Friday, June 4, 2010

Cause and Effect

We’ve had some recent excitement at our house. There was a gas leak and Pacific Gas & Electric had trucks out front late into the night. At one point I woke up and could hear them still drilling into the street to stop the leak. I could definitely smell gas. Expressions like “Shelter in Place” and “Evacuation” crept into my sleepy thoughts. We awoke to a bright, sunny morning and no large trucks were blocking the driveway. I told Eric I’d had thoughts of being forced to flee from the gas in our bathrobes, carrying our finch, Coco Chanel, in his huge cage. We laughed at the image, but then I realized Coco was not singing his usual morning songs. I went downstairs to get second cups of coffee and checked on him.

Coco was in severe distress. He was slipping off the top of his house and dangling between it and the side of the cage. His little heart was pumping wildly and he slumped forward closing his eyes. I called for Eric with such fear that I woke Allie up. There was still a lingering gas odor. Eric had the presence of mind to take Coco’s cage upstairs and put it by an open window. He perked up and let out a couple little cheeps. His heart rate seemed slower and he opened his tiny eyes. Oh, thank god, Coco was starting to revive in the fresh air. Breathe. Exhale.

Order restored, we let ourselves think about the gas and PG&E and how thankful we were that they repaired the gas line, but became disgruntled that so much gas was released in the process. There had to have been a mistake and if there was, why weren’t we notified so we could be safe? We decided to call PG & E and inform them that they had almost killed our precious bird. Before that plan could come to fruition we checked on the little guy again.

Coco was NOT fine. We realized he was stuck to the top of his house because his ankle band had a twig jammed into it and he couldn’t move. Commence Operation ROF (rescue our finch) number two. Since the bird is less afraid of me, Eric determined I should put my hand in the cage and gently slide him off the twig. A finch is not a parakeet. They’re so tiny and you can’t just hold them. I thought we should get help. I wanted to take him to Wild Care, the bird rescue professionals so they could give a mini tranquilizer dart and unhook the poor little guy. Eric scoffed at that idea and insisted that we do the rescue.

Wearing white cotton gloves, I reached in and tried to put my hand around him. Panicking and fluttering like crazy, he bit the glove and would not unclench. I freaked out, so afraid that I’d hurt him and snap his leg off. It may have to do with the time I was trimming the fur on Lucy’s bunny, Flopsy, and cut her tail. Talk about sickening. We rushed her to the vet where they applied special bone healing glue. I couldn’t stomach the bird rescue, so Eric took over, once Coco unclenched the glove and I could get my hand out of the cage. Somehow, Eric freed him with tweezers and Coco could fly once again.

No longer a victim of gas poisoning, our erstwhile canary in a coal mine had created his own fate. He hasn’t been this naughty since he escaped when I cleaned his cage and it took me six hours (and Lana’s help AND the purchase of a fish net) to catch him. How can a little creature get into so much mischief? In fifteen years my other finches never did anything but eat, cheep, sleep and keel over. Not Coco. He has to keep things exciting. The drama prompted some introspection on cause and effect. What are the chances that the bird would be stuck at the same time as the leak? We were so sure he’d been gassed but it was utterly unrelated to his condition. What else are we assuming that may be untrue?