We spent that weekend playing some board games, watching films on the balcony above and trying to write some of our current book. We made some nice food, having the luxury of an oven, and Jen experiemented with making Bloody Marys.
Always in the back of our mind was the lack of uncertainty in regards to our current travel plans. We decided to wait until Monday and see what the vet said then, hopefully we would have a more definitive answer and we could plan accordingly.
Setting off once again Monday morning, Rob drove us through the blockade and back towards the vet. Aimee nestled in my lap in the front, unconcerned by change in vehicle. Arriving at the vets we noticed that it looked shut, but then it had looked shut last time too. We hopped out and noticed that this time the gate as padlocked and the lights off inside. Lee phoned up the vet to find out what was going on. The vet told us that the implant hadn’t arrived and that we should come back Wednesday. We were confused, we thought she had already had surgery, it seemed like they had just bandaged her together and were waiting on a custom sized metal plate for her leg. Why we had driven all the way to La Paz was a little unclear, I think he was hoping to go the surgery that day and it hadn’t arrived yet, but his English was limited and our Spanish worse.
Hoping not to have driven all this way in vain, we headed around the Mac store. My nearly 11 year old macbook was due and upgrade and had now got to the point where I could now longer access the internet. I had asked my parents to bring it out at Christmas, only to promptly discover that it wouldn’t load webpages anymore and was therefore pretty useless for blogging. Still, at it’s age you can’t complain, it’s definitely had a good innings. Unfortunately for us, the Apple shop is part of a shopping centre and that’s all shut down at the moment. We tried Office Depot and a few other shops with now luck, resigning ourselves to the fact that we had just wasted a morning driving there for no reason we picked up a starbucks as a consolation and headed back.
Monday hadn’t really provided us with the answers we had hoped for, if anything we were more confused. Aimee seemed to be recovering fast, but if she was yet to have surgery then she would have to go through this all again. As we sat at Hanno and Kirsten’s casita that afternoon we explained our predicament. They said they had a friend who lived in walking distance to us who spoke fluent Spanish, and the following morning we walked over to see him.
Tobias not only spoke fluent Spanish, but English and German too. He happily chatted away to the vet and then explained to us what we had just about figured out. Aimee still needed surgery, the plate had been ordered and should have been there Monday but hadn’t arrived. We could still go tomorrow Wednesday, but the vet would message us to confirm it had arrived so we didn’t waste a trip.
With a little more light shed on the situation, we awaited a message.
I can’t say that I was particularly surprised when none came, all delivery times seem to be delayed by the current situation. That morning we asked him what was happening, he said it hadn’t arrived yet but we could drive and wait for it or come on Thursday. Waiting sounded a lot like it might end up being for nothing so we agreed to go the next day.
Aimee was feeling particularly spritely that evening, and I turned around to find her on the bed licking her injured leg, the cast lying abandoned in the corner. She had clearly had enough. If we needed any confirmation that she hadn’t had surgery yet it was pretty clear. Her foot flopped around as we chased her around the room with the remnants of her cast, trying to tie it back on. Finally, and not without some howling, we had made the a smaller temporary bandage out of the remains of her old one. It should last till tomorrow, and at least protect her foot a bit. We were therefore relieved when the vet confirmed that he had chased up FedEx and her implant had arrived.
This was good news, in contrast to the other news we had been told today from Liz the brewery owner as we went for our regular growler refill.
She told that at 6pm tonight, the Covid19 restriction were being advanced from stage 2 to stage 3.
This meant that:
- Only one person was allowed out of a houseold at a time, only one person from each family in a shop
- Not more that one person per vehicle without ‘good reason’
- Face masks must be worn
- No sale of alcohol after 6pm
- A 10pm curfew
This didn’t overly affect us, and in actual fact the supposed step up in military and police presence had result in the removal of the road blockade. We thought that it was necessary to have two of us to take Aimee to the vet too; one to drive, one to hold the cat.
