Sunday, 4 March 2007

I eep therefore I pee

I croon at Oxley Jo a bit to settle her. I notice that she's started to pee, whether out of nervousness or simple koala casualness: I need to pee, therefore I pee.

Ocean Therese & Sam
From koalawrangler's gallery.
Jim and I arrive at the same time so Peter sends us both up to do yard 10. He tells us he's "read" the leaf. We both miss what he's said at first; I keep thinking "red", what's red? Oh, read.

I like it in yard 10; there's none of the cramped confines of ICU or the aviaries and it's in the open air. Most of these koalas are favourites of mine too since they were in ICU when I started volunteering here. I've seen them moved out to aviaries and then the yards. Some of them are on the final treatment round before release, like Macquarie Peter whom they set free yesterday. Links Lorna and Warrego Martin have both been taken off their treatment (so no more jabs or formula). The vets will monitor their blood for a while, and if all's well, they'll be released.

We decide that Jim will take Lorna, Martin & Tom; I'll take Ocean Therese, Tractive Golfer and Oxley Jo. Jim goes off to feed Tozer Tom. Golfer is up his tree as is Therese; however, she comes at the sign of food. Today she feeds like a baby; I can hear her gulping down the milk like from a bottle. I wonder if I should pick her up and burp her afterwards. She'd probably let me. She's sitting there so beatifically, her arms wrapped around the tree with such complacency, that I decide to take a few pics of the two of us. She doesn't mind my getting close to her; she's probably the only koala that will allow it. Nothing seems to faze her. Jim takes a pic of the two of us and soon after that Therese heads back up the tree to find a comfy spot to settle in. Photo shoot over.

Oxley Jo
From koalawrangler's gallery.
In Jo's yard, she looks at me earnestly as she always does. I need to throw out the leaf from her recycled pot and replenish that with the good leaf from the two newer pots. She's under the middle one so I go to take the recycled one to her right, but she makes a few little eepy protests. I croon at her a bit to settle her. I notice that she's started to pee, whether out of nervousness or simple koala casualness: I need to pee, therefore I pee. I keep away from her while I rake her yard and replace the recycled leaf pot. It is so overflowing with fluffy leaf that her gunyah is positively festooned in greenery. That should tide her over till the fresh stuff arrives.

After I've done my yards, I go and see what's doing elsewhere. I decide to wash up the used formula pots. I notice from the whiteboards that there's a new admission from yesterday: Golf Starr. He was found sitting low in a tree suffering lethargy. I wonder what causes this? Dehydration? Lack of good leaf?

Swapping between yards is not encouraged due to the risk of cross-contamination, but the leaf hasn't arrived and there are units to be cleaned. Melaleuca Alfie is in the treatment room. They must have taken him out to feed him and now they're waiting for his unit to be ready to return him to it. He's getting a bit restless.

Sandflye Jye
Sandfly Jye
From koalawrangler's gallery.
I start on the only remaining unit not yet cleaned: Sandfly Jye's. He has very open nostrils that are ringed in pink skin, making his nose look quite porcine. There is a huge red stain on the towels on his gunyah. I show Peter and the vet and they decree that it is simply tannin from the wood (no doubt drawn out by Jye's urine). They decide to try to feed Jye in the treatment room too, so this gives me a free run at cleaning his unit without him in it; it's always easier sans koala.

The leaf has arrived! I spray my boots well with metholated spirits and wash my hands with soap before heading back to yard 10. It will be quick job replenishing the leaf since everything else is done. Ocean Therese is back down again, this time standing up on her gunyah and chewing some of yesterday's leaf with her paws rested on a higher beam. I stock her up and she returns to her chomping. Jo gets down from her perch and tears over to her water dish. Just as suddenly she bounds away to the fence and does a circuit of her gunyah before scaling the beam and repositioning herself in the fork.

Tractive's leaf is last since he's still up his tree and showing no sign of budging. Everyone else is finishing up as I stroll back to the day-room. I see Emma feeding Bonny Fire so I go in to pay a visit. Wiruna Lucky is right near them, taking a great interest in Bonny's food. Bonny, meanwhile, has lost interest and is ambling off towards the leaf. Emma tells me about a time when Bonny got a bad dose of the runs from eating the formula. They had to hydrate her with straight water for a while.

On my way out I notice that Oxley Westi, the little bulging-eyed koala from ICU, is now outside in yard 1. I like it when they graduate to the outside. It's so much nicer for them. This one has to have its eyes smeared in an ointment morning and night. The cream goes around the eye and on the eyeball itself. It can't be pleasant, but it's working. I can see how much her eyes have improved. The right one seems bulgier than the left.

Click here to view more of today's koala hospital photos.