I’ve fallen miserably behind on writing about Ted the rescue Toad here the past few days as in all honesty I’ve been entirely too busy emotionally & mentally beating the crap out of myself about his slow recovery and return to nature and I have lost count of the precise day we are at in the count.
That and this Mercury Retrograde has had its way with me an not in a happy happy joy joy sense but today Mercury turns direct an we can all get on with it already.
Ted is alive.
3 days ago I prepared myself for his death. That was a soulfully painful experience yet here he is alive and feisty again unlike like this past Sunday & Monday.
I’ve realized that what Ted needs is a skin graft as the skin missing on his back wound wants to heal but it’s diameter is too large for it to do so. Which is frustrating as I’ve suffered much worse loss of skin in which my tendons and muscle as well as adipose tissue layers were clearly visible and managed to heal just fine while treating myself at home.
The difference is that amphibians I’ve learned are very fragile and they or Ted breathes through his skin as well as drinks by means of his skin; his belly skin actually making treatments difficult as he’s so adorably soft and squishy putting him at greater risk for injury as he thrashes about during his treatments and feedings.
We only handle him with sterile gloves as I’ve learned how dangerous the oils, lotions and anything really from our skins to his will be to him since his entire body is sponge-like and absorbs everything it comes into contact with…
On a positive note I’ve become smitten with so many things I’ve learned about him in the week since meeting him. I’m smitten with his toad toes and ability to grasp and hold onto any object he so chooses. I haven’t confirmed this yet but I believe he has opposable thumbs or toad thumbs which enable him to grasp onto me or anything he wants with amazing strength and stick-um. He also communicates with me when he doesn’t want me fussing with his mouth by reaching up and brushing my fingers away.
I’m also amazed at his ability to try to put me and Miguel off each time he knows he’s about to be handled again. He puffs up with air in an attempt to look bigger than he is. It doesn’t dissuade us just makes us love him even more as I reach down to gently pick him despite his flexing.
I’ve also learned that during the feeding process he starts puffed up with air but the longer I hold him and Miguel his food source waits patiently for him with the guitar pick strategically placed between his upper and lower jaws at the front of his mouth loaded with the cricket & worm mash that Ted will eventually begin to deflate and exhale his puffed air at right about the 11-16 second mark indicating he will be opening his clamped jaws of steel allowing Miguel to skillfully slide his mash into his mouth. Then Ted swallows and all is right with the world. Again.
Man I could write on Ted for days. One last very cool thing Ted does is that his back legs are powerful beyond belief so as long as I hold him with my middle finger slid between his two back legs & resting on his little toad butt we’re good to go but if he manages to get one or both up onto my hand we’re toast and have to start the positioning all over again as he now gains leverage and can wiggle and squirm away from me.
Back to the wound. Each day as the wound appears to be ever so slightly closing Ted in his non-compliant self manages to undo what was done during his quiet hours of sleep during the night.
Why? Well because Ted is strong willed and in the human world we call this “non-compliant”: A patient who will not go along with the treatment plan & fights it; every step of the way.
In the human world of medicine non-compliant patents are a struggle and beyond frustrating as they are their own worst enemies.
In the non-human world the non-compliant is a bitter-sweet war in that your grateful for the injured rehabilitating creature’s umph & vigor making handling feeding and treating them a chore.
On the flip side you’re more worried and stressed when they lie there lifeless barely able to open their eyes…
Sunday Ted was in the lifeless “Damn! He’s crashing!!!” phase. I realize now what did it to him.
Wound debridement. It had to be done yet it was clearly very painful for him and stressful sending him into his shocky mock-hibernatitive stage.
Humans do it too. Hell I’ve done it too after a surgery or 8 that has left me in more pain that I’d pass out from it but only after taking the prescribed pain medications first.
Ted can’t have the miracle pharmaceuticals that would make his recovery more expedient as when you trick the body into thinking it’s not suffering and in horrific pain it allows the body to heal itself verses expending precious resources and energy managing the pain.
Ted still isn’t eating on his own which doesn’t concern me as much due to the circumstances of his injuries and rehabilitation.
He has been conditioned in the wee few days he’s been living in a domestic verses wild habitat just like Pavlov’s dog.
He’s associated Miguel with food & bodily warmth and me with the labor intensive grueling cleansings, medication applications, bedding & water changes, cold hands and over protective hourly checks with my flashlight and whatever instrument will enable me to view him.
I get it and I don’t take it personally. It’s a great example of good-cop -vs- bad-cop and quite honestly I’ve always played the bad-cop in the majority of life’s experiences to date.
As long as the end game goal is attained I do not care who fills which role.
Ted pooped again sometime last night after 2am when I went to bed and 6:45am when I awoke and immediately checked on him.
This is his second BM in just over a week and an excellent sign. Never underestimate the gift of bodily functions in living creatures as if you pay attention it will give you some of the greatest insight into their health status.
Miss any of them and you’re behind the 8 ball.
I’ve done an immense amount of research online about Toads and made the difficult decision to switch from using the triple antibiotic ointment on his wounds to silver nitrate cream 1% this past Sunday.
Why? Well his back and head wounds smelled and that smell told me that we had to remove the bacteria causing organisms from him if he would ever recover so I did.
It did a beautiful job and maybe even too good of a job as it sloughed off his healthy skin too but just the outer layer leaving it fully intact. I was able to stop the action of the silver by giving him a gentle distilled warm water wash and gentle pat dry but it was the action of the silver that caused him the much pain and discomfort on Sunday & Monday.
A little bit goes a long way was the lesson I learned.
Since I can’t see how it would get Ted the skin transplant we shall continue onward and see how he does after the one treatment with silver we’re back on the triple antibiotic ointment.
Miguel suggested we move him into the house as the garage was so cold and I believe he was spot the hell on as I was concerned about Ted’s freezing body temps despite my best efforts at insulating his habitat.
However inside our house reside 8 creatures; 4 cats & 4 dogs which brings with it much potential danger for Ted.
I’m more concerned with the cats due to their curious mischievous natures actually where they can go from the floor to any other raised service in about a second so Ted’s kicking it in the master bathroom where we leave the door shut and the window slightly cracked allowing for fresh air exchange and some filtered sunlight for him if he wants it.
Plus it’s a good 17 degrees warmer inside and can see the positive change in his energy levels in just the two days he’s been inside.
It makes sense really, digestion, healing and all bodily functions severely slow down in low temperature climates; just like humans.
Before I go I will say that as of last nights feeding I decided to add fresh earthworms into his cricket diet based on my research.
He clearly diggs the addition and I appreciate that on many levels including the fact that we have amazing soil and a readily available supply of them not requiring me to go to the local Petsmart every other day in order to pick then up like I do the crickets.
For now Ted is alive, safe, being cautiously smothered with my natural over-protective qualities and hopefully re-cooperating.