After our extended visit to LA and Houston, it was finally time to return to Bali. Now that I’ve been back and forth a couple of times, it’s become clear to me why we don’t get that many visitors — the trip sucks! This time we flew through Seoul and arrived into Denpasar at 1:00 am getting us to our house around 3:00 am – needless to say, after traveling for 28 hours, the kids (and adults) were pretty wiped out.
We ended up being away for almost six weeks and during that time, I wasn’t the least bit concerned about being away from our house or stuff. In my vast experience of living abroad (not vast at all), Bali feels incredibly safe. In addition, our staff is exceptional so, I knew everything would be handled and cared for perfectly. The only small worry I had was leaving our bunny. And, even though we had given very specific instructions, and in March, we had been gone for two weeks and found him perfectly healthy and content on our return, I still felt a tiny pang that something might happen this time. We had already suffered the loss of Fletcher’s love bird who made a prison break, (chewed through the cage bars), and escaped. I wasn’t sure
I, I mean they, could take another pet debacle.
So, in we stumbled at 3:00 am, almost as wired as we were exhausted. Marc, Indra and I were unloading the car when I heard Allie scream – “something’s wrong with Casper!” and that inkling of worry became full fledged dread. I hesitantly went into her room and was horrified to see that her rabbit’s nose was about five times it’s normal size giving him the look of a miniature, white, fluffy elephant seal. In addition, he was crouched in his litter box dancing in place like his feet were on fire. Guessing this was probably not the latest bunny fitness craze, I was convinced it looked bad for our bunny.
Naturally, the only vet in Bali that treats small animals is over an hour from our house. So, the next day we gathered up Casper and piled into the car for the long ride to the vet — which was exactly what I wanted to do on our first day back! We walked into the vet and she immediately looked at our rabbit and exclaimed — “mange!”…..What? Mange? How could he have mange? Not that we haven’t seen a lot of mange since we arrived. There are plenty of street dogs with mange running around but, none that come into our house and, unless Casper was out cruising the village, I was doubtful he’d run into them.
At first, I was relieved that the vet was able to diagnose him so quickly but, that relief quickly morphed into horror as his treatment and a further explanation of his condition unfolded. If you’re like me and the only time you’ve thought about mange was when someone used the term “mangy dog” please, let me enlighten you. Mange is actually an infestation of microscopic, parasitic mites that live on animals multiplying ferociously, while savagely burrowing and consuming their skin. If left untreated, they will feed on the host until it is overcome by the pests and dies. Pretty great so far, right?! Oh, but it gets so much better! It can also be transmitted to humans! Anyone heard of scabies? Yes, scabies! I was under the misguided assumption that scabies was one of those diseases like scurvy or plague that was popular with pirates and scullery maids — but, no one gets scabies these days, right?! Wrong! Apparently, people can definitely get scabies from their infected pets — and, as the vet was telling us this, I kept having slow motion flashbacks of Allie and I picking up and holding the bunny the previous night and that morning.
In my head, I wondered how upset Chris (our landlord)l would be if we burned our house down. Clearly, that was the only reasonable option. Another thought….Silkwood showers followed by baths in alcohol for everyone. I then found myself reminiscing about my former innocence when I thought lice was the worst thing that could happen. Lice?! Lice is for weenies. I can take care of lice with a comb and a bucket of water but, this my friends, was a whole new level of repugnant. As I longed for the days before I became acquainted with these tiny, creepy invaders, I was having trouble thinking clearly over Casper’s screams as they pulled the crusty scabs off him (no, I’m not kidding…truly awful!) Our poor bunny! He was a mess! Between the Betadine they used to scrub him, and the blood from his wounds, he looked ready for Easter, like someone had colored him yellow and pink. Fortunately, there is a reliable treatment the vet actually had, (one never knows in Bali), — an injectable insecticide that kills the mites, is harmless to the animal, and generally leads to a full recovery. That was great news….but, I was still wondering how I would disinfect our house and ourselves…..
As soon as we returned home from the vet, we went to work on the house and scrubbed every inch as if there had been an industrial accident. We decided that the cat that sneaks into our house in the middle of the night must have been the culprit so, I’ve resorted to sleeping with one eye open and a spray bottle next to my bed that I can wield at the first sign of the pernicious creature. I’m proud to say I’ve landed a few direct hits in the last few nights which I’m hoping will encourage him to find another place to frequent for his evening activities. I’m also happy to report Casper is doing much better. If all goes well he should be fully recovered in a week or so. Phew!
The adventure continues!