Back at the house, I had messaged Francesca about renting the casita. With the tightening of restrictions and Aimee’s imminent surgery, it seemed best to come up with a little more permanent solution or the next month or so. She had confirmed to me earlier that we could rent one of the casitas, and had asked for $150 a month. We had yet to confirm, as we were waiting to see what would happen at the vets. Now with the certainty that we were good to go tomorrow, we confirmed we would take one for two weeks at a time for $75. I remember being pretty chuffed back in the US when we managed to find an Air B’n’B in Philadelphia for $28 a night. This particular room had nothing more than a basic mattress on the floor and also stank of cat wee and cigarettes. To be able to rent a small room with a sea view balcony, a much more serviceable bathroom and a kitchen for nearly the same price per week is not something to be sniffed at.
Clearly desperate to make some money at this time, the owner turned up shortly after we had messaged her and before we knew it we had the keys. We had planned to rent the small casita with a balcony, not realising there was another. The downstairs one didn’t have the view but it did have a private toilet and shower, so we plumped for this one. We also like that it had a secured yard which we could safely let Aimee out in while she recovered.
With the keys secured, that night we packed up the van, ready for the next morning. While we couldn’t thank Rob and Jen enough for the kindness they had shown us, we are used to having our own space and no doubt so are they. We didn’t want to intrude on their lives for an entire month and also liked the idea of Aimee being able to recover in a dog free environment. We decided we would move round to our new room after La Paz, it made sense as we would have already packed the van.
So the morning was upon us, the van packed, we headed for La Paz. The roadblock was indeed gone, futile as it had been in the first place when it had been only in existence from about 10am-5pm. Any determined traveller only had to get up early or wait until the evening to access the town, nevertheless we were glad not to have the unnecessary hassle and headed out on the highway.
The military checkpoint before La Paz was operating at about the same level of efficiency. The 5th time we had passed in a week and no one was stopping any vehicles, the police merely sat in their cars watching the world go by. La Paz itself was a little more disrupted. At many junctions the police had put out cones taking the traffic down to one lane and were pulling people over. Fortunately they didn’t seem to care about us, and we arrived to the vet just shy of 10am.
The vet spoke a little English, and took us into his room and showed us the implant. He said a bandage would not be necessary as the plate would hold everything together. He said the stitches would come out in two weeks, but that any vet could do this. He wanted to x-ray her again in two months to see that it had healed correctly. Explaining that we might not be here in two months, but that we could take her to another vet, he seemed happy enough. He took Aimee off us, telling us to return at 2pm.
We popped into Home Depot as we like to do, in search of butane for our gas stove. The security here was definitely increased. A queuing system was set up outside the door with two security guards. Lines on the floor marked where to stand and a loudspeaker played the same safety announcement over and over. With only one of us allowed inside, I went in and searched for butane. I managed to find three types, which was novel, but unfortunately none of them had the right connection. In the end I bought some string for a macramé project I had been eyeing up, and left.
Still with three hours to kill, we began to drive into the city, hoping to find somewhere to sit and have a drink and use the wifi to kill time. As we drove along, we spotted two of the cyclists we had met back in San Ignacio, pulling over to the side of the road we stopped for a chat. They too had holed themselves up in a rental and were waiting it out. Wishing each other luck, we continued on. Not overly optimist about finding anywhere that was open to customers sitting inside, we tried a few options include our go-to café from last time. While they were all open, it was only for takeaway, the chairs all removed. After a bit of fruitless driving around, we decided to go and buy a few things from Walmart that we couldn’t get hold of in Todos Santos.
This time it was Lee’s turn to go in, while I waited in the car park fending of street vendors. By the time he had come out, it was 1pm, and we hung around in the shade, eating our lunch and letting the last hour pass. A French couple opposite us had a Land Rover that they had converted into a camper, so we’re not the only Europeans still here trying to stick it out. We watched as they disinfected the shopping, the car door handles, each other and possibly the dog, before driving off.
