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Parronts Of Chronically/Terminally Ill Birds, How Do You Cope?

taxidermynerd

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When your bird is faced with a lifelong illness or a life-ending illness, how do you cope? Beyond ensuring your fid is cared for, of course. How do you cope with knowing it's only a matter of time before your bird flies over the Rainbow Bridge? Or with years of medicating, vet trips and worrying?

I know we all want to do the best we can for our birds, but as much as some of us may not want to admit it, it's taxing. The worrying, the vet bills, not wanting to leave them alone for fear of something happening. It is something almost every bird owner will experience at some point.

How do you cope?
 

Hawk12237

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You do your best. You comfort them with love. They know and appreciate it. For example, just recently poppers passed. She had a bad fungal infection, which we beat. But it weakened her. Her heart was in bad shape over it. Vet said she had damage to it....But I refused to think she couldn't beat it all.
I knew deep down I had to try, kept matching on. Then recently her heart have out. Yea its hard.I
Sparky, a grey, was severely handicapped. Had to be hand fed several times a day, and given real soft warm food in his bowl. His beak was severely crossed, couldn't walk properly, had to pad around perches, cages, inside cage too. He was always falling off things. But he was my baby, and I didn't mind one bit taking car of him. He had a very abused life before I took him on. And he appreciated it too by always giving a kiss, then saying I love you.
Billy jean a too, was also badly mistreated. Was actually burnt from candle or cigarrettes, and smelled heavily of smoke when I got her...was also missing an eye. She turned out to be a sweet bird, but on constant meds.
My point is, you have to cope, for them. They Can't do it on their own. They are what drives me every day. You just do it
Because the bird God says so!!
 

taxidermynerd

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The reason I ask is because I now find myself in this position, I have been for several weeks now. And after today's vet visit, I realized I have no clue how to deal with this. In a healthy way, anyway. I have been beating myself up mentally since Chirp's diagnosis, and especially so since things took a turn for the worse (when he was diagnosed as terminal).

But it's so hard- Honestly, I wasn't even sure Chirp would make it to Christmas, and right now I don't know how far into the New Year he will make it. It's next to impossible that he will live to see his 4th gotcha day. Every time I have to go out I worry he will be dead when I come back. I feel guilty if I leave the room for even a few minutes. My worst fear is him dying alone, with nobody to comfort him, spending his final moments thinking I don't love him. The very thought makes me want to scream.

I don't have a single clue what I'm doing, and I feel like it would be dangerous for me to stay in this state of mind for an extended period of time. I just don't know how to handle it.
 

Cynthia & Percy

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Just do you based God will do the rest don’t worry I know it’s hard I had a plucker for 15 years Percy by name I learned how to take care of him and keep him happy and did not worry do you to new city ordinance I had to rehome him I miss him dearly and I would do it all over again I just wish I had him longer
 

Dartman

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You just keep loving him and making him content and happy in the time he has. Nobody can say how long it will be but he'll know he's safe and loved to the end, that's all you can do and trust me, they know.
 

Tiel Feathers

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I think your doing everything you can, which is all anybody can do. I also think that you’re doing a fantastic job, and that Chirp is very lucky to have you. Every bird should be so lucky, and whenever it is his time to go, whether it is soon or not, you will at least know you fought the good fight and gave it your all. As hard and stressful and heart wrenching as it is, that’s much better than wondering if there was more that you could have done or thinking what if...
I’m so sorry this is happening to you and Chirp, remember we are all here for you and are rooting for you and that precious little bird.
:hug8:
 

Ankou

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:sadhug2:
I'm so sorry for you and Chirp. Always remember he has no expiration date; and I hope he surprises us all with his determination and fortitude.
What Sarah said is true, all we can do is our best and share our love. Take comfort in each other, take solace in all you are doing to make their life happy, and take pride in doing what you can even when its hard. Cherish every day, and someday the pain will be bearable and you can revisit all those wonderful memories.
If the worst happens and he passes while you are away it won't be as if everything you gave him up to that point never happened. He knows he's loved, but I sincerely hope you can be there for him.

Do you have anyone you can turn to for extra support? Talk to your father, a therapist, or a cuddle with Roxie?

My dogs have become my emotional support, helping me cope with Peanut's passing. It's been very hard but they are good friends too, and need me to be able to do more than sleep and cry right now, so I do.
 

Hankmacaw

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Unfortunately, several of we members have gone through what you are going through. We love our sick birds enough to think only of them and give them the very best we can. We love them constantly.

