Les Mis

You know you get an earworm sometimes?  At the moment, mine is the finale song from Les Miserables, and the rousing chorus goes something like this…(apologies if this gets into your head too).

“Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes.”

It’s giving me some focus that we will battle through this and we will come out the other side.  If you enjoy reading, I would thoroughly recommend the book Les Miserables. It’s the best book I’ve ever read by a country mile. If you’ve seen the show/film, there is so much more richness, so many sub-plots, things that join other characters together that you just don’t get in the production.  If you haven’t seen the show/film and don’t know the main storyline, read the book before you do that, as there are twists and surprises that come across much better in writing.  I will warn you, it’s slow to get going.  By the time you’ve got to the end of the very, very lengthy normal-book-length description about the priest and his sisters, you’ll probably want to gouge your eyes out with spoons.  But stick with it, and soon after that it becomes completely gripping, and you won’t be able to put it down. Promise.

I digress.  You may have noticed that I was feeling somewhat despairing yesterday and wondering whether I’m doing the right thing by keeping her going.  It may have been mentioned to me once or twice in the past that when I get over tired, I have a tendency to blow things out of proportion and catastrophize, if that’s even a word.   Delilahcam today showed that as well as the laboured breathing, she was breathing excessively quickly, so I came home early to check on her.  I quickly discovered that she had managed to ‘glue’ both her eyes shut with goo (technical term) and the excess speed was probably more stress related than actual respiratory distress.  She is not a good or compliant patient for me at home, especially when what needs doing is quite detailed.  Fortunately she is a good traveller, so I took her over to my vets for some help cleaning her up.  She munched parsley in the carrier on the way there, so I know she’s dealing with the whole situation ok (better than I am).

Anyway, it was cheering that I saw a newly qualified vet today who had only started at the practice on Monday, and who had her baptism of fire by being given Delilah to look after then.  My usual vet came to have a look at her and a quick chat, but was still seeing other rabbits this evening so didn’t want to get too involved with her cleaning.  It really cheered me when the vet who had seen her Monday said ‘oh she’s looking so much better’.  I really hadn’t thought she was any better, and if anything worse, so that cheered me up no end.  She was cleaned up nicely (she still put up a hell of a fight and tried to bite the vet a number of times) and her breathing was much better after.  In fact when I got her home, for the first time in several days, I couldn’t tell where she was in the room because I couldn’t hear her.  She is still breathing with far more effort than would be normal, but it does at least sound as if her airways are clearer.   I said to the vet that it was so distressing to see her struggling for every breath and I wondered how long they could go on like that, and she said ‘bulldogs manage it for an entire lifetime’.  Ok, so bulldogs aren’t obligate nasal breathers like rabbits, but it was a point well made I thought, and helped bring some perspective.  It also made me think that she’s going to be a vet who has a really good grounding in welfare and who will therefore understand where I’m coming from when I no doubt see her in the future.

So, we are back home now. Delilah has had her evening medicine and is now having a bit of time running around the bedroom.  I’m sat downstairs typing this and I can hear her clumping about up there, so I know that she is indeed moving around and not sat moribund in a corner.  This gives me more encouragement that she doesn’t feel as bad as she looks or that her breathing suggests, as she clearly has the oxygen and energy to have a wander.  Her body condition has decreased rapidly over the past few days, so she’s been getting all sorts of treats that she wouldn’t normally get – mainly fruit, and I’m about to try her with a little porridge oats soaked in water. As a general rule, I wouldn’t try and ‘fatten up’ a rabbit without knowing what the problem is first, as you could end up masking something else, but in her case we know the issue and just need to ensure that she keeps her energy and reserves at a reasonable level.  I’ve also ordered some pureed fruit baby foods to arrive with the shopping tomorrow.  Having read other people’s experiences, I know they can get fed up and stop eating when the scabs around the mouth get very sore, so I thought having something liquidy and tempting might be a good thing to have to hand at that point.  At about 75p each, it seemed sensible to buy several; there comes a point where you’ve spent so much money that another few pounds won’t make much difference 🙂

I feel a bit scared now about having typed a reasonably optimistic post.  I’m worried that it’s all going to turn and go downhill again, as I know can be the case. But I’ll deal with that if/when it happens.  For now I’m going to cling on to a little bit of hope that she is ok at the moment and is probably enjoying having a clearer nose.  And strawberries.

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