Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hopped Up on Immunoglobulin, or No Good Deed Goes Unpunished by a Shot in the Ass

My mother says you learn something new everyday. What I learned today is that you should never try to put a stray cat in a box, no matter how friendly they seem. I also learned that the modern rabies vaccine is a literal pain in the ass.

On our weekly walk-and-gossip session, my two friends and I ran across a small black cat, mewing in the path and generally being lovable, if walking kind of funny. Given that it's Halloween soon and we trust frat boys about as far as we can throw them, we decided that it would be best to see the cat taken to animal control. We got it to follow us home, and I called the police to come pick it up, and then went outside to try to lure it into a cardboard box with some wet cat food.

This is, of course, where it all started to go very wrong, because kitty did not want to go in the box, and I had gotten a burr that the cat was going to go. It was for his own good, clearly.

So he got close, and I grabbed him. I got him into the box, but only for a few seconds, during which time he bit both my hands, chewed up my right pinkie finger, and left assorted gouges in my person. I eventually gave up and let him go tearing off, with a few choice swear words to hurry him on his way. The amount of blood dripping, combined with the fact that the cat was apparently composed of pure evil, suggested that a trip to the E.R. was in order, post haste. I grabbed some homework out of my apartment and W and H kindly drove me to the E.R., despite my insistance that I was perfectly fine to go by myself. Insistance that was, admittedly, a tiny bit of a lie as I wasn't entirely sure where the E.R. was, but whatever. I could have figured it out.

Anyway, I get checked into the E.R., wait around for an hour, and finally get called back to wait a tad more, with a quick stop at a sink to wash off the intervening accumulation of blood. This reveals a deep puncture wound near the thumb of each hand, as well as a relatively mangled pinkie. The doctor comes in, takes a three-second look at my hands, and says, "When was your last tetanus shot?" I say, "High school sometime." He goes out again. I wait for my tetanus shot.

Some time later, the nurse returns and says, "Well, it looks like you're going to need six shots." She starts prepping syringes.

I say, "Habbada? Six? He said one. He said tetanus!"

She goes out again.

The doctor comes back and says, "Well, I should explain the course of treatment to you." I nod and suppress an eye-roll. "We're going to give you a tetanus shot. We're going to have to start you on the rabies vaccination series, including some immunoglobulin. And I think we're going to go ahead and get some X-rays of those hands, so we can see if there are any bits of teeth left in there, and so if you get a bone infection we'll be able to see what's going on."

I nod. I'm a nodding machine. He goes out again.

The nurse returns and I get my tetanus shot. As I'm putting my arm back through the sleeve of my shirt, there's a knock on the door. It's the radiologist. "Ready?" she says. My nurse looks surprised. "Uh...yeah, I guess." Apparently she knew nothing about X-rays, but off I went with the radiologist to hold my hands in positions odd and painful for someone with puncture wounds. I narrowly avoid cracking my skull on the machine as I stand up and head back to my certain doom.

As I get back to the exam room, the nurse is laying out seven syringes. "Looks like it's actually going to take seven more shots," she explains. "One for the start of the rabies vaccine, and then six immunoglobulin shots to help your body fight off any incipient rabies. Pull down your pants."

So I get seven more shots: the rabies in the left arm, and two of immunoglobulin in each of the left hip, the right hip, and the left front thigh. As W said when I walked out, my career as a pincushion is looking promising.

And now I have to go back four more times to complete the rabies cycle, although I managed to negotiate that last shot so I don't have to find a hospital while I'm in Ireland next month. On the upside, my insurance covered everything, and I got a prescription for Vicodin, coolest of painkillers.

Plus, for the entire day tomorrow I get to run around going, "Guess how many shots I had last night?" and totally impressing people when I say 8. Immunoglobulin, tequila...whatever they want to assume, it's no skin off my nose.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm so putting that second one on a T-shirt

Awesome commentary I received when I gave my students an evaluation about what I should take off the syllabus next semester:

"Titus Andronicus — not one of Shakespeare's best"
"Pride & Prejudice — a book about marriage? Come on, nobody cares."
"Poetry — poems are the most worthless form of writing"

Awesomer yet: all from one kid. Whose handwriting I recognize.