OK, so the whole hamster thing started aeons ago, when I was just a little shaver. (See the bio, or WHO? page) I was about 3 and somehow I ended up responsible for murdering our family hamster. I've never gotten over it. According to those that were there and older, I tried to hug it too hard. Ehh...what can I say? S*** happens...I was THREE.

So fast forward to 2003. I ended up with a rather strange condition from sitting in front of the computer too long...its not like there wasn't any reason for it. I have high blood pressure and heart issues. Add that to the fact that I had surgery to replace a demolished Anterior Cruciate Ligament in my left knee, and I was an accident waiting to happen. The specs on this condition can be found here:

So I am a bit predisposed to having NDE's from things like this. When I had my surgery, I had the most idiotic surgeon I could possibly find, a Dr. Davis, in Colorado---{OH! PLEASE try and sue me...idiot.} This guy forgot that I was in his examining room more times than I can count. He also forgot to order any post op pain medication before leaving out of town AND out of reach for 3 days. What an ass...The day after I went home my leg ballooned up. I had developed a blood clot. When they took the bandages off my leg its the only time that I have ever seen my rather jaded husband look sick---he went absolutely green. 

So now back to the present day...You can get really almost dead from sitting at a computer too long. I know, I know...I was as shocked as you... I ran across a web site where someone else had the same thing--- only from airplanes. Its a common thing this blood clot stuff. Its also known as DVT---or Deep Vein Thrombosis.  Here is the other link: 

Its the lead singer and flute player from Jethro Tull. He got the airplane variety. Now you are probably wondering what any of this has to do with hamsters, right? I'm getting there...just hold them horses...

So while I'm recovering and it was a rough one...Gar decides that I need something to care for. The dogs are getting up there and don't do much but bark and lay around the house. Much like me... So he goes and gets me a hamster. Now first of all, I REALLY didn't want another animal. Especially not a rodent, and not one that my last experience was with included hamstercide, death and a funeral. But he got one anyway. So he brings home this hamster that shall be known from this time forth as Willow.


willowrat.jpg (27338 bytes)(Because that is her name.) Me, ever mindful of everyone else's needs, decided that Willow wasn't happy all by herself and wanted a FEMALE friend. I was NOT about to turn into a rodent farm. So off Gar goes to get Willow a friend. Being highly influenced by BtVS, I decided to name her friend Tara.


tararat.jpg (38316 bytes)Now I have not one, but TWO rodents living in a cage. Nice cage, too. Only one problem...they hate each other. It was apparent from the very start...the second we put Tara into the cage with Willow, Tara started screaming. And screaming, and screaming...every day it was another 50 rounds of Hamster Smackdown.


 Which was extraordinarily hard on my nerves and my little feelers. Tara is a crybaby and Willow is a bully---so there was no hope for anything resembling peace between the two. I'd have better luck making Prez Shrub see reason and stop this stupid war mongering. Not to mention any hope of getting any much needed healing sleep. Hamsters being nocturnal and all. 

willowntara01.jpg (32076 bytes)

There were serious issues regarding the wheel to nowhere. Fights would break out all night over the wheel. Getting another wheel didn't help, either. All it did was give them something new and different to fight about. 


Iwheelissues.jpg (35292 bytes)n short, I was losing my mind. We even tried getting them another cage and joining them together. Which didn't work out too well. So now we have two lonely hamsters that live in separate cages. Now everyone has a cage and I no longer have to listen to HAMSTER SMACKDOWN, round 5,000,000....


As for my DVT? I still have blood pressure and heart issues...but I take blood thinning stuff now, and I have a bicycle that goes absolutely nowhere next to the computer that I try to get on for a few minutes every hour. Keeps the blood clot issue down to a minimum. I do however see eerily bizarre similarities between me and the hamsters on the wheels to nowhere...If you spend long hours at a computer like I do, PLEASE get up and exercise, or at least move around. The life you save could definitely be your own. And remember, hamsters don't necessarily want or need a friend. 




Hamsterific Part II, Or   

Most people, if they decide that they need to keep a pet to calm and soothe their ragged nerves, get fish. Fish seem to be a great stress reliever. They swim around in their little fishy tanks and for the most part there isn't the screaming. With hamsters there is screaming. Not a real good stress buster---let me tell ya'. So when I heard hamster screaming, I came running. This was different than Tara's usual "Willow, you're too close to me and I'm going to tell the 'BIG HAND'" scream. This sounded like sheer terror. 

Since I was in another part of the house, I bolted to rescue the poor defenseless hamster, whichever one it was that found themselves in this life threatening situation. This time it was Willow. She had climbed up on top of the wheel and was trying to run on top of it.    

hamstermasher.jpg (70762 bytes)

 Problem was, she was getting caught between the wheel and the plastic platform that holds their food and acts as a mock-second story in the "Magickal, Mystical, Wonderful, Colorful Plastic Rodent Palace." Now, mind you, this was before Willow was somewhat hand tame. Which in short means that every time I put my hand near either one of them, they attacked ferociously with their hamster teeth until they drew blood. {Willow is getting better. I have a nasty feeling that Tara will be feral until she goes to meet the Hamster Maker.} 

I immediately threw the cage door open, reached in and pulled out a little ball of squirming, terrified, BITING hamster. Do you think she was at all grateful for my quick save? Not on your life. She looked at me rather indignantly and sunk her teeth into my hand. But it was worth it. I felt that I had redeemed myself for the hamstercide those many years ago. 


daredevil01.jpg (28283 bytes)It took all of 5 seconds before she climbed back up there and did it again. I thought that surely she would quit after a few seconds and it would stop. But does the agony EVER stop? I think not... Michael Jackson is controlling the airwaves right now...I rest my case. 


So all day long, it was EXTREME HAMSTER SPORTS! It wouldn't have been so bad, but she got Tara all excited about doing it. Now, granted, they hated each other with a passion---but when one is having the thrill ride of a lifetime the other isn't going to sit idly by and let that happen...not without getting in on the action. It actually became the next thing they found to fight about---who was going to get to commit suicide first. This all started at 9:00 AM. By the time Gar got home at 6:00, I was a wreck. 

When he came in the door, he took one look at me and decided against asking how my day was. As he reached over to kiss me, Tara started screaming. He wheeled around and started for the cage until I quietly told him through clenched teeth, "Don't bother, its been going on since right after you left this morning." Which of course led to a detailed account of the newest hamster trick. 

We already had a paper-towel roll hooked to the cage over the wheel, but that didn't even begin to stop the problem. They got around that easily by suicide-leaping AROUND the tube. It was even more fun and exciting, AND DANGEROUS if the other hamster was running in the wheel at the same time. Granted, you could play this sport solo by running on top of the wheel. But it didn't have that added element of danger that came with knowing you were not in control of the wheel if and when it decided to crush the life out of your little hamster body. 

Gar being the absolutely amazing problem solver that he is figured out that we would have to double the efforts and double the paper-towel roll that was covering the wheel up until then. He managed to bread-tie the rolls together and make a double tunnel system out of the rolls. 

The screaming and extreme sports have stopped. But every once in awhile I catch Willow desperately chewing at the rolls---trying to tear the bridge down that is probably saving her life. 

What I learned from this is that even hamsters, when given a choice, will do stupid things that will eventually kill them. Much like us. And everyone, even hamsters, are looking for that thrill---that next thing that lets them know they are alive. 

If I find anything else amusing about life as a rodent owner, I'll be sure and post it here. I hope you have enjoyed your glimpse into my recovery...its been...weird. 



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