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L’il Sis and I used to live in an apartment together in Toronto. During this time, we also had the same GP, Dr Hussein, who was also The Mom’s mom’s GP. I don’t remember why, exactly, we decided to have her as our GP in the first place, but Dr Hussein was an utter triumph of a doctor. She’d always make time for you, no matter what. Once, I awoke with a migraine so shocking, due to some new medication I was on, that my roommate had to put me in a taxi, drive across town, and present me to the doctor so I could get a shot of some very strong painkillers.

Anyhow, Dr Hussein had grown up – if I recall correctly – in Switzerland, studied in California, and had somehow wound up in Toronto. All this international working had perhaps influenced the many services she offered, one of which was administering shots of Vitamin B to whomever looked particularly sickly. Not sick mind, just vaguely unwell generally.

When The Mom caught wind of this, every time I went to see Dr Hussein, The Mom would remind me to ask for a shot of B. She was so taken with this, and the many benefits it doubtless had, that I believe she considered coming in from out of town just for the chance at a shot.

The point is that we have a longstanding tradition of loving a good shot of B. Does wonders. In fact, The Mom is such a fan of Vitamin B that she used to give me huge bottles of it for Christmas. Though, me and tablets aren’t always a good mix, so now I get powdered supplements which are easier to digest.

This year for Christmas, I got my usual vitamins, and L’il Sis got something for her health too: some much-needed sessions with this new doctor, who is, I hasten to point out, a homeopath but also a registered MD. So the best of all of the things. Which is just what L’il Sis needs.

What I find quite unusual about The Mom’s reaction is that she’s in any way shocked to hear that L’il Sis can do her own injections. Because, as she rightly points out, we’ve been administering shots (usually of calcium) to our birds for decades. The vet who first suggested this, did so to The Mom who is far too nervous to have done it, so L’il Sis was called in for reinforcements. She was taught by the vet, and practiced on an orange until she felt confident being able to find the tiny spot on a zebra finch’s breast where the needle was to be inserted.

And L’il Sis has a steady hand with this kind of thing, which is the reason she’s Head ToeNail Clipper for the birds too. In itself a much trickier job too.

I am not shocked that she’s able to give herself the vitamin injections, and her usual medication injections. She’s quite serious when it comes to her health– and anyone else’s she loves too — for that matter. Of late, she’s been encouraging me to get the same meds she has for the arthritis we have in common. Which I’m doing, though I’m not sure how the NHS will feel or react when I announce rather confidently that I’m in no way jangly about giving myself an injection.

It’s funny, actually. All these handy skills you never thought you’d have use of, and then one day, you’re glad you know how to give a zebra finch a calcium injection. Now there’s something they ought to teach you in school.

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