Friday, March 11, 2016

On Lizards and Love and Pea Soup

I took my bearded dragon to the vet today.

There she is!

She hadnt been in a while. She also hasn't been eating too much lately and she's got gunk in her eyes and she's 5 and a half years old which is kinda old for bearded dragons, so I figured she could use a check-up.

First off, the vets at Kensington Bird and Animal Hospital are great. Plus, they usually have a duck chilling behind the front desk, recuperating. A duck I tell you!

Anyways, the first thing they did is put her in a bowl and weigh her. She lost half a pound since the last visit, and at 5.4 pounds, that's like a quarter of her total body weight. I think. Not a math guy.

Next they checked the inside of her mouth. Ducey, my lizard, keeps her mouth shut like a female should (kidding!) so they used a rubber spatula to pry it open. She didn't like that too much but I guess they saw something because they wanted to do some blood work, which involved sticking a giant needle in her tail and taking a larger amount of blood than I thought would come out of a lizard tail.

When I woke up and got off the floor, they had the blood work analyzed. Her kidneys were fine! Also, lizards have kidneys!

But she was dehydrated. The indicators were her weight loss, sluggishness, lack of eating, sunken and crusty eyes, and the lack of elasticity in her skin. When you pull her skin, much like with a human, it should snap back to regular shape when you let go. Hers stayed bunched up.

So they got another giant needle filled with H20 and jammed it in her side. As they injected her, a bubble formed on her right side. You can see it in the picture. They said that it should disperse over the next hour.

Lastly, they gave me a powdered formula. I needed to mix it with warm water and use a plastic syringe to feed her. The vet said I should mix the formula until it becomes the consistency of pea soup.

Pea soup? Of all the things in the world, why would she reference pea soup? I don't know the damn consistency of pea soup. All I know about pea soup is that my mom used to cook it for my father when I was young and it stunk up the house for days. It was brutal. I can seriously smell it right now because the smell is so intense it travels through time.

The craziest part is that nobody else in the house ate pea soup. Not even my mom.

My dad loved it though, so she suffered through it. It was quite the sacrifice. Looking back on it, I see that it was the perfect metaphor for love. You have to be able to do things for your partner that you may not want to do and that, in some cases, might even assault your senses in ways you could never imagine and often don't believe as they are happening.

Of course, my brother and I had to suffer through these malodorous expressions of true love as well, so I didn't really see it as a beautiful representation of a lifelong commitment. I saw it as cruel and unusual punishment.

I don't disagree with that assessment today, but I also see it for what it really was. Without even realizing it, I was learning one of the most important lessons about love: real love is cooking your partner's favorite food even though you despise it. I don't know the consistency of pea soup, but I know my mom must really love my dad to cook him something that smelled like a dumpster rat's diarrhea.

I'm grateful to have learned that lesson, and to have two parents who loved each other in a way that taught me that lesson. I don't think it's a coincidence that my girlfriend cooks fish for me despite the fact that it disgusts her. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Anyways, the vet bill was ridiculously high and my lizard is doing fine.

I Love You All...Class Dismissed.

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