I have Dissociative Feelings Disorder.
And before you ask, yes I just made that up. THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S NOT REAL!
Dissociative Identity Disorder is multiple personalities, which is awesome in theory but probably in real life not as cool as it always seems on television. I don’t have that. I have one personality and it’s pretty shitty all around. I know, I know. Negative Nelly. I’m not asking for a fucking hug. Part of my shitty personality is that I like having a shitty personality. Hugs make me angry, and getting angry at hugs makes me laugh and laughing angrily while hugging makes me look psychotic and people avoid people who look psychotic which works out great because it’s hard to give someone a hug if you’re trying to avoid them because you think they might be psychotic. Until I need a good laugh and then it all backfires. I might be exaggerating all of that for comedic effect but there’s some truth to it I’m sure. Where was I?
Oh yeah my real fake disease. I call it Dissociative Feelings Disorder.
I killed my tortoise last week. I couldn’t write about it until now. I had her for about a decade which sounds cool until you realize that this tortoise should have lived to be 50-80 years old. It should have been happily eating greens and carrots and apples years after I was dead and buried–and how cool would it have been if I put in my will and bequeathed a tortoise habitat on my grave? That would have been bad ass. Anyway it’s for nothing because the tortoise is dead and it’s my fault.
I came home on Sunday and checked up on the little guy. Donentella’s shell had collapsed, blood everywhere, and to my horror she was still breathing and seemed in pain. I rushed her to the animal hospital honking at slow traffic, swerving, very pissed off and contemplating the best way to crush a human’s shell, but I didn’t have time to track down whatever asshole crushed my tortoise’s shell right then obviously because I had to get Donny better first.
The vet saw me pretty quickly, putting me in front of the old ladies with 100% healthy yipping little rat-dogs thankfully because I would have bitch slapped an old woman and kicked one of those disgustingly healthy muts right in their neutered crotch. Seriously old ladies. Seriously. The dog’s fine. Go home.
She spent about 2 minutes looking at the little guy and announced her bones were too brittle, she hadn’t had enough calcium, and there was nothing she could do but make her comfortable and put her to sleep.
Me: “Cool doc, so what like you put some pins in the shell and we prop that baby up? Haha! I’ll bet she’ll need some bed rest though huh? I’ve got some spinach leaves she seems to love and once we get home she’s getting an extra serving of carrots.”
Vet: “You’re not understanding. The bones are too weak. And how many carrots do you feed her?”
Me: “Yeah she loves them. But how did this happen? Like you think it was a neighbor kid because I’m not against post-birth abortion in extreme circumstances.”
Vet: “David, this is a Desert Tortoise, you know that right? It needs extra calcium. Carrots and apples should just be a treat. Mostly healthy greens with calcium supplements. You don’t have any other Desert Tortoises do you?”
Me: “The cat? My roommate has a taser. Don’t worry I’ll set it on low.”
Vet: “It’s important that you listen to me now David, you have to sign this. We need to put her to sleep. There won’t be any pain but it takes a long time.”
Me: “Swear to fucking god if I find out my roommate had some drunk asshole friend over who thought it would be fun to play with my tortoise. I TOLD that motherfucker the tortoise is off limits.”
Vet: “I know this is hard but we really need to…”
Me to Donny: Cheer up Donny, the fucker will get an ax to the spine and I’ll turn their skull into a nice water bowl for you. Don’t worry about the cops we’ll make it look like low calcium.
Me: “SHUT THE FUCK UP LADY AND PUT SOME PINS IN HER SHE’S FUCKING FINE!”
She wasn’t fine. It took about 2 hours for her to die but the vet promised about 50 times there was no pain. That didn’t help me. I feel so much fucking guilt it still gets caught in my throat when I think about it.
In my defense I actually didn’t know she was a Desert Tortoise. The pet shop that sold her to me said it was this type of African Tortoise and gave me care directions for this kind of African Tortoise. You see it’s illegal to sell Desert Tortoises and either they didn’t know what they had when they sold her, or they made the calculation that a couple hundred bucks was worth the eventual life of this animal, or maybe they figured most people don’t keep tortoises that long, or that I’d figure it out later.
Anyway she was eventually dead and she’d be alive and healthy if I had figured out what kind of tortoise she was. It’s not that difficult a mystery to unravel really. It seems hard at first but there are clear ways to tell and it’s my fault for not doing more research. She had been getting progressively slower over the last year, she had been sleeping more. But she always ate a lot. I honestly thought she was getting fat. Do tortoises get fat? Fuck if I know, but that’s what I thought. What was really happening was she was not getting the nutrients she needed no matter how much she ate and she was getting progressively weaker. It had basically been happening from the day I bought her, maybe it had been happening even at the pet shop, it was not until a year ago she started to show signs and I should have fucking known that but holy shit you can’t tell what the fuck a tortoise is feeling because they are reptiles and when you see one eating a buttload of food every day and getting slower why wouldn’t you blame obesity? Really David? An obese tortoise from eating fucking carrots and greens and apples?
I’m an idiot.
And I felt like an absolute worthless piece of shit. Still do. What I did not feel is sad at all. I just felt self-hate really. Still do. Being sad means eventually you’ll feel better and I don’t deserve that and yeah, I get it it’s just a tortoise and if I’m on a desert island starving to death and there is some tortoise I don’t fucking know and there is no other food on the island I’m probably slitting that tortoise’s throat, drinking its blood and making soup.
But she wasn’t some random tortoise on an imaginary desert island.
She was my tortoise. And my responsibility. And I failed. So I don’t deserve to feel better and I won’t feel sad because that is fucking selfish bullshit.
Well as luck would have it two days later my mom had a heart attack and had to have a couple of stints put in. My mom has no problem feeling sad. In fact, she can feel sad even when she doesn’t have a heart attack so imagine how sad she feels when she does have a heart attack. It was pretty sad. Not quite as dramatic as, “This is so unfair I just started trying to get healthy.” No mom, unfair is small kids who die of cancer. Or tortoises murdered by people who are supposed to take care of them. I don’t say those kinds of things naturally I just say she’s exaggerating, she’ll be fine (which she will) and I give her a hug because for some reason hugs don’t make her angry. They do the opposite. They make her feel better. I thought that was pretty funny and started laughing. She did too but for a different reason.
But I felt better anyway. And so did she. I hope Donny does.
Happy late Mother’s Day.
And bah humbug.