My birthday got off to quite a calamitous start. Friday night, I came home from my small group meeting, and promptly took Matilde the chinchilla out to play. As I was lying on the bedroom floor, engrossed in (of all things) National Geographic magazine, I lost sight of her for a moment. The next thing I knew, I heard a thump and a strange whine; Matilde had chewed through the electrical cord for the clock radio by our bedside and had shocked herself badly. She was lying limp on the floor, still connected to the cord, and I had to gently pry her teeth away from the wires (receiving a nasty shock myself). At first, she was barely breathing, but within minutes, as I caressed her desperately, Matilde (or Matty, as we like to call her) began very gingerly to move herself.
My girlfriend was still out, and so I bundled my poor chin into a paper grocery sack (we don't have a carrier for her), and raced off to the pet hospital (after calling three places to find a vet on duty at that hour who knew something about chinchillas). By the time we got down to South Pasadena and the medical center, Matilde was furiously trying to climb out of the sack, which I took as an excellent sign. My girlfriend arrived not long thereafter, and we were both able to meet with the vet and receive some reassurance. Midnight and the start of my 38th year of life found us sitting in front of Matilde's oxygen tank (a necessary step after electrocution, apparently), trying to comfort her and each other.
Matilde came home on Saturday, and is still quite weak and a bit groggy. She has flashes of playfulness, but tires easily. She is eating very little, and we are worried that we may have to take her back into the hospital if she doesn't come back on her food soon. We also are forced to give her medication several times a day, and she loathes the process.
It was an anxious weekend, and I am still more than a little stressed at the start of the week. If I get this frantic about a chinchilla, I can only imagine how I will respond to a child! In any event, lots of grading to do this week -- it's our last full week of classes, and thus blogging may indeed be light.