Oh dear!  It’s that time of year again.  It is lovely to wake up after my hibernation, to meet my best friend Ben again and to look forward to another long summer but already I can feel my hormones racing and know I am going to have egg trouble again.  I always have problems.

I usually have to go to the Vets where I am placed in warm water and not long after I lay my eggs.  One year the shells were broken and that was very uncomfortable and I had to have medicine to make me feel better.  I do not like that because my owners have to prise my beak open to get the medicine in and I panic because I do not know what is happening so I pull my head into my neck and shut my mouth tight. 

This year, though, I feel things are not right as I feel so full up and I cannot eat. I desperately want to lay these eggs but nothing happens and I really feel unwell.  I know my owners were concerned about me so we went to the Vets to see Louise, who lucky for me joined the practice as a Reptile Specialist.  

I had my usual X-ray and it showed there were four eggs and two shadows.  I came home and within a few days I laid four eggs and two broken ones.  Usually I am fine afterwards, and after a couple of days I have my appetite back and enjoy the rest of the summer.  This time it did not feel right.  I couldn’t eat as I still felt so full and I really didn’t feel well. 

Back to Louise and another X-ray although it did not show any more eggs and by this time Louise was getting very concerned and with her good insight I was referred to a Reptile Specialist from Bristol Zoo who visited the Highcroft Veterinary Referrals Clinic every Monday so off we went to see her.  It was a long journey but I just settled down in my bed and went to sleep.

HIGHCROFT

I woke up as I was lifted from my bed to see my special vet, Michelle.  There was a lot of chatting going on and apparently I was to have a Cat Scan, wait for the results of my blood test and a decision would be made to solve my problem.  My owners were sad to leave me but knew I was in good hands.  Everything is rather a blur from then on but I felt myself going into a nice sleep and I thought it must be time to hibernate again.

I can hear voices and they sound like my owners.  I was nice and warm in my bed but I needed to see them and as soon as I was lifted on to the  table I made a bee-line for them and they were as pleased to see me as I was to see them.  They were excited and kept saying “Sheila, are you o.k., it’s so good to see you,”  and a lot of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as I had a feeding tube from my neck, taped across my back and a patch under my tummy. 

Sheila's hysterectomyApparently I had had a Hysterectomy (whatever that is) as my tummy was full of eggs that I couldn’t pass and without this procedure I would have been very ill, explained Michelle.  My owners asked how it had been done and I was quite intrigued myself to know so I thought this should be interesting.  They used a small rotary saw to cut through the shell (I nearly fell off the table at this point) but it is very clever because it automatically stops when it reaches the membrane.  They then remove this section of the shell which allows them access to perform the procedure.  The section of shell is replaced and is cemented back in place round the edges. Eventually I will grow a new shell underneath this patch. So this is what happened to me and why my tummy feels strange.   

Another Reptile Vet called Sonia introduced herself to my owners and she had assisted Michelle with my operation and she explained all about my aftercare when I got home.  We came out with two bags of ‘goodies’, medicine, food, etc, and I was tucked up in my bed again and we came home.

Sheila and Ben

It is now convalescent time and it was so nice to be in my garden again and to see Ben who slowly rushed up to see me to make sure I was alright.  I was telling him all about my operation.

Oscar checks to see if Sheila is alright after her operationMy next visitor to welcome me back was Oscar pussycat who was also pleased to see me as he knew at mealtimes he could share (or should that be pinch) my fruit and veg.   I have to have my medicine through my feeding tube, and also my breakfast and water so it is easy for my owners but what I do not like are the injections in my back legs.  These are to help me heal but it is sore and we go to Louise to have these done.  Apparently I have the last one soon and the feeding tube comes out at the same time so I can then say for all the trauma it has been worthwhile.  I have my appetite back, I am grazing on the grass and I feel fine. 

If it hadn’t been for the forethought of Louise and the determination by her to find out what was wrong with me and her referral to Bristol and the excellent care taken of me by Michelle and Sonia this could have been a different story.

One thing I am intrigued about -  apparently I am not allowed to hibernate this winter as the healing process takes a very long time so this should be fun as my owners have to keep me awake all winter  -  Watch this space!

You might also like to read about the unlikely friendship between Sheila, Ben and Sid

A Morning Kiss

A morning kiss, a discreet touch of his nose landing somewhere on the middle of my face.
Because his long white whiskers tickled, I began every day laughing.

Janet F Faure

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