Right now I have Jasper (27 yo GW female), who has been deathly ill since the day I got her 19 years go. Every morning when I get her up I have that knot in my stomach, fearing that she has died during the night.

We just do everything possible for them, love them unconditionally and never, never give up.
 

JLcribber

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It takes courage. :hug8:

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

Eleanor Roosevelt
US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)
 

Nobirby

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I only have experience knowing my dogs were dying. Three to cancer. I just gave them all the love I could. I don't know whether it was better knowing for months, or just days. We lost Annie in 2 days after finding out. That hurt the most, but we had her the longest and she was our baby. Having each other to lean on, and God, does help.
 

Just-passn-thru

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It's hard to accept we have to let them go , life is a process, facing death is something that we have been conditioned to fear, but its all part of the process.

We do the best we can, you're feeling this way because you are a deeply compassionate human being.

Chirp is very fortunate to have been given a wonderful life ,by you.
He has a better life than many creatures and children, that are suffering in horrible situations.

I know this doesn't make it better you love him with all your heart. But it hopefully will give you comfort knowing chirp is a very lucky budgie having you as his life guardian.
:hug5:
 

Brittany0208

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It isn't easy, but you have to take each day in stride. Java isn't chronically or terminally ill but he is severely handicapped, unable to fly, walk, or extend his leg as well as grip properly. Even scratching his head is a challenge, and he can't do it without assistance. Each time he falls, my heart stops and I fear he won't get back up. Watching him crash into the wall face first is terrifying as I've seen him bruise his cere, chip his beak and scratch his eye. For the rest of his days, he'll be a sitting duck and sometimes when I hear him lose his footing in the middle of the night, I worry if he's hurt himself or worse. It doesn't get easier, especially knowing that he could potentially develop heart disease since he is sedentary. But you take the good with the bad and do whatever you can to make their lives a bit brighter while they are with us. You are an amazing parront to Chirp, and I truly sympathize with your current situation.
:hug8:
 

Monica

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All I can say is that you just "do". I've been doing "this" for so long that I really don't know what else to say... you take each day at a time and do the best that you can.

My first conure was never "healthy", but his bloodwork never indicated what *was* wrong with him. Sure, his bloodwork wasn't the picture of a healthy bird, but at the same time, it couldn't say "this is what's wrong with him". He was partially blind and going blind with cataracts, he had poor grip, he couldn't fly, let alone glide, he rarely ever had healthy poops... they were always soft and mushy, often times with extra water. He also mutilated himself. I got him when I was barely a teen, actually about 18 years ago now! (right before Christmas!). He passed away nearly 10 years ago. (it'll be 10 come next February)

I also had a bourke parakeet. She was estimated to be about 5-7 years old ("breeder" couldn't remember when she was born). At approximately 14 years old, she had surgery to remove a mass from her foot. Turned out to be cancerous... and it grew back. A couple of years later, she ended up having health issues... which was weird because she'd get sick and nesty at the same time. (she would lay eggs and sit on them while being sick) I'd treat her with milk thistle and DMG, she'd recover and stop being nesty. Once had a sinus infection. That was fun! Had to hold her upside down and flush out her sinuses. Then she was having some other issue. One morning, when she was about 19 years old, I woke up to find her on the bottom of the cage with uncontrollable head twitching. I went to work, hoping she'd die at home. Might be a horrible thing to say, but I *DID NOT* want to make the decision to take her in to the vet. Came home for lunch and she was still alive. Called the vet and took her in. Vet agreed with me... we put her to sleep. Even then, she was fighting to stay alive, but considering age and deteriorating health, I couldn't allow her to continue suffering.

My last cat was about 13 years old and started failing in health. There was no "easing into it". She wasn't acting old or anything, she just suddenly didn't act right. X-Rays were taken and the vet thought they just saw cat litter in her intestinal tract... which seemed rather odd. Well, turns out it was cancer. I separated her from her brother (before we knew it was cancer) and kept a close eye on her. Took care of her the best I could, gave her IV fluids at home. The day I found out it was cancer was the day she had just taken a turn for the worse. Called up family and told them it was time to say goodbye while trying to get more time with her.... even got medications to ease her discomfort... but decided I couldn't prolong her suffering just to get one more day with her... took her back to the vet, same day, for the last time.


I have Beau here now. He was supposed to be just a foster, but for some reason his health just declined. He's sick, he's obviously not feeling well, he's underweight, he's weak... we've been in and out of the vets office getting medications and he's just not getting better. I worry that one day I'll check on him and he wont be there anymore. I've done milk thistle in his water... I've done aloe detox in his water.... I'm now trying some other supplement in his water... and none of it seems to be helping. I guess the plus side to all of this is that despite being sick and unwell, he remains bright eyed and alert! And when he uses something else to scratch his own head he makes the most pitiful little squeaks.



