Toby has fleas.
Which means our house is infested with eggs.
That will hatch in about four weeks.
Right around my due date.
Lamaze breath in ... Lamaze breath out ...
Over the past week or so, we had noticed that Toby was digging furiously at his backside. He would spin in panicked circles trying to get to the area right above his tail. At first, we didn't think anything of it. Then it became more frequent. Then it got to the point that we couldn't stop him from "tossing his own salad" (as Jerry so lovingly put it), so I called the vet.
We took him in yesterday afternoon, explaining the problem. As the nurse shoved a thermometer up Toby's butt, she said she noticed a few fleas and guessed that was the problem. Then she ran a fine-toothed comb through his fur and there they were.
I wanted to die. I felt like a negligent dog owner. Who suddenly had the intense urge to dry heave.
When the doctor came in, the words coming out of his mouth kept getting worse and worse: Eggs. Infestation. All plush surfaces. Must treat animal and environment.
My head was spinning and I felt itchy all over just thinking about it. Must. Not. Vomit.
Fortunately, he was calm and understanding and spent almost an hour with us devising a plan of attack. He gave us a few canisters of concentrated "leave the house immediately" flea bombs and a less-intense aerosol version to spray in the hard-to-reach corners before setting off the other ones.
Then he placed a topical treatment on Toby that will kill their source of food over four weeks and make the fleas unable to reproduce, inevitably leading to their not-soon-enough demise.
But I guess I should be grateful that someone somewhere has spent enough time researching this sort of thing to invent a little liquid gel that, when placed on a small spot on an animal's back, renders the flea reproductive system useless. If you ask me, that's Nobel Prize material.
So, Jerry and I retreated home feeling utterly guilty, carrying a hefty vet bill and bag full of substance that promised a flea annihilation.
Then, even though I had just spent the last two days laundering everything in our damn house, we piled all of the sheets, blankets, towels, absolutely everything in the baby's room and both of Toby's beds in the basement for another round. Because, thankfully, fleas and their eggs can't withstand even 30 minutes in the dryer.
We also closed all the windows and rearranged much the upstairs, placing all of the baby's other items in a closet that Toby rarely goes in. Downstairs, we piled the strollers and play yard in the kitchen where there aren't enough plush surfaces to warrant a ton of flea-killing attention.
Then I kissed Jerry goodbye, wishing him luck on his mission and left the house waiving to one very confused Toby who had been relegated to the yard.
After a two-hour lockdown, Jerry returned to the house to air everything out, opening all of the windows and turning on all the fans. It was safe to inhabit 30 minutes later, but I didn't get home from work until six hours after that.
Now, over the next few days, I have to stay away from Toby as much as possible until his topical treatment really sinks in and we can bathe him. In the meantime, I will be scrubbing this house from floor to ceiling, shoving everything into the washer and dryer that will fit and vacuuming the carpets until they're practically threadbare.
Then I'll do it again.
Nothing kicks nesting up a notch like a flea problem.