December 19th, 2006

[ waldo ]

princess fiona

After MK left for the airport this weekend the responsibility of caring for Fiona was left with me. She didn't seem very energetic on Sunday, and while hamsters are generally crepescular (most active at dawn and dusk) it seemed a stretch that she would want to sleep all day long when she had been climbing upside from the roof of her cage just a couple days before. I had moved her cage into my bedroom that morning in the hope that the extra activity would keep her from feeling lonely, but soon began worrying that she might not like her new surroundings. I moved Fiona back into the other bedroom and called MK the next morning from work to let her know about the situation and offer to bring her hamster to the vet clinic as soon as my shift was over.

After talking things over we decided to wait one more day - to see if she would get better on her own - but she died before I made it home that afternoon. My first worry was that it had been all my fault, followed by confusion over how to describe what had happened to MK. Fiona was a birthday present, and now she's not around anymore. I feel like I really let down my flatmate.

We spent some time on the phone together, and one of MK's friends was also involved in going over what could have gone wrong. The two causes we thought might explain Fiona's mysterious death were either if she had caught a virus or bacteria of some sort that she wasn't able to recover from, or possibly that she'd had a hyperglycemic reaction as a result of diabetes. Diabetes is fairly common in hamsters (especially Campbell's Russian dwarfs like Fiona) and is symptomized by loss of weight and drinking in excess - two things that MK had commented on earlier in the week. While it should make me feel better to know that it wasn't actually my fault, the reality is that I still feel guilty.

During work yesterday I began picking at my fingernails as a reaction to feeling nervous; by the time I stopped three of them were torn down as far as they would go and my fingers were bleeding from four different spots. Fiona had drawn blood once more - even at the end. I miss her already. I'm sorry, MK.