Yesterday I got bad news from my Allergist. I went for my yearly asthma checkup, and my breathing / lung capacity has decreased a tad... we talked about what's changed, and well, I have a bunch of ratties now... six to be exact. We did a test for allergy to rats (not a scratch skin test, but a more reliable method using injections), and mine is severe. Just as bad as that to dogs and cats. (4 being the worst, mine's a 4+)
My heart is broken. I had finally found my life's passion, and now this changes all of that. I will not be losing my ratties, but I have to make some new adjustments to help my breathing. (If they were larger, and more freely mobile like dogs and cats, then I would have to find them new homes. Thank goodness they are smaller in size, and more contained.)
They can no longer play in / on my bed, or be in my bedroom at all... where we'd have our "free range" playtime on a larger scale than the couch / end table, and I have to keep my bedroom door closed all the time. I had to buy a very large HEPA air purifier and put it in the dining room. As for the couch... where we spend most of our time (my ratties and I)... I had to give my couch cover a good, hot washing, and I had to buy a King size sheet to cover the couch completely for when we have our playtime... then shake it outside when we're done, and wash it frequently. I already wash my hands after holding them, and this must continue, but I also must change my clothes after playtime. When cleaning their cages, I have to wear a mask... and to top it all off... I have to now take an antihistamine everyday. *heavy sigh*
As you probably can assume, I won't be able to have more of these amazing creatures. Depending on how my breathing does, I may be able to control things enough to be able to have a couple of ratties at all times, but that will be determined later. I have to pay great attention to my breathing, how often I use my rescue inhaler, etc.
Apparently rats are highly allergenic, and most people don't "seem" to be allergic at first, and their symptoms / the allergy develops over time... a year or two is common. And, well, I got my first rat, George, just over two years ago now.
This just sucks so badly, it makes me cry everytime I realize the impact it will have on me and my life. They love and need me, as I do them... my loneliness would be unbearable w/out them. How's it "fair" that this happened to me?? (The whole, "Life isn't fair," or, "Who said life was fair?" just doesn't do it for me. I, if anyone, knows that life isn't fair, but geez! Does this really need to be proven to me time and time again??)
This bad news has hit me so hard, and I am so saddened by it. I'm angry about it as well, in addition to being devastated.
On the positive... at least I get to keep who I have, and hopefully with my adjustments, I can keep my symptoms under control.
Time to go give them some treats.