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October 2003

Brain’s Leg

On Sunday morning when Chris and Rebecca were visiting, Chris saw Brain (the younger of my two parakeets) on one foot. He asked what was up with that. Not thinking or really looking too hard, I just said that’s how they sleep, on one foot and all. At least a bunch of the time. I didn’t think much of it.

Later that evening though, I moved the cage into the other room to get it away from a drafty window, and noticed that Brain was having trouble staying perched. The right foot clearly had something wrong with it. It was stuck out to the side and splayed out, and Brain did not seem to be able to use it at all, and was balancing on one foot, and using his beak to help him climb and move around. It looked broken, and looked aweful. The only thing I could figure is maybe Brain got his foot stuck somewhere on the cage and then struggled and broke his foot trying to escape.

There was no emergency vet that handled birds open, so I had to wait until morning to make an appointment. Plus, I had an appointment I could not break in NYC in the middle of the day. Brandy once again became a life saver, and said she would take Brain to the bird vet she used. She had been planning on taking her bird Nicki in later in the week, but moved it up because of this.

So Brandy took Brain in for the apointment at 2 PM, just after I was finishing up in NYC. So she called me on the cell for updates and decisions as they were needed. After getting my permission, the vet took X-rays.

It was not a broken leg. It was worse. Brain has a large tumor, the vet thinks probably in the kidney. The tumor is so large it is pressing on the psyatic nerve, and causing paralysis in the leg. The tumor is too large to be operable. He gave me some steroid drops that I need to give Brain daily. But basically, it is incurable. The medicine *might* be able to reduce the tumor some, but tends not to be effective indefinately, and often is not effective at all. Sort of a 50/50 chance of it helping at all, and even if it helps, it will not cure, at best it will make Brain more comfortable.

When I got home Brandy showed me how to catch Brain and give him the drops. Doing this stresses both me and Brain out. I hope it will help. I need to learn to do it twice a day going forward. Brain’s prognosis is not good. But I will do everything I can to do whatever I can to help him out.

Sigh! :-(

Not a happy day.

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