August 7, 2007

Bunnies, Chinchillas and Hamsters Oh My!

Very good friends hired our boys, 13 and 14, to take care of their miscellaneous rodent based pets, while they were on vacation. We are talking hamsters, bunnies, chinchillas etc.

A day or two goes smoothly with the boys when the younger of the boys (the diabetic) discovers “Nibbles” has made a break for it. Apparently Nibbles escaped via a poor connection between the cage and a climbing tube in the hamster habitat.

Nibbles is the pet of our younger daughters bestest - friend - in - the - whole - wide - world. I have been fending off “I want a hamster too,” request since, the apparently very cute, Nibbles first showed up. How you can tell a hamster is cute? I don’t know. They all look fairly rodent like to me. I am sure would look and taste rodent like so to our dogs; dumber and dumbest.

No hamsters in my house!

However, in deference to Delaney’s feelings about the cute rat like creature we kept the word of the escape on the QT. After a night of looking and Googling 'how to catch a wayward hamster' on the internet (put food in a bucket and build stairs out of books. The hamster climbs the books and gets trapped in the bucket with the food.) We came to the realization it was time to call and report the escape.

Our friends took it well and their brain trust suggested that missing hamsters are most active between 6 and 8 pm. (Apparently the hamsters make a break for it in their household on a semi regular basis.) So we sent out another search party to check the buckets and listen for the little scurry of furry feet.

Shortly after the boys left I got a very excited call, “Dad we found Nibbles. She is stuck in a wall. We can hear her but can’t get her out. We need help.”

So with visions of taking a dry wall saw to our friends' beautiful house, I headed over. Sure enough we could hear and eventually see Nibbles. She had fallen down an open stud bay between two walls and was trapped 5 feet down. We tossed down a small piece of apple figuring it would keep her around, aka keep her from dying of starvation, while we worked out a rescue plan.

It turned out to be plans.

I suggested using a shop vac tube for her to climb out. That didn’t work.

We only briefly considered a huge wad of duck tape on a stick. Right up to: How do we get it off the tape if it works?

The older boy found a butterfly net. It was too short but a better idea. With an extension handle and piece of apple in the net it was looking positive. The net bunched up in the wall and so it didn’t extract the rodent. The rat like creature reached in and grabbed the food but skipped the ride up in the net. Bait and a means of catching the hamster it seemed was the way to go. I was beginning to wonder how much one of these little thing eats.

Mom found a small square plastic jug that had previously held construction staples. She suggested it be fit with two strings. One string tied at the bottom to allow it to be lowered on its side and one at the top to pull it upright and up. Into this went hamster snacks. With this and some patience, not a 13 year old by’s strong suit, Nibbles was extracted, thirsty but other wise OK.

So what does this have to do with diabetes? Nothing and in that nothingness, everything. While Nibbles was AWOL Connor was more worried about it than anything else, yeah he checked his blood and did his stuff but he was worried about a hamster, his charge, pet to his little sister’s friend and a key part of some disposable income. What that tell you?

He is a normal kid. When the chips were down he and his brother worked well as a team. Nice to be reminded that every now and again.

The diabetic kids isn’t an ongoing string of BG number, only as good as the most recent A1c. The non diabetic is a key part of the team.

It is important to see our kids as kids first and foremost. Sometimes hamster can help you see that.

1 comment :

  1. What a cute story! I want to thank you also. I really needed this reminder today that my daughter is not just bg's and boluses.