird screeched. I couldn’t move quick enough. Everything was in slow motion. I was relieved to see he hadn’t crushed him to death. I saw him body swerve to the side where Ian then stepped onto his wing. I picked him up and he was moving. Wow, too close. I placed him back on his cage and heaved a sigh of relief.
I walked back outside with Ian and said, “did you hear that from out here?!”
“Yeah, what was going on?”
“Birdy flew off chasing me out the door and I closed it behind me. I took Ian back inside and he got distracted by the balloon and stepped on the bird. He seems to be okay.”
After Bryan was done, he came indoors and checked on Mauricio.
“Oh no. Siobhan, he’s not okay. He has a huge lump on his lower back. Here, I’ll hold him, and you see if you can feel anything, it might just be his feathers sticking up.”
Sure enough our little bird had a lump. My heart sank.
Bryan searched through the Yellow Pages, looking for a Vet that would take birds on emergency appointments. None of them in our town and in the surrounding area could take him. The closest was an hour away. A whole hour. Just to see the bird is $65.
We don’t know what’s going to happen, if he’ll be okay, or what kind of treatment he’s going to need, and it really breaks my heart to think that there might be a chance he won’t come back at all.
As Bryan was printing off directions to the animal hospital, I sat with Mauricio and talked with him. I knew he’d probably broken his tiny, fragile back.
Cockatiels generally get attached to one person. Mauricio was on the scene before I was, and knows that Bryan and I have a relationship. If I am alone with the bird, he loves me, I am his pal, his buddy, give me a cracker, you know you like me. But if Bryan is around, he’s less likely to come to me or let me scratch behind his head or let me spend a little time with him. So basically, he loves me conditionally.
Mauricio helped Bryan through some very rough times in his life, and he raised him from when he was just weeks old. They’re buddies, and as much as we complain about him, or grumble about his incessant one-pitched screeching chirp, he’s part of our little family, and we love him.
Just before Bryan left with Mauricio, we said a small prayer. I couldn’t help but cry. Bryan asked me to go rest, not to wait up. I can’t. I wouldn’t sleep anyway.
Bryan won’t even get to the animal hospital for another thirty minutes, and in the meantime, all I can do is sit and wait.
Update: Wed. 1:15 p.m. (MDT)
The swelling we saw on Mauricio’s back was a ruptured air sac. The vet checked him out all over, making sure his wings were okay and that he wasn’t in any major discomfort. He said he was very healthy and one of the most mild-mannered cockatiels he’s met. I’d hate to meet a bad one!
Anyway, he’s going to be okay. We just have to keep an eye on him and make sure it doesn’t rupture open, then it could be fatal for him. The vet said the swelling should subside in 2-3 days. I already see a huge improvement.
I’ve been keeping an eye on him all morning, and he’s doing really well. He’s eating as normal, moving around with ease and is currently resting.
Thank you all for your concern, it really means a lot to me.