Feed on

Simon’s bout with the stomach bug, which began the evening of Matt’s birthday, seems to have ebbed today. Yesterday was a rough day, but it did result in an endearing line. When I went to tuck him into bed, Simon offered me the following advice:

“No good night kiss tonight, Mama. Not on the lips. I might give you my germs, and I don’t want you to get sick.”

How sweet–and knowledgeable–of him.

I seem to be on the road to recovery as well. I ran yesterday, a slow 2-mile jog per my therapist’s orders, and it felt great. In fact, it was really, really hard not to just go one (or two) little miles more. I’ll have to be very careful about when and how I add back miles, but it’s good to know that my calves have healed from their semi-mysterious injury.

Other family health news is not so bright. Phineas died today. Or more accurately, I put Phineas down today. He started looking sick back in late December, when virtually overnight he appeared to bloat on one side. I assumed he was constipated back then, didn’t feed him for four days, then gave him a pea to encourage elimination.

It worked, but Phin still looked bloated. In fact, he might have looked worse. That led me to consider a bacterial infection, which I treated with two rounds of broad spectrum antibiotics and the addition of aquarium salt. He looked a little better for a while, but soon enough was bloated and misshapen worse then ever. I came to think of the poor thing as “the elephant fish.”

At some time in January or early February, I decided it was time to put Phin out of my misery. So I read up on fish euthanasia, bought clove oil to do the trick (it’s a powerful anesthesia in small fish), and went to net him so I could transfer him into a smaller container for the procedure.

My hands were shaking; I’ve never deliberately killed anything before. Phin raged against the dying of the light; he still had a will to live.

At this point, I removed the net, steadied my hands, and called an aquarist to find out when I’d know it was his time. The aquarist guessed that Phineas had tumors instead of an infection and told me that I’d know he felt OK so long as he continued to eat. And so, for the last two months or more, I’ve watched this mishapen fish swim around a bit in his tank. waiting for the day when he wouldn’t or couldn’t come to the surface for a meal.

Today was that day. And you know, it was a totally different feeling today then it was two months ago. For one, Phin looked pitiful just lying on the bottom of his tank. And then, when I netted him, there was no fight at all. I guess we were both ready. The first two drops made him drowsy. The next two put him to sleep. And a few minutes later, the last three stopped his respiratory function.

My hands didn’t shake at all today. I was absolutely sure that putting Phin down was a mercy. Simon is a little sad, but understands that Phineas has been sick and that he’s at peace now. He’s got plans, too.  Next week we’re going to get a new betta fish and a couple of tetras to keep him company. Simon never did like the idea of an only fish. We’re still working on names, but expect some more fin puns. I’m thinking Finn, Finbar, Finegan, and the like.

So goodbye Phineas. Thanks for being our first fish and adding some beauty to Simon’s room. Thanks for teaching me so much about a species I knew nothing about. And thanks for letting me know when you were ready to rest in peace.

One Response to “Family Medical Update: Two on the Mend, RIP Phineas”

  1. Amanda says:

    I’m so sorry, that’s so hard. Condolences to Simon. Glad the rest of you are feeling better.

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