Further proof, if any were needed, that my dad is the best. Really, I feel completely guilty having such great parents when so many people don't.
There's a pet snake at my dad's house - the precise ownership of it is not quite clear; nominally it belongs to Mr Fusion (my brother), my dad pretty much is the one who takes care of it (because he's the only full-time resident of that house), and it is kept in my room. So... anyway, the snake has been around a long time, and nobody really cares that much about her anymore, but we don't want to get rid of her either, because that's just rude. So we're stuck with this snake, whatever. She's a pretty good snake, as snakes go - very mellow-tempered and with an almost infallible appetite - but boring.
Anyway, for the past several weeks her tail has been sort of turning black and dying. First the end turned purple, then the purple spread and black started to take over, then the whole tail just sort of died. Veterinary care would cost more money than we care to spend on a pet to which we're so little attached, so we had halfway resigned ourselves to the idea that this mysterious tail affliction would prove fatal.
But this evening my dad asked for my advice in removing the tail himself, as the dead part was so clearly defined from the healthy part with almost no dying purple area between. I didn't want to make him do anything if he didn't really want to do it, but he eventually secured my reluctant approval... then called back just now, after performing the operation.
And it was a success! We don't know whether it will save the snake, but the dead tail is completely severed and the bleeding (of which there was little) staunched. The snake is acting healthy, and we all just have to wait and see what happens next - there's a chance, now, that it all might just heal.