I am a chronic worrier. It’s so easy for me to get paranoid. I think I was born with this flaw. When I was little (like seven or eight) I would memorize symptoms of ecoli, cancer and other sicknesses like that. If I had had the chance, I would have memorized the indications of scurvy. I even memorized the signs of sepsis, which I, of course, had a huge chance of getting. *rolls eyes* When I had any hint of any sickness, I would immediately fly into a panic because I would probably be dead by morning. It’s a good thing I didn’t have access to the internet for a long time or I would have been crippled by endless worrying and anxiety.
I’ll stop with the memes now.
All of that to say, now that I have sugar gliders, my paranoia has transferred its focus to making sure that my pets are healthy. I have spent HOURS at a time doing research on sugar glider illnesses. All of which end with me in a ball of nerves wondering why I ever wanted to get a pet because all things die.
What is written below is not made up. It maybe exaggerated a tad, but seriously, this is me.
I should probably get counseling or a therapy stuffed animal or something. 🤣😂
I walk into her room around nine with my sugar glider food. I open the cage and realizes that Dreamer is normally up and running around by this time. The cage is eerily quiet.
Me: GASP. OH NO. NO. IS SHE LETHARGIC? WHAT IF SHE’S SICK?! WHY ISN’T SHE UP RIGHT NOW?!!! WHAT IF SHE DOESN’T GET UP AT ALL TONIGHT?
I proceed to open the sleeping pouch and grab Dreamer, who is happily purring and cuddled in beside Ink. I quickly do the tent test to check for dehydration.
Me: Oh man. Is she tenting?? Just a bit? No. Oh phew. Okay. She’s not dehydrated. *pause* or maybe she is! Maybe she just isn’t showing symptoms yet.
I dip my finger in the water and offer it to her. Dreamer, who is annoyed at being woken up prematurely, refuses to humor me and turned her head away in disgust.
Me: Oh no! Why isn’t she drinking? She normally licks my finger even if there isn’t anything on it.
I quickly dip my finger in the food dish and offer it to her. She ignores it. The smell of peas (which she hates) is too prevalent. She squirms, wanting to get back to the warm pouch that I have taken her from.
Me: SHE ISN’T EATING. SHE LOVES FOOD.
I forget that Ink is the one who will eat anything, whereas Dreamer is quite picky. I also forget to offer her a yogurt drop, which is something that she happily eats at any hour. I carefully put her back into the pouch and then spend the next twenty minutes sitting by the cage, waiting for her to come out. She is so traumatized by the early wake up call, that she decides to get back at me by sleeping late.
Me: *shakes head and lifts hands with a groan of resignation* *speaks in the calm, strong voice that one would use at a funeral* She’s sick. Totally sick. She’s gonna die.
I continue to wait. I pace back and forth in front of the cage. I run my hands paranoidly through my greasy hair over and over again. Everyone else is watching a movie, but I’d rather quiver in my dark room.
As I wait, I hear a strange noise from the pouch. Now any sensible person would think nothing of this. Sugar gliders make a lot of different noises at a lot of different times. But me? I’m BEYOND sensible. I’m WORRIED.
Me: THAT NOISE! WHAT WAS THAT NOISE?! I’VE NEVER HEARD IT BEFORE. I’M SURE IT’S HER DEATH CRY! WHY IS SHE MAKING THAT NOISE?! It sounds like a noise that someone would make when they’re in agony. Is she in agony? Is she hurt? Maybe she injured herself last night when she was playing? Maybe a pesticide-filled roach crawled into her cage and she ate it! What did I put in that last batch of food!? Maybe I accidently dropped a peach pit in and it got ground up and it’s poisoning them from the inside! Is there any way that cat saliva could have gotten into their cage?
I completely ignore the fact that my family has severe cat allergies, so there is no way a cat would be allowed to breach the doors.
Me: *gasps* I tried to make that cake in a spring form pan and a bunch of it spilled into the bottom of the oven and burned! What if the smoke got into my room? They have such delicate lungs!
I take this new lead and race downstairs to the computer and spend the next hour researching. It starts out as a simple search: Sugar glider smoke inhalation and ends up on multiple bunny trails that make me discover all of these other sicknesses that I didn’t know about.
Me: Ah man, I can’t believe this. Gliders have anal glands? And they can get infected? On both male and female!? I HAD NO IDEA.
I run back upstairs and see that both Ink and Dreamer are awake and bouncing around their cage.
