Thursday, 12 May 2016

Battle of the Grotesque Bulge

When we last left our valiant hero, Sir Remic of Littlebrain, he was being left at the vet's for x-rays and ultrasounds to investigate the Grotesque Bulge that sprang up, seemingly overnight. That was Monday. On Tuesday, Remic (or "Sweetie Pie" as the vet called him), had his x-rays, which were fairly inconclusive. There is definitely a bulge and it's probably attached to his pancreas, was the verdict when I spoke to the vet.

So the next step was surgery on Wednesday, so the vet could see what the bulge was attached to, figure out what it was, and remove it. I can't deny, this turned my stomach a bit. Not because I didn't want him to have the surgery, but because I was scared he might not come round from it. Anesthetics can do weird things to snakes, things to do with temperature, metabolism, and breathing, which is, you know, sort of important.

But I obviously wanted him treated and I trust experts when they tell me their expert opinion, so of course, Rem had the surgery. That happened yesterday afternoon, and when I spoke to the nurse around 5pm yesterday, she said Rem was coming round and seemed fine. Huzzahs! The lump was removed, Sweetie Pie was stitched up, and I could come and collect him as soon as I was ready.

Unfortunately, for various reasons, I couldn't collect him yesterday, so he got to spend another day at the vet's. I went straight from work today (thank you, my darling Pip, for being my taxi), all ready to put Rem back in his glamourous duvet cover/washing basket combo, and take him home. Of course, it doesn't work quite like that.

First I spent some time with the nurse, hearing how Rem was doing ("he's a bit tetchy") and what his aftercare will be. He needs to go back in a week to have his stitches checked, and he needs to be in an environment where he can't damage the stitches in the meantime - no abrasive materials for him to rub against, no water bowl big enough for him to soak himself in. That's fine.

He also needs daily injections of antibiotics for a few days. "Are you happy to inject him?" the nurse asked. I regarded Remic, his head stuck under a towel in the vet's reptile carrier, oblivious to the world. "Sure," I said. So we had a practice at that. I've never injected anyone with anything before, and whilst I'm not squeamish, I am always really paranoid about hurting an animal when giving them medicine. A snake is a pretty tricky proposition, because they're a lot stronger and faster than you expect. Rem is an even trickier proposition because "tetchy" is his default mood.

Still! Never one to shy away from a new experience, I went for it. The nurse held his head and lower body, and I slid the needle under a scale to inject the meds. It's easier than it sounds, and it only took a few seconds. Rem flinched, but then seemed to immediately forget it had happened, which bodes well for the next few days. Huzzahs!

Then it was back in the duvet for the trip home.

And here he is, in what I'm thinking of as his recovery viv. We've taken out everything that might possibly damage the stitches, which was everything. Basically all the ornaments in his tank are designed to help with shedding, so nothing was suitable to leave in. He now has a bed sheet, a cereal box, and a smooth water bowl. He's supposed to be resting, but instead he's trying to figure out how to undo the snake lock, which has been his singular goal in life for as long as we've had him.

He is enjoying the cereal box, however. Which is good, because I don't know when the stitches will come out. When we take him back for his check-up in a week, we'll get to see the vet who operated on him, and hopefully then we'll learn a bit more about what the Bulge was and if it's likely to come back.

Meanwhile, Kyle and I get to take turns injecting Sweetie Pie with antibiotics while Ket looks on smugly. Fingers crossed for a full recovery for Sir Remic!

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