I’ve had a horrible few days because my parrot, aged 17 years, suddenly developed an infection which stopped her from eating, where she was sleeping most of the time. I knew that quick intervention is essential with sick birds. When I took her to the vet, I was told ‘She’s very poorly’, ‘It’s touch and go whether she’ll make it’ etc. Meaning I had to leave her at the vets so she could receive treatment, not knowing whether I would ever see her again!
Knowing there was the possibility that I might lose my little friend, my heart started to prepare itself for the inevitable, and my mind started the weighing up, pros and cons process, that happens when we enter such a crisis event! ‘She’s only a bird’ I’d say to myself, ‘nothing lives forever, you know that!’. Then I’d think ‘Maybe it won’t be so bad when she’s gone, I won’t miss her that much!’. My mind began yo-yoing, racing as I struggled to contain the terror I’d started to feel, but struggled against, knowing that my ‘baby’ may not come back to me!
I’ve slept badly during the last couple of nights, trying not to worry about what might happen. I have remained calm, but inside I’ve been standing on the edge of a deep precipice, waiting. Waiting for the news that will push me, albeit reluctantly, over the edge into the deep chasm of pain, that grief bestows upon us!
I’ve phoned the vet a couple of times each day for progress reports. They said she’s very old for a captive parrot (I didn’t think that), she’s still not eating, she’s losing weight. They were tube feeding and she’s on antibiotics for the infection. This morning they said she was a little brighter, but they want to keep her in until Monday to make sure she’s eating again. I suggested they try giving her favourite food, digestive biscuit with tea. This afternoon they rang me and said as she’s eating (she ate the biscuit) she can come home, as long as I continue medicating etc. So now, thank God, she’s home, back in her cage. And although she’s not her normal self, she has eaten a couple of times already! Hopefully, when I take her back to the vet next week she will be fully recovered!
Did you know that you can taste and smell fear? It feels sort of warm in the head and upper body, and has a sweet sickly taste and smell, caused by the mixture of different chemicals that are evoked once we enter into fear and panic mode! That’s how I’m feeling at the moment, even though my parrot is back home!
I guess it’s caused by that terrible feeling of expecting ’The Worst’ to happen, where there’s little hope of a positive outcome! I’ve found myself feeling irritated this afternoon, not just because the vet painted such a negative picture. But because this has happened to me a few times now, where it’s almost as though the professional, who we have to trust with the lives of ourselves and loved ones, causes our distress, because of their negative prognosis!
Nearly thirty years ago my mother had ovarian cancer, that had spread. The doctors were very convincing when they told me she would not live any longer than 6 – 9 months. The whole family went into grief mode, whilst trying to remain buoyant for mum. By some miracle mum survived! She’s now 85 years old!
Four years ago whilst in hospital for acute stomach pain, she was again rushed into surgery with a rupture
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d bowel and bladder. It was a long operation, and the doctors said they did not expect her to live! Her age, poor health, and seriousness of her condition meant there was little hope of survival, so we should prepare ourselves for the worst! We, the family, had been here before. But now it looked like it was time for mum to leave us! Three months later she came home! Obviously there was intensive care, lots of pain etc. But she survived!
Last October my step-father fell and broke his neck! It was unbearable to see him in intensive care, paralysed, unable to breathe on his own. The doctors told us that if he did survive, he would probably be totally paralysed. So, whilst we were doing our best to console and reassure him, we entered into the grief mode of preparing ourselves for the worst! Nearly a year later, most of this time in hospital, he is walking, breathing, and although he has to be monitored for his breathing, and has reduced use of his right hand, he is still alive and kicking!
I guess the point I’m trying to make, is that in any crisis situation it’s important to retain a sense of hope, in order to help us cope with what we are facing! But doctors seem to deliberately take away our hope, when they predict the worst scenario for their patient. I know they have to be realistic, and want us to be also, but I wonder why they paint such a dismal picture in this sort of situation! Maybe it’s part of the emotional preparation just in case things do go wrong! Maybe they say what they do, because they don’t want to get sued for giving misleading information! Who knows!
Of course there are cases where they are correct, which I’m also familiar with, when my dear brother-in-law died at the age of 39 from cancer. He was given the bad news by his doctors that he had only a few weeks to live, only this time, sadly, they were right!
So, the prospect of losing my pet parrot has opened up a huge ‘kettle of worms’ associated to grief, loss and attachment, that I’ve now got to process! And I have to find a way to calm down the adrenalin that’s been pumping so hard for the last few days! I hate the grief process. It hurts so much on every level doesn’t it! But we can’t avoid it, as all life is temporary and transitional – even our own!
However, what I have learned through all of these trials is that there is no guarantee when it comes to death and survival! The doctors can tell us there’s no hope! But you know what, our spirit, our soul, our body is strong! And although there will be a time when we won’t survive, nobody can really say when that time will be!
I am so grateful that things have worked out positively for me and my loved ones (some of the time). But we can’t live without hope! It’s the thing that keeps us coming back again when we fall, trying over and over to change our lives, to make things better, to will our loved ones to get well! And although we may be anxious, hope prevents depression. Without hope there would be no trust! Without hope and trust we would be living in dark despair! A place I don’t want to visit unless I really have to!
So please doctors, when you are giving us ‘The News’, is there any way you can allow just a little leeway, for our hope and trust to generate the miracles of healing, that only the universe can provide for us?
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