I cut down the prosciutto I started curing many months ago and hung in my crawl space. It is the most horrible thing I've ever created, covered in gray-green mold and cracked peppercorns that resemble dead beetles. I've read East of Eden and I know about botulism. I've seen House and I know about trichinosis. What should I do? I am scared of this prosciutto.
On another sad subject, one of our chickens keeled over and died a few weeks ago. My father recommended doing a necropsy to be sure there's no pestilence in the flock, but I did not heed his advice. A couple of days ago another chicken began to look very sickly and became unable to roost. We call this chicken Lydia. She was one of our first chickens and therefore has a name. More recent acquisitions go by: "one of the brown ones" or "the little spotted one."
Anyway, yesterday, concerned about the possibility of an epidemic, I made a terrible mistake: I took Lydia to a pet hospital. Not just a pet hospital, but a "rare and exotic" pet hospital in San Rafael, which is the only place I could find within a 30 minute drive that will see chickens.
Chickens are wonderful, but they are not rare and exotic pets.
It was a little bit tricky, the way this worked. First, I met the glowing and lovely assistant who took notes and called Lydia "sweetheart." Then I met Dr. Bacon, with his beard and chunky class ring, who asked all the same questions his assistant had and unplugged Lydia's pasted vent. (Look it up if you must; it put me in his debt.) He said he wanted to x-ray Lydia and I asked, "So, how much will that cost?" He looked annoyed and said, "I don't have it at my fingertips." Then he went out and sent his office manager in with a treatment plan, prices attached. Just like when you go to buy a car.
The diagnostic and treatment plan recommended for the droopy hen: $662. The biggest line item, of course, was the x-ray.
Look, I like Lydia. She's a fine hen. But $662 is 220 times what I paid for her. I would like to say I smiled tightly and said, are you deranged? That's more than the average Burundian earns in a year!
But I am so easily shamed. I am ashamed of how easily shamed I am. They made me ashamed of not wanting to spend money to fix my chicken, and there were three of them. The business manager did not like it at all when I nixed the x-ray. She sighed and the corners of her mouth turned down and she explained that the vet really needed to see what was going on inside Lydia. I held my tiny bit of ground on that x-ray. Then I committed myself to an obscene amount of money to provide Lydia with antibiotics, fluids, and a blood test.
Driving home I was ashamed of myself. I was ashamed of devoting resources to pumping an Australorp full of fluids. Decadent. Wrong. UGH. Can't think about it. Must put it out of my head now.
In future, I only take livestock to livestock hospitals, even if that means driving to Cotati.
|Found object, 2/10/11.|