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Saturday, August 13, 2011

RIP: Noodles "Odin" Duke

Yesterday was a shit day, to put it bluntly.  Most of you know that one of my leopard geckos has been suffering from an eye infection for a long time (the better part of three years, if not longer).  He's been to the veterinarian so many times since I moved to Gainesville that almost everyone at the office knows me, if not by name, then at least by face or through Noodles.  A couple weeks ago, things took a turn for the semi-worst and he had to have his eye removed.  The surgery seemed to make things better.  The scar was healing well enough, the bad eye was gone, and he started becoming a little more active after he went off the pain meds.

Then things went south, and fast.  Earlier in the week, he had several muscle tremors -- tail twitches and lower body convulsions.  I took him to the vet, they weren't sure what was going on because he didn't display the twitching there, and I went home with the order to watch for more activity and to record everything if I could.  Then on Friday (yesterday) morning, he had a massive seizure (or something that looked like it).  His tail and head went back and forth
uncontrollably.  His mouth was open, either in pain or because he also couldn't control the motion.  And then it stopped and he seemed to lose strength in his body, much like people with seizures sometimes lose strength or control in parts of their body.

The event made clear to me that he wasn't going to make it.  Late Friday morning, after my vet had looked him over and come to the same teary-eyed conclusion, I had Noodles put to rest.

Needless to say, Friday was one of the worst days I've ever had.  I've been through so much with Noodles. I don't care that he's "just a lizard."  He was one of the best damned lizards to ever live.  I've had him since he was a little tyke and everyone who knew him thought he was the cutest, sweetest little lizard they ever knew.  I've spent several hundred dollars on medications, thousands on medical bills, and hours and hours of my time.  I've put off vacations.  I haven't seen most of my family in two years, because I always needed someone who could administer his medications (sometimes as many as five medications at once).

And after all of that, it doesn't seem fair that he couldn't have five more years of healthy life.  He never did anything wrong.  He was sweet and wonderful and the best anyone could ask for in a lizard.  And he went through hell with eye infections and medications and me poking and prodding to get him to take meds and food and what not.

I think it's all really hitting me now because I've lost so many leopard geckos in the last two years:  Little Buddy, Angel, Sweetie, Taj, Herbert, and now Noodles.  Six leopard geckos.  Six friends.  And worst of all, six the sweetest little geckos I've known, most of them I raised either from the egg or from a few months after hatching.  It's not easy being so involved in a pet's life and then losing them.  And it's not easy losing Noodles, because he's the only gecko I still have with me who has been with me since I began keeping lizards in my house.  My mother begged me to keep Mellie with her in Oregon (my first leopard gecko) and she also stole my bearded dragon (I say that jokingly, because really Che Che has the best life a beardie could ask for, since my mother and her partner have built him a personal garden).

And, of course, I've just been through so much with Noodles.  He was a great lizard and a great friend. Now he's gone...

In case you all want to know what he looked like, here you go (after the fold):

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