Parrot Blog

Mr. Darcy's Final Day

Hello my dear Parrot Friends. Thank you so very much for your overwhelming show of support. I know it won’t make Mr. Darcy alive again, but it is a comfort to know that he was loved by so many of you.

As you can imagine I am still reeling. It hurts so much. Yet, I cannot fathom a life without him. Any moment I expect to hear his claws clicking on the tile floor as he goes in search of me, to be lifted up by his beak with a big welcoming greeting & hugs & kisses, before he proceeds to go for a nap snuggled against me.

Nevertheless, I did promise you a final poop update to help you and me to get closure in some way, even though I will miss my dear boy for the rest of my life.

If you are a bit squeamish or easily grossed out, you may want to stop reading here. I will be giving you the whole honest recount of the events of yesterday morning. Some of it is not that pretty.

I understand if you will not read it and for those who won’t I want to thank all of you now for taking such a dedicated interest in Mr. Darcy during the many weeks of his illness and for continuing to send us both love, light, prayers & energy. It did and does make a difference.


The Final Poop Update

I suppose the end really started a few days ago when Mr. Darcy kept crawling under my bed. The space there is very tight and confined. It was suggested that he may be reacting to weather conditions and barometric pressure, but my thought was that dying animal seek out hiding places. Because of safety considerations for Mr. Darcy and Lily the Congo African Grey girl who also likes to hide under the bed, I took to confining him to a carrier for the last two nights. At this point he was constantly pooping small amounts of diarrhea so that for sanitary reasons I could not have him in bed. Remember, he had multi-resistant bacteria that are also dangerous to humans. My vet had been preaching to me for a while about not having him so close to me in bed. Also both of us slept there so restlessly and we both needed the rest for our strength.

That evening, I took him into the bathroom with me for a short while while I was filling the bathtub and then by his own wish transferred him to the bedroom perch while I was having my bath. When I entered the bedroom that evening and looked after Little Lottchen who is also ill and also in the bed room, Mr. Darcy immediately reacted to my voice and crawled out from under the bed looking for me like he always did. We had been only separated for half an hour but he always wanted to be with me.
Since I have been on a leave of absence from work for a while we did have the luxury for the last months of spending every waking and most sleeping moments together.

I took him with a fleece rag to protect the bedding into bed with me while I was watching TV and cuddled with him for a while. Then I put him into his carrier for the night.

The next morning I could see that during the night, he had many many squirts of diarrhea but no real poop. I put him on the scale and saw that his weight remained constant from the day before, but his crop had not emptied properly and he was still not defecating. I fed the other fids and him, but he refused to eat or drink. While I was giving him his meds and cuddling him again, he turned his head all of a sudden to face me straight in the eye and gave me “The Look”. I don’t know how else to describe it. Any of you who had animals die with them probably know what I mean. it is a look, a glance, that clearly conveys that they are done with struggling and ready to leave this earth. I have seen it before and recognized it immediately. I selfishly and tearfully begged him to reconsider, told him I loved him and to please, please, please not give up.

As an answer he climbed from the backrest of my chair onto my lap and tucked his head under my right arm in clear solicitation of his tummy and cloaca massage which I gave him frequently to stimulate his intestines. He had gotten again some crusts on his cloaca, which came and went during the whole time he was ill and even before that. I softened them with vaseline as before and carefully picked away at them to make sure the cloaca opening was clear from obstructions. As I massaged, felt around, and kept cleaning him, I noticed his cloaca opening had distended so the I could slip the tip of my forefinger in. I did this very carefully, to see if there was any obstruction there as well. The vet & I had been doing this manoeuvre with a Q-tip on several occasions. Sometimes we were lucky enough to trigger him to defecate.

Well yesterday when I did it with my forefinger, it worked wonders. All of a sudden he let go and a huge amount of poop flew out of him – with it a huge one of those “thingies” that I had told you about on quite a few occasions before. We had not seen any of those for about two weeks and thought that this was a good sign. The lab had determined them to be solidified inflammation slime material with fibrin – a sign that his intestinal lining was battling with something. Thus, no thingies should have meant his intestines were calming down. It turns out this was just the quiet before the storm. The “thingy” that passed was almost the size of the tip of my forefinger as you can see in the image.
final-thingy

I was so glad that the blockage had passed and thought this was really good.

I took him to the kitchen sink for a clean-up and noticed that he seemed somewhat exhausted like after child birth – except that he birthed a “thingy”. After clean-up I put him back on his chair-back where he even ate a bit from the food bowl that I had attached to my chair for him together with his perch. Altogether he seemed a bit tired but doing ok.

