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  1. #1
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Health & Other Issues and properly caring for reptiles right now.....

    Fellow BP.net members,

    I wanted to share an honest and heartfelt post with you.

    I am struggling to meet my standards of care of my reptiles right now. Everyone has fresh water and clean tanks (currently), but I am spending very little time with the reptiles right now (more my issue than an issue for them, I know) and haven't fed the snakes in about a month. They are all fine and I know that no one is ill or worse for the wear and that an occasional short fast can be good for all (even the corn snakes - who both shed and would have missed at least 1 feeding time anyway - they eat every two weeks).

    Katie (my wife) has been sick for 3 weeks and we are still trying to figure out what's going on. She has been out of work the majority of that time as well. They think (they being Yale here in CT) that anything life threatening has been ruled out, but she is having serious issues non the less. She got significantly better and then regressed greatly the past few days. She, unlike me, is not used to being sick and is struggling with the whole situation. I am trying to be there for her, and also taking her to tests and to doctors, an average of 3-4 times a week the past 3 weeks.

    On top of that, as many of you know, we lost our sweet dog, Bailey, last week and Cleo, the LG, 3 weeks before that.

    I have my own health issues having had a kidney transplant, being immune suppressed, and having multiple other health issues, many related to the transplant and the medication I have to take to keep me from rejecting the kidney. Some of these issues have gotten worse over the past year or two.

    All of this is weighing on me mentally and physically. I am falling asleep early most nights and sleeping late and/or getting up to take Katie to doctors. I feel overwhelmed right now by work and basic chores. As much as I love the reptiles, and usually get motivated to spend time with them and care for them, it feels like too much right now and I am lacking in motivation and energy. Even if I make it down to the reptile area most days, I don't have the energy some days to do even the most basic maintenance (like clean a tank). So, and again, not the end of the world, I've gone up to 2 days with dirty tanks and often get overwhelmed easily and struggle to get everything I need done. I have barely handled the reptiles for fun in the past month and although I do not resent them at all, I feel that I am unable to care for them as I would like to.

    I know this will pass and I will get back on track. When that is, I am not sure. I plan to feed the snakes tomorrow and the lizards have pretty much been on schedule on eating give or take a day or two here and there. Most eat every other day or in Ezzy (Leachie) and Frank's (BTS) case, 2X a week.

    I also have barely been on the forum and haven't posted much over the past month either. I love the forum, but if I have to choose between caring for my family (reptiles included) or spending time posting, I have to choose my family.

    I wanted to share all this for two reasons. First, I hope others have some thoughts on helping me get back in the game. Regardless, writing this has been cathartic. Secondly, I want others to know that life can get in the way sometimes and especially if you have established animals and proper heating elements with thermostats and check temps regularly, reptiles are pretty tough. Having said that, keeping up on maintenance and feeding is important because if life throws you a curve ball, you are on top of things to start and can have a little flexibility.

    Thank you to any and all who read this and especially for those who are able to comment.

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  3. #2
    BPnet Senior Member EL-Ziggy's Avatar
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    Re: Health & Other Issues and properly caring for reptiles right now.....

    Brother Dave,
    First and foremost I want to wish you and Katie good health and wellness. I know firsthand how being ill sucks and can effect other areas of life, including the care of our pets. When I had surgery a few years ago I needed my family to change the critters water for about 6 weeks while I was recovering in the hospital and then at home. I didnít have the energy or mobility to do much of anything. None of the snakes ate during that time. Granted, it was during the winter so they were used to eating less often. Snakes are very resilient animals and thankfully donít require a lot of maintenance. As long as they have fresh water they can go without food for awhile and unlike cats and dogs our snakes donít miss our company or need as much interaction with us. Keep your focus on getting better. If even the basic care is too much perhaps you could have a friend help with changing water and spot cleaning until youíre back at full strength which will hopefully be really soon. Iím praying for yíall.
    3.2 Carpet Pythons, 1.1 Bullsnakes
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  5. #3
    BPnet Senior Member GoingPostal's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry to hear about Katie's health issues, especially being a mystery makes it so much harder, I hope she can get some answers and treatment soon. It is good that snakes don't mind if we ignore them but I know how you feel, not having the time or energy to deal with them at all makes you feel pretty cruddy as a pet owner when you are used to doing more. Maybe one thing you could do is switch to disposable or cheap reusable water dishes, so you can worry about washing them at a different time but giving fresh water would be quicker. Also if you have an extra cage or tote, set it up so you can throw a snake in there for a day until you can clean a dirty cage, that way the snake is clean and you can deal with it later without worry. Set it up nice and you can consider it enrichment to boot. An extended fast for the snakes is no biggie even when it feels like forever to us and on the plus side, less waste is less work for you at this time. This too shall pass, hopefully sooner rather than later, you two will be in my thoughts.

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  7. #4
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Health & Other Issues and properly caring for reptiles right now.....

    Thank you EL-Ziggy!

    Yeah, good on water. Also, I have a friend a couple of hours away, who is also a forum member, and he has offered to drive out and help for a day and help feed and get me back in the groove. I might take him on that offer.

    Additionally, although not willing to get down and dirty with cleaning, my mom, who is about an hour and a half away, will sometimes come up to visit and sit with me while I clean. The company helps and she is happy to hold all the critters while I clean and water, etc.

    Maybe a good plan the next week or two is to have my buddy come up and help feed and then ask my mother to visit next week and sit with me to clean cages, etc.

    Part of the issue with the feeding is when I am completely wiped and exhausted and need to sleep, trying to feed the snakes worries me. I don't want to forget to lock a tank, or get bit, etc. When I am sick and tired, I am prone to mistakes. Having a second set of eyes will really help.