Me: Oh babies, I’ve gotta make sure that you’re okay. Come over here, let me make sure that you’re not infected. WAIT.
The dim light of my lamp glints off of Ink’s stained supposed-to-be-white fur.
Me: Staining signifies that something is wrong!!!
I totally overlook the fact that Ink is an unneutered male and thus creates gross yellow stain wherever he goes.
Me: Something is wrong internally! Oh man, this is horrible. What is it? Diet? It’s gotta be diet. Maybe I should change diets. But which one should I switch to? HPW? Critterlove? No, Critterlove has some bad reviews. Of course everything does. Which one has the least negativity attached to it?
I go back to the computer and waste another long time doing diet research, before finally deciding to stick to the diet that I already have. I go back upstairs and open the cage so that I can play with my babies. While they’re out, I catch a whiff of something that doesn’t smell normal.
Me: DIFFERENT SMELLS?!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Do you know what that could mean? It could mean a UTI! DREAMER! Baby, get over here. There you go. Sit on my arm. Now pee on my arm. I need to see if it’s you that’s smelling.
Dreamer glares at me. After sitting on my shoulder for a long time – a total of thirty seconds – she hops off.
Me: Oh come on! The one time I want you to pee on me, you won’t do it. Of course.
I lean back and accidently stick my hand in a pile of glider poop that has collected on my carpet.
Me: Right. I’ve gotta check and be sure that they aren’t constipated. Is there’s poop a good consistency?
I stick my nail into it, satisfied. Then I watch them, waiting for their next bowel movement.
Me: Guys, please. I need to see if there is any straining or grunting! That could be a serious problem! *gasps* What if Dreamer has an internal blockage?! That can kill her in a very short time.
I wait anxiously for her to poop again. After ten minutes, I’m in a near frenzy because nothing has happened. When she finally goes, I collapse in a heap on the floor. My eyes are twitching. I think the ends of my hair is, too.
Me: Stop scaring me, Dreamer. I’m going to have a heart attack if you keep doing that.
I glance over at the calcium supplement that is a part of my diet and my eyes grow wide. I’d almost forgotten about HLP! I carefully watch their hind legs as they walk.
Me: Are they dragging? Are you guys having trouble climbing? WALK FOR ME, BABIES. Let me see you walk!
They look at me with humor and then jump up the side of the cage. After a very long hour, I put my gliders carefully back into their cage. Then I walk across the room and lay down on my bed. For the next two hours, I lay awake and listen to them as they play and run around the cage. But I can’t sleep, ‘cause I’m waiting for something to happen. Maybe one of them will suddenly fall to the ground without explanation. Maybe they’ll start sneezing because they have a highly developed respiratory infection and they’ve only got a few minutes left? What if they get bored and then depressed and start self-mutilating, all in the time frame of half an hour? I need to be awake to see it and prevent it. If they’re sick, I need to be up to take them to the vet.
Me: Do I have a 24/7 vet? Isn’t mine by appointment only? I should probably find a vet that’s 24/7. But where to find a good vet that specializes in exotics? I’ve read horror stories of bad vets that don’t know what they’re doing….GLIDERS HAVE DIED.
It’s now three in the morning and I’ve barely slept. I’m finally drifting off when I hear a crash come from the cage. I’m wide awake now. I grab my flashlight and scan the cage. Of course it’s just one of the foraging toys slamming against the side. Nobody’s hurt. But I’m so worried that someone will be that I stay up until four.
Finally, I’m so exhausted that I fall to sleep. I dream about gliders that multiply like rats. My cage is defective, so the glider joeys are all crawling through the bars and getting eaten by saliva-dripping cats.
When I wake up, I’m sleep deprived, which puts me in a greater state of paranoia. After checking the gliders (who are asleep) to be sure that everyone is still breathing and alive, I try to do school. The math problems suddenly look like vet bills. So for the next three hours, instead of doing school like I should, I research. And research. And find all sorts of expensive things that I don’t really need and buy them because they’ll somehow improve the life of my gliders.
It’s nine pm again. And my gliders are still asleep. I melt into a heap on the floor and don’t move until I hear the sound of little feet against the metal sides of the cage. That sound is music to my weary, panic-stricken heart.
*coughs* So yeah, that isn’t actually too far from reality. Unfortunately. XD I hope you guys enjoyed laughing at me. I had a lot of fun making fun of myself, lol.
Have a great
peaceful day, friends!