I'm sitting here now just a ball of mess thinking back on some of the critters and all that I did and tried to do for them to make sure they remained as healthy as could be, but feeling like there was something more that I could have done. I feel you are an amazing person for having done everything that you have for Chirp, and continue to do! And you have an amazing vet willing to help out, too! I feel like my own vet, the only one in the area that I trust, has just "checked out" in regards to bird care. She'll still see my birds, but it just feels like the level of care isn't the same. The only other vet I've considered going to in my area does not work on my day off which makes regular checkups difficult... so I feel like the only other option I have is to go out of state, which sucks right now because it's winter and the pass to the next closest vet that I'd be willing to trust with my birds can be dangerous in the winter. (re: Donner Pass) I do keep putting off making an appointment, but if I want a second opinion, I need to.
 

fashionfobie

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I think the most difficult aspect of ill pets is that there is not one appropriate way to cope. You do what you can to give them the most full and happy life. You make the time to visit the vet, go to the pharmacy, and wake up everyday to tend to them. You really are doing the same as when they are healthy. You are loving them! The care might be more complicated but you are doing your best to make each day fun and special for them.

I wish there was a right way to cope. We are all different people, and for animal lovers we are all sensitive people. It isn't easy to know the end is coming. It hurts all the time. Even for my healthy pets I sometimes have nightmares about fans or other dangers.. what if sort of panics.

Just keep taking one day at a time. Do your best to find happiness in everyday with Chirp. Don't let anyone make you feel bad for your position. What you are doing is an act of love. There is no easy way to love.

Keep going strong little Chirp!
 

Clueless

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One day at a time. That's life.

Your bird loves you. If you were out of his life completely THEN he would miss you and would be heartbroken.

If you are out of his room or away from home, he knows you are coming back. He knows he is loved. Cherish THAT thought when you are away from him. Your life is continuing and you can't be there 100% of the time. If it helps you, get a camera so you can check on him while you are away. You can talk through the camera to him if you feel you need to.
 

taxidermynerd

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Do you have anyone you can turn to for extra support? Talk to your father, a therapist, or a cuddle with Roxie?
Not really... No therapist, no friends in person. My dad loves Chirp but he doesn't get it, although he tries. I have 1 friend outside of AA, but she's really busy (college student) and I don't want to burden her. This community is all I really have.

I've thought about getting a nest cam for a long time, but I don't have a smartphone so I can't get the app- thus nullifying the point of having one. Dad says after the holidays we'll go looking for phones- maybe once I have a smartphone I might get a nest cam.

I left the house again today and felt awful the whole time. Tomorrow I might try and get out to Indiana Dunes- nature always does wonders for my mental status. That is, if it can counter-act the guilt of leaving the house.
 

Dartman

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You can setup almost any security camera to record on motion so you can have it save captures to your pc or a SD card once you have it. once you get a phone or tablet you can remote view any time you want from anywhere if you set it up right and it doesn't have to be a nest cam. I have two cameras on Dobby. One o my main security DVR with a built in hard drive, and one to a wifi camera with remote n and tilt , plus speaker and microphone so I can talk to him remotely. Once you have a camera it comes with the software, or you can run all kinds of free ones.
 

finchly

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You’ve got to leave the house some. I was just getting ready to suggest that. And it wouldn’t hurt to talk to a therapist.

Once I had a foster dog - I was his absolute last chance and the rescue sent him to me for rehabilitative training but it wasn’t working and he was dangerous (and I had 55 students and my 3 kids and their friends coming in and out). I lived under a different stress than you but it was stressful. I went and had a 30 minute consult with the vet. He helped me a lot. The vet “gets” what you’re going through more than anyone I think. So maybe since you won’t talk to a therapist (ahem, cough cough) you could talk with your vet.

This is a really good question that you asked, and I’m glad you brought it up. We have to acknowledge what we’re feeling before we can do anything about it. And sooo many of us here go through this.

:sadhug2::sadhug2::sadhug2:
 

taxidermynerd

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Thank you everyone for your concern. Today I went out to The Dunes and I walked on the beach with Roxie, and got a chance to clear my mind a bit. I was able to leave the house without feeling awful. And I even managed to be somewhat functional, I made a batch of chop (kale, red chard and carrots). I think I will reward myself with a cookie.
 
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