Just when you think the worst is over…

The day had finally come for us to take Aimee back to the vet in La Paz. It was now Thursday and was almost a week since her leg was broken in a horrendous attack by some local dogs.

We had taken the decision to rent a casita at the compound Kerstin and Hanno were staying at, so with our things packed, we thanked the Thompson’s for their kind hospitality and the hit the road. Our casita was on the same street as Rob and Jen’s and you could see it from the balcony. I think they were relieved when we pointed this out, as we would be able to continue to hang out playing board games, watching movies and drinking lots of cocktails.

We made the now all too familiar drive back to La Paz, surprised to see that the road blockade had already been dismantled. That would definitely make returning to the town a lot simpler when we returned later.

As we arrived at the Police checkpoint on the outskirts of La Paz, we were stopped and they tested my temperature with a digital thermometer before waving us off to continue our journey. If this was Stage 3, they didn’t seem to be taking it too seriously!

We arrived at the vets and were relieved to find the vet arrived at exactly the same time as us. Neither of us wanted any further complications with this operation.

He said that if all went to plan, Aimee should be able to return home with us in the afternoon. So we left her with them and made our way into La Paz to kill some time.

Waiting is the worst

Our first stop was Home Depot, as we tend to visit the store at least once every time we visit the area. Here the increased restrictive measures were obvious, with a warning blaring out of the P.A system in both English and Spanish. They had set up a queuing system, this one a little more effective than the chaos of Office Depot a few days prior.

From Home Depot, we decided to drive into the main centre to try and find a spot to grab a drink. As we drove along the main road, two cyclists caught my attention up ahead. I could have sworn they were the two Brits we met in San Ignacio, but surely there was no way they were still hanging around La Paz. They should have passed through La Paz ages ago.

As we got close, we could see that it was them, so pulled over just ahead to try and catch up. It seemed, like us, that had been unwilling to throw in the towel and return home. So they had been renting a small apartment in town to see how things would progress. It was strangely reassuring to know that we weren’t the only ones stubbornly holding on to their dreams of travelling. As we said goodbye and wished them good luck, I suddenly seemed to have a newfound optimism that things would work out alright.

We continued into the main town centre, hoping to find a place to grab a drink, stopping first at our go-to bar near the harbour. Unsurprisingly, we found it shut, only offering food to go. After driving around for fifteen minutes, finding it to be the case for all of the local bars, we gave up and headed to Walmart to buy items that were hard to find in the local Todos Santos mini-markets.

Like Home Depot, Walmart was now operating with tighter restrictions and so only one of us was allowed in the store. It’s amazing just how great an effect Covid19 was having on a global scale and it was highly likely that this was going to be the new ‘norm’ for quite a while.

With some items purchased, we had nothing left to do but wait for the phone call from the vet informing us that it was time to collect Aimee. I won’t lie, it was hard not to picture receiving a phone call informing us that there had been a complication during the surgery and Aimee had passed away. It’s frightening the places your mind can take you when you care so much about something so vulnerable.

Fortunately, when the vets finally called, it was good new and we were able to collect our little girl.

As with our previous experience of Mexican vet care, Aimee was still under sedation when we arrived. The surgeon explained that he managed to fit the implant without any complications and the assistant even explained that he had the same implant in his wrist from an old fracture. They took us into the operating theatre, where Aimee laid passed out on the operating table, another giant cast covering her injured leg. The assistant poked her a bit and showed us that her eyes were responding to light, but she didn’t look great. At least we were more accustomed to this now and after he scooped her up and put her in her rucksack, we paid and they explained that we should have the cast and stiches removed in two weeks.

Bionic kitty

Relieved to finally have the surgery done this time, we thanked them for everything they had done and headed home to our new casita residence. Desperate to put this whole ordeal behind us.

Still have to wear masks when passing through check points

By the time we arrived, Aimee had started to come around from the anaesthetic and she was a bit of a stoned wreck. Her tongue hanging out uncontrollably. Our van life may have been temporarily paused, but at least we could focus on her recovery… or so we thought!

I spent the evening moving our last items from Rob and Jen’s and unpacking Ruby, whilst Willow kept an eye on Aimee. It was whilst I was outside that I heard Willow’s panicked cry from our new bedroom.

She was so out of it when she started coming around

“She’s done it again!” She screamed at me as I burst into the room.

In a fit of rage, Aimee had somehow managed to rip her ridiculously sized cast off of her broken leg. I walked in to hind Willow trying to pin Aimee down, as she was intent on ripping her stiches out.

As she had done this previously whilst we were stopping at the Thompson’s and we had been able to re-wrap the bandage, we had hoped to be able to do something similar again. But Aimee was not in the mood for letting us get anywhere near her leg. Understandably of course. She had just had an implant drilled and attached to her broken leg and the pain medication was starting to wear off.

We did not feel comfortable with her attacking the stiches in her leg however, so in a desperate attempt, I messaged the vet to get his advice. As it was now late, we weren’t surprised that we didn’t get a quick response back from him. So we posted to messages on the local Facebook page. First asking for contact details for an emergency vet in the area and then not long after, asking if anyone had a cone we could borrow. We reasoned that if we could get a cone on her, then she’d be unable to bite her leg and would hopefully do less damage to herself in the long term. Oh what I would have given to be able to reason with her.

“Stop being an idiot, you stupid cat. You’re making it worse!”

Aimee definitely wasn’t in the mood for reasoning.

Thankfully, we received responses to both our messages and so I messaged a vet who lived in Pescadero, whilst Willow communicated with a local from Todos Santos who had offered us a cone.

Once again, we were indebted to the Thompson’s, as Willow ran up the road to their house, where Rob quickly dropped what he was doing and drove Willow to collect the cone. Have I mentioned how amazing that family were to us?

With a cone secured, we informed the local emergency vet of the situation and she was happy to see Aimee in the morning to put on another cast. Feeling more stressed than we would have liked, we would definitely be grateful for it to be all over. Now we just had to get through the night, ensuring Aimee didn’t do anything else to her leg, which was already starting to look inflamed and sore.

Look how sore her leg looks

Morning eventually came, and we drove the short distance to the emergency vet, who lived a lot closer than La Paz.

Hopefully she wouldn’t get this cast off

Apparently this vet knew the vet who had operated on Aimee and they had been discussing her during the night. When she saw Aimee’s leg, she could immediately see the severe swelling that had occurred as a result of her mad fit of rage. In an attempt to get the swelling down, she first had to sedate Aimee, who still was freaking out when anyone tried to go near her leg. Once she was out of it, they put some ice on her leg to reduce the swelling and then re-bandaged her leg. This time, more appropriately than the last one. Informing us that in vet school, they were told not to wrap the bandage around the cat’s chest, but in real life, this would prevent Aimee ripping it off once more.

With Aimee taken care of, we headed back to the casita, hoping that we could finally focus on Aimee’s recovery. Although neither of us were confident that she wouldn’t find a way to get it off again.

We were all a bit tired by the end of the day

We spent the rest of the day keeping an eye on Aimee, and as the pain medication eventually started to wear off, we were relieved to find her a lot more relaxed. Now we would just have to get through the next two weeks without incident before the cast and her stiches could come out.

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