Soon enough, we were back at the vets. He showed us into another room where Aimee lat stretched out, still asleep. He told us we could wait for half an hour or so until she had woken up and then take her. Contrary to what he had said, her leg was encased in a huge bandage, even larger than last time. He told us that the incision was quite large, and that she only needed the bandage for a week to protect it. With the help of google translate, we got some wormer for her and he gave us her medication. The assistant loaded her into her bag, where she lay and growled at us all, then we payed him 7000mxp for the surgery, before leaving with the cat and a bag containing her X-rays.
Still completely out of it, we drove her back to our new casita and began to unpack while she lay there like a mess.
We brought most of our things over from Rob and Jen’s and set about clearing out the van so we could access what we needed. I stood in the corner of our room, sorting out my clothes. Aimee lay on the bed looking groggy, but slowly coming round. As I turned back I noticed something was wrong. “Lee, come here!! She’s done it again!” I yelled out the door as I noticed her giant purple cast lying in the corner of the room and her licking at her new stitches.
Naturally, as she had only had surgery a matter of hours before it didn’t take much to make the cut start to bleed and we had to physically hold her down. I am sure she was still not with it enough to know what she was doing but she was not happy. She howled and bit us, before managing to bite at her newly fixed leg in the process. Both of us held her down, which only served to increase her drug fuelled rage but was definitely necessary to prevent any further damage. We messaged the vet, who suggested a cone, so I put an urgent message on the local Facebook group asking if anyone had a cone or for the number of the emergency vet. Resigning ourselves to a sleepless night, spent restraining the cat we waited.
It didn’t take long for the replies to come in, one lady offered us a cone they had used on their dog, suggesting we could cut it down. The emergency vet didn’t appear to be picking up the phone and I was out the door in a flash and back at Rob and Jen’s. The second time in a week that we have turned up on their doorstep in need of help, I explained. The woman was trying to give me directions, but I didn’t know the town well enough to know where anything was. Mexico is not as straightforward as streets and numbers. Directions start something like, “Well you know where that market is…?” and progress from there. Rob to the rescue again, he took one look at the directions and bundled me into the truck. Within 10 minutes we were there and met up with a man bearing a very large looking plastic collar. Refusing any money for their kind donation, I was soon back at the room. Lee sat in exactly the same position looking a bit pained. Unable to move for the duration of my expedition for fear of enraging the cat again, he had lost some feeling in his legs at this point.
I began to cut the cone down, which was huge. I also had at some point got a message which I think was from the emergeny vet, but I had no idea where it had gone. He located it and messaged her back, while I carried out collar surgery. She told us to tie it on with and spare piece of bandage so she couldn’t pull it off, and before too long we had her secured. Needless to say, she was not impressed by this new addition and reversed backwards clumsily around the room trying to escape. Satisfied that at least she couldn’t hurt herself now, we agreed to take her to the vet the next day to have it re-bandaged. Many thanks to the kind people who donated us that cone, because it meant that night that we both actually managed to get some sleep after the dramas of the evening.
The first job the net morning was to take Aimee to the vet. Overnight her leg had ballooned to over twice it’s normal size, her foot a massive ball at the end.
We drove the long way round to Pescadero, as the dirt road block at the end of the village was still in place. When we arrived at the vet’s which was just someone’s house really, we were told that we didn’t have an appointment so we would need to wait. This wasn’t a problem, and we only sat there about 20 minutes before we were brought it. The vet tried to give Aimee some painkillers, but these didn’t work. She has had so many drugs recently that she had built up a tolerance to them. Her foot was clearly very painful, and she wouldn’t let the vet get anywhere near it, so yet again they had to knock her out again in order to re-bandage her gigantic paw.
The vet was obviously concerned about the swelling but she said there wasn’t much we could do about it, especially with it bandaged. We bought her a proper cat sized cone, so she could actually wear it and eat, and this time the vet wrapped the bandage around her middle so she couldn’t rip it off. We waited a little while for her to come around from the worst of the sedative, and then scooped her up again, paid the vet and went back home.
She spent the rest of the day wearing that dazed drug induced expression that was becoming quite familiar to us. Fortunately this time she didn’t get into a crazy rage filled rampage when the drugs began to wear off. Finally, we could start to relax a little bit, knowing she was on the mend.