    Normally, Katie will check the locks and sit with me when I don't feel well, but she doesn't feel well either, so I cannot ask her now.

    I'll keep everyone posted.

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  9. #5
    BPnet Veteran Lord Sorril's Avatar
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    Re: Health & Other Issues and properly caring for reptiles right now.....

    I've been watching this forum for a while. Your reptiles are in good hands even -/+ a kidney. I'm certain your dedication will spur you to make the right choices for your reptiles.

    As for Katie, I hope she gets better soon! Hopefully this isn't a long-term thing. My own life partner struggles with a genetic condition that went undiagnosed for a long period of time and hit her like a freight train years ago, she does her best to manage it, but, it is a game changer in the course of her life. I tell her all the time that careers and material things aren't important in the scheme of things--quality of life, having fun, and making good memories is where it is at...sometimes she believes me.
    *.* TNTC

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  11. #6
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Health & Other Issues and properly caring for reptiles right now.....

    GoingPostal,

    Thank you for the kind words.

    I'll keep everyone posted on health issues.

    I know the reptiles are okay. However, you are dead on, I feel badly as a reptile keeper more than they are suffering at all.

    Maybe I need to relax and let it go a little and focus on what I need to right now; Katie's health and my health. I am keeping the water fresh and will feed this week one way or another - maybe with a friends help.

    I think part of the issue is being out of the habit/pattern. Normally, 5-6 days a week minimum, I am doing something in the reptile area, and 7 days a week am I checking the status of everything. With all the appointments, being exhausted, and caring for Katie, I am not getting up in the morning and checking on the reptiles like I normally do and either cleaning then, or setting a time to do it later. Part of the issue with the feeding is I feed at night when the lights go out - about 9PM, and lately, I am either asleep or need to be at that point.

    Thank you again.

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  13. #7
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Health & Other Issues and properly caring for reptiles right now.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Sorril View Post
    I've been watching this forum for a while. Your reptiles are in good hands even -/+ a kidney. I'm certain your dedication will spur you to make the right choices for your reptiles.

    As for Katie, I hope she gets better soon! Hopefully this isn't a long-term thing. My own life partner struggles with a genetic condition that went undiagnosed for a long period of time and hit her like a freight train years ago, she does her best to manage it, but, it is a game changer in the course of her life. I tell her all the time that careers and material things aren't important in the scheme of things--quality of life, having fun, and making good memories is where it is at...sometimes she believes me.
    Thank you. I hope your partner is managing as best she can, as are you.

    I really do appreciate your kind words and I know that I probably take better care than many of my reptiles, and my care is more than adequate, even when I am not feeling well.

    I think this is really hard on Katie. She's never missed more than 3 days of work except for vacation. She's been out almost 3 weeks. My kidneys started failing when I was 23 and I almost died. I am used to being sick and in pain and/or discomfort. I don't ignore things, but I also tend to take issues in stride and have catered my life and job around knowing I have issues. This is new territory for Katie. My job, aside from being chauffeur and a second set of eyes and ears with the doctors, is keeping Katie resting. She is having to learn to let things go, balance, and let me do what I can. If I cannot, that's life right now. Hard adjustment for her.

    Thank you again.

  14. #8
    BPnet Veteran richardhind1972's Avatar
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    Re: Health & Other Issues and properly caring for reptiles right now.....

    Sorry to hear Katies regressed in her health Dave especially if your not feeling good in your self either.
    at least the reptiles except for fresh water can cope fine with there feeding schedules, like you say not like a cat or dog that need feeding daily and other daily routines
    It's always strange when your not around on the forum and can't wait to see updates of your collection.
    All the best to you and your family matefingers crossed they get Katie diagnosed and on the mend

    Sent from my ELS-NX9 using Tapatalk

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  16. #9
    BPnet Senior Member jmcrook's Avatar
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    Re: Health & Other Issues and properly caring for reptiles right now.....

    Iíd been thinking about you recently when I noticed you hadnít been posting. I hope you get things figured out with you and Katieís health issues soon. If I were in the area Iíd be over in a jiffy to help out with the critters when needed. Good luck and keep your chin up brother! When youíre in the middle of the storm it can be rough, but this too shall pass


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  18. #10
    Registered User Hugsplox's Avatar
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    Re: Health & Other Issues and properly caring for reptiles right now.....

    Really sorry to hear about you and Katie having troubles Dave. You've always been one of the users here that I always look forward to seeing post, and I figured that the loss of Bailey and Cleo was weighing heavily on you, but hoped that was all. Unfortunately, the most I can do is send well wishes to you and your family with the sincere hope that things start to normalize for you guys soon.

    I've struggled with making myself take care of tasks myself at times. Dealing with what I would consider very minor mental health issues, and a two year old who's busy being a two year old lol, sometimes I just don't feel like coming in the reptile room and cleaning. I've never let it get out of control, but my weekly cleaning day will roll around and me having had a rough week just don't want to do it. Those little humps are rare, but they were happening enough to the point I felt I had maybe taken on too much animal-wise. I've actually spoken to a close friend multiple times who breeds hognose snakes and discussed re-homing my two, but always backed down from that idea once the moment passes.

    Point is, you're not alone. Stuff comes up and sometimes we have to, not lower our standards, but understand that we have to prioritize other things. I have no doubt that you're still taking excellent care of your animals even while taking a step back to take care of your human family. Just be sure you're making some time for yourself too, which I know is hard considering how focused you are on getting Katie better and taking care of things around the house, but just don't forget that you need some time for your own physical and mental health as well.

    Anyway! It's good to hear from you, here if you need a chat, and wishing you and yours the best.

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