S. Crowbert and I on Braddock Road at rush hour.

Stephen Crowbert’s tongue is still—to use the accepted medical term—gross. So yesterday it was back to the vet for a four-hour odyssey. Capture time is now closer to 10 minutes than 5, as Stephen’s flying skills and evasive tactics continue to improve. In fact, when I was trying to net him, I actually caught Gwen instead and almost marched off to the vet with her, which would have been embarrassing. When Stephen is better than Gwen at anything, things are getting out of control.

Between netting and traffic, I was seven minutes late to the vet, enough time for him to declare himself available to take on an emergency case. So the waiting game began, although I’d rather be the client delayed by an emergency than the one dealing with an injured or ill animal. When the vet finally emerged, M. Crowbert challenged him to a game of beak clamp, otherwise known as “just try and pry my beak open you scoundrel.” The vet cheated by enlisting the help of the vet tech, so after five minutes he was finally able to peer down Stephen’s throat. The best he could come up with was “it’s not as enflamed as it was before.” Goody.

Then came the parade of terribles of what could be going on: capillaria (Noooooo; not again); pox (Please, no, that can be fatal); fungal infection (Yuck); and a couple of other things that I hadn’t heard of but sounded bad. So they took Stephen and samples and I waited. And of course I had forgotten my phone. By this time it was 6 pm and the TV in the waiting room was playing the food channel, prompting me to remember that I didn’t have lunch. Not a good combination.

At this point I called Super Hub to say I’m still at the vet’s (Duh, he said lovingly) and hope to be home by 7. Hurry up, he said, because Gwen is very unhappy. Needless to say, if Gwen is unhappy, she launches into lamentations to ensure the entire neighborhood is unhappy too.

The vet finally reemerged to announce that he didn’t find sign of capillaria or any of the other scary possibilities. Just lots of bacteria. The solution? Two more weeks of antibiotics twice a day. I explained to him as calmly as I could there is no way on God’s Green Earth that I can net SC twice a day without him, me, or both of us dying of stress. The vet said something sympathetic about it being a pity that crows are so smart. Not what I was looking for. Discussions ensued with the following “compromise”: Minion Man and I have to move my tweety bird flight cage into the enclosure and put Stephen in that, allowing me to put the meds in his food to avoid shoving a syringe down his throat twice a day. Once he’s done with the meds, I can release him to roost with Gwen at night and then go through the whole process the next day. And the next. And the one after that. For two weeks. Joy.

On the way home, Stephen and I hit heavy traffic. I finally managed to reunite our devoted pair around 8 pm. Gwen looked totally pathetic perching in their sleeping spot by herself. I left them comforting each other with soft grunts and cuddles. We may get through this after all.