I proceeded to clean myself up, rinsed the thingy, took a photo of it to show you guys. Then went back to my computer to get it ready for posting together with my poop update. As I was finalizing the image, Mr. Darcy climbed back onto my lap and presented his butt again for further massage. I thought that maybe not all had come out yet. So I placed another rag over my lap under him, and rubbed his tummy some more. I also went back to manipulating his cloaca which resulted in another huge bowel movement. Altogether he must have excreted at least 200 ml of poop. I took him back to the kitchen sink for clean up. He had really soiled himself on that one so I carefully turned him on his side and then even on his back to gently run some warm water over him. He does normally not like to be turned on his back, but he did not struggle. At the same time I noticed he was fisting his feet. Writing and reading this is taking longer than the seconds it took for this to happen.

I grabbed a towel to dry him with, sat back down at my desk and called my vet whom I luckily was able to reach immediately. She explained that significant volume losses can cause cardio-vascular problems. They see this in egg binding cases a lot and give an infusion before removing the egg to ward off such issues. Needless to say it was too late for this and I had not seen this huge defecation coming. She said, if he was not better in two hours to bring him in for an infusion and to keep him warm without overheating. I told her I had him lying on me so I would notice if the heat lamp got too hot. She replied that body warmth was great.

We hung up and I took him to the sofa with me covering us with a blanket for extra warmth. He seemed content. As I kept stroking Mr. Darcy I noticed that his rump felt colder. So I put my heat-frisbee into the microwave for a few minutes, wrapped it into a towel and placed it between my body and Mr. Darcy for extra warmth. Next his upper body started to get colder too. So I left the sofa and sat with him on my desk-chair where I have an infrared lamp duct-taped to a standing light for him.

I noticed his system crashing so I sprayed a homeopathic remedy (carbo vegetabilis) and Bach flowers (rescue remedy) into his beak. The homeopathic remedy often will revive a collapsed living being. But he reacted to neither. I considered taking him straight in to the vets. But then I paused and reconsidered: He had severely crashed and the vet is about an hours’ drive away. The trip in awfully cold winter weather, being bumped around in his carrier, could be the final straw on his severely compromised cardio-vascular system. There was a very high chance that he would not survive it. And I had to ask myself the question if I wanted him to die alone in his carrier on the way to the vets which he hates or resting on my chest with me holding him and telling him how much I love him. I decided the latter and resolved to take him in for the afternoon office hours, if he had remained stable until then.

Mr. Darcy was still awfully cold in spite of the three heat sources (me, the heat-frisbee and the IR lamp). And then he stretched his legs out behind him with his claws fisted. They were really stiff. After massaging his legs for a bit they loosened enough for me to tuck them back under him and quasi perch him on my hand as he loved to do.

He flapped his wings two times as if he were flying somewhere. Then his moved his tongue around a bit like he does when he tastes some yummy treat. And then softly, softly, like a whisper, I could feel his soul leave his body. It was 11:30 – not even an hour since I hung up with my vet.

The Aftermath

I held Mr. Darcy a little while longer, rocking him and myself and telling him how much I loved him. Then I called my vets and made arrangements to bring him in for an autopsy in the afternoon. I found him a large box, cushioned it with bunched up papers wrapped him in a soft fluffy bath towel and placed him in there. It is hard to explain, but that body is not him. And I really want to know what destroyed my love so beyond healing. It may also be important for my other flock members and maybe even for other parrots whom we may be able to help with that knowledge.

Far harder than giving up his body is to see all over the house little signs of our lives together and his illness. I start crying every time which is pretty much non-stop.

I know that over time the pain will not be quite so devastating. But I also know that I will miss him for the rest of my life. He was an incredibly special bird who chose to give his love and trust to me unreservedly in spite of what humans did to him.

Gratitude

  • I am incredibly grateful for the time we had together, even if it was much too short. My hope had been that we would grow old together. Our three years that we had passed like the blink of an eye.
  • I am also incredibly grateful to Mr. Darcy for the love he gave me and his ultimate loving act of protecting me from having to make that horrible final decision.
  • I am grateful that we could experience his death together the way we did in such a gently loving way. He was special in life and special in the way he chose to die.

Instead of a photo, I am including my favourite video of him:

R.I.P. Mr. Darcy

19?? – January 22, 2013

You were and are deeply loved

Donations in Mr. Darcy’s name may be made via Paypal to my parrot NFP and will be used to cover vet costs and help for Mr. Darcy and other parrots in need.

Donation in Memory of Mr. Darcy

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