If you’ve been reading for any length of time, you’ll know that I mostly blog about beauty products and style. Rarely does any bit of my personal life make it into this blog–I’m a fairly private person by nature and I think it’s important to separate my personal and my professional lives. But every once in a while, an event so remarkable occurs that it affects everything.
Meet Bob. Bob is a green iguana that I got when he was about the size of his own head. He’s been a member of my family for eleven years, and I love him dearly. On Saturday morning during frantic holiday cleaning, I noticed Bob didn’t look well. He was laying head-first in his water bowl, gulping down mouthful after mouthful. His eyes looked sunken and his scales were greyed. The bowl of collard greens I had given him the night before sat untouched. To coax him into eating, I cut up a banana (his favourite) and some strawberries: he sniffed at them and promptly turned away, when I noticed his back legs appeared to be dragging.
I took him to the vet without a second thought. When the vet felt an irregularity in his abdomen, Bob was swept away for an X-ray. What they found was astonishing.
We couldn’t tell from the image whether the mass was attached to an organ or had caused damage of any kind, so we were unsure of how to proceed. I took the scans to the 24-hour emergency vet and waited to see the exotics specialist.
Luckily, he knew exactly what was wrong: Bob had a massive bladder stone. He was confident it could be removed but we wouldn’t know what sort of damage we would be dealing with until it was out. With teary eyes and a heavy heart I left my scaly green baby at the vet for fluids and antibiotics and waited for news.
I got the call on Sunday afternoon that Bob was out of surgery and doing well. No internal damage was caused and he was expected to make a full recovery. But the doctor couldn’t help but mention how shocked he was by the stone. It filled his entire bladder and was covered in nodules that were likely causing more discomfort than originally suspected. Needless to say, I feel awful that I didn’t notice this sooner. Reptiles notoriously don’t exhibit symptoms until things are very bad, but as a pet owner, it’s hard not to blame yourself for being negligent.
The next day, assured he was doing well and able to return home, I went to pick him up. I was greeted in the lobby by the exotics tech. “Hold out your hand and close your eyes,” he told me. This is what I received:
This grew inside my iguana. From the x-rays, I had anticipated something monstrous but this was beyond anything I had imagined. It was dense, irregularly shaped, and shockingly heavy. The animal hospital regularly removes bladder stones from all animals, many far larger than my (relatively small) iguana, but this was the largest stone they had ever removed. Some of the nodules are as big as stones removed from cats and dogs.
In case you thought my hands were just really small, here is the stone next to a quarter. It weighed in at around a third of a pound. While I had asked to keep the stone for my collection of odd and slightly morbid things, the staff had hoped to add it to their Museum of Things Retrieved from Animals. When I saw their jar of bladder stones, I felt an odd swell of pride knowing that Bob would go down in history as the Little Lizard with the Big Stone and donated it to their exhibit. The tech said Bob would get his picture on the wall next to it and promised to e-mail me the shot the doctor had taken after surgery.
Bob is home now, and while he’s still lethargic from the anesthesia (reptilian metabolism is so slow that it can remain in the system for days), he’s all ready looking better. His back legs seem stronger than ever, and he’s moving with more agility than I’ve seen in a very long time.
Needless to say, this is why I have not written about lipstick or clothing or shoes or any of my regular material these last few days. I’ll be back to my regular posting schedule shortly. Thanks for understanding.