So this morning, per the ER doc’s recommendation, I headed downtown to the county health department to chat with their epidemiologist. Contrary to my expectations, I was taken right in, and seen quickly. I’ve kind of been nonchalant about the whole bat thing, until my friend pointed out the whole ‘saliva’ thing in the comments on The Bat- evidenced by the fact that it was nearly two weeks post incident and I hadn’t considered freaking out.
Yeah, not anymore. The county epidemiologist was visibly aghast that the ER hadn’t started the shots on Saturday, and cursed a blue-streak at the incompetency of that particular hospital. He told me next time I had any medical needs, to skip the little valley hospital I had gone to and head right downtown to one of the two very large hospitals. One of which he promptly phoned and told them he was sending me over and gave them instructions to fast-track me and get me the immunoglobulin with the vaccine started stat.
I asked him if that was really necessary- logic girl briefly overriding the internal shrieking of Tootsie-pop girl, and he looked at me and said, “Why risk it? If you were my daughter, I would have gotten you treated last week.” Evidently, by day 14 treatment should be started. Saturday was day 13. Today is day 16. He ordered extra immunoglobulin, which is, Google tells me, like supercharging the vaccine.
Okay then. Let’s get this circus on the road!
I drove over to the ER of the big hospital- which so happens to be the hospital to where I’d had X committed against his will and had his civil rights terminated back in the darkest of dark days. I hadn’t been there since. It was weird- but oddly cathartic, too. No gut-lurch, no pain… just detached, kindly observation of a life that no longer exists.
They were waiting for me in the ER, thanks to the phone call from the epidemiologist, and whisked me back to a room. Inside of about an hour, I had five (massive!) shots of immunoglobulin in my behind, a fresh rabies shot in my left arm, and a shiny new DTaP shot in my right arm. Everything hurts- but the peace of mind is painless. I have to return for four more shots over the next 28 days, but it will only be one each visit. And I can play with rabid animals now with abandon. Here, Yeller…! Come on, boy…!
Next time you have a bat in the house- don’t touch it. Don’t go near it. Bats are the main vector in almost all of the US for rabies transmission. Raccoon and skunks are next in line- but bats are the leaders by far. The risk is still very, very small- less than 5% infection. Yet, rabies is terrible in that once symptoms appear, it is fatal- there is NO cure. It’s also a blessing that if you get treatment quickly, it’s 100% curable. You just can’t wait and see. And really? Why roll those dice?
Thus ended the lesson of the bat.
p.s. I AM SORE!!