That bat makes you look fat.

Bat visitor 2009

We went to get rabies shots yesterday morning.

Yup. Rabies.

Remember that whole bat thing?  Well, apparently if you wake to bats in your bedroom when you’ve been sleeping, the right thing to do is to go get shots just in case:

  1. The bat managed to quietly and calmly crawl on some exposed area of your body and bite you as you slept without you realizing it;
  2. The bat was foaming at the mouth as it careened around your bedroom and happened to drip saliva into your a) open snoring mouth; b) open wound; c) other exposed mucous membrane (my imagination falters here, which is probably a good thing).

And all of this assumes that the bat in question has rabies to begin with.  Of course, if you manage to catch the thing your local county health department will usually test it for you.

Did we catch ours?  Sure!  Well, we caught one bat which we’re pretty sure was the same one we failed to get out of the house on the first try.  But really it’s hard to know.

Fine.  Did we take that bat to get tested?  No.  Because at the time, I was busy freaking out about getting the damn bat out of the house instead of scouring the interwebz for what to do when one gets a rogue bat in the house.  Silly me.

So, without evidence to the contrary, we have to assume that the three of us (me, M, and G who was sleeping in our bed) may have been exposed.

Rabies is 100% FATAL if you contract it.  100% FATAL.  Got that?  Scared?  Good.  I was, as well.

When M got that bat out of the house (caught, by M wearing heavy leather gloves, in a kitchen colander with a piece of cardboard to trap it inside by M wearing heavy leather gloves), I started checking online for the protocol.  Oops.  Failed on the whole bat test part.  But calling the health department to talk about where/how to get shots?  Yeah, we could do that.

M called the health dept, and left a message.  No call back, no call back.  At the time, we didn’t know that it takes rabies up to two months to incubate.  The stuff I’d read online didn’t say anything about that.  So I was ready for G to start foaming at the mouth any minute and for M to run outside and start chasing cars.  (Not me though — apparently I wasn’t worried about myself going batshit, go fig.)

In desperation we called our pediatrician’s office, and left a message there as well.  Luckily, they actually called us back.

“Go to the hospital.”

“Now?  We called the health department’s hotline, but they haven’t called us back yet.  Are you sure we have to go right away?”

“Well, Dr C said you should, so I’d say you should.”

“Ok. Right.  We’ll get on that then.”

See, it turns out that the health department doesn’t do shots.  They contract it to the county hospital’s ER.  Yeah, the ER.  Fun.

So we packed up G and our wonderful nanny, K (we weren’t sure if she might need shots, too), and headed out to the Room Of Sickness. It’s like the Room of Requirements from Harry Potter, just, well, completely different.

At the ER we tried to register.

“Hi, we’re here to possibly get rabies shots.”

“Ok, well, did the health department say you should get them?”

“Well, no, but we tried to call them and they didn’t call us back and our pediatrician told us to come here right away.”

“Well, they have to authorize it. We’ll see if we can get hold of them. What happened? Name? SSN? Weight? Stripper Name?” (Ok, not that last part.)

Really, they treated us as if they get people coming in all the time asking for rabies shots they don’t need. Some novel form of drug-seeking behavior. (I just need my rabies shot, man!)

After LOTS of time (probably only an hour or two, but it seemed like longer as there was no-where to sit, and we had to hold G because we hadn’t thought to bring the stroller and we didn’t want him wandering around the ER… those of you who’ve had to hold a toddler who doesn’t want to be held for any amount of time know what I’m talking about) they called us back up to registration and put us on the phone.

“Hi, Mrs. _?” (perky, helpful, I’m-about-to-give-you-bad-news-please-don’t-hurt-me-voice)

“Yes.”

“I’m M______ from the health department. Have they told you anything yet?”

“Um, no.”

“Ok. Well, see, right now there’s a shortage of rabies vaccine and we can only authorize shots for people with confirmed exposure.”

“Uhhhh….”

“But we’ll be getting more on Tuesday! So you can come back then, we’ll authorize it as soon as the shipment arrives – I can call you Monday to confirm. And don’t worry, it takes two months to incubate, so as long as you get your series of shots sometime between now and then you’ll be just fine.”

“Ok, right, thanks.”

“So sorry for the shortage!”

“Right, no problem.”

I didn’t go into the fact that I was pissed that a) the health department didn’t call us back sooner to tell us this before we left the house, or b) that our pediatrician’s office had only added to our panic rather than soothing it and gave us bad advice.

I mean really, it wouldn’t have helped. And the health department chick really did sound sorry… and very afraid. Again like someone who’s had to deal too many times with hysterical parents who want rabies shots for their babies RIGHT THIS DAMN MINUTE, I DON’T CARE IF SOMEONE ELSE WHO’S ALREADY FOAMING AT THE MOUTH NEEDS IT MORE!

So I made soothing noises, got off the phone, just thankful that we didn’t have to hang out in the ER any more.

***

Fast Forward to Thursday morning. Tuesday and Wednesday mornings I had too many AM work calls for a morning visit to work (at least, not without waking at an ungodly hour which just didn’t seem necessary seeing as we still had something like 1 month and 25 days before rabies-ageddon) so we waited until Thursday. M and G and I (with stroller this time, score one for us!) took ourselves off to the ER.

Our strategy for going early worked well. There was only one other person in the ER waiting room when we got there, and I’m not entirely sure they weren’t just there to watch whatever was on the TV.

We got called back to the triage room quickly, where a very nice intake nurse took our vitals. Have you ever seen the blood pressure cuffs they use for toddlers??? Those things are TINY. They’d be cute if it weren’t for the fact that you know they’re all too often used in very unhappy situations. Luckily ours was not one of those. Though G really didn’t like the cuff at all and it took two verses of The Wheels On the Bus before he stopped bucking and protesting, and even then he wouldn’t do his characteristic “swish swish swish” for the wipers…

Nurse: “Ok, what do you weigh? They’ll weigh you when you get back there just to be sure, but I have to note it down. And [M], how much do you weigh? Ok, and how about G? “

Me: “20 pounds.”

Nurse: “Ok, 20 pounds.”

M: “Well, you know, the last time I stood him on the scale he was 22 pounds.”

Nurse: “Ok, so 22?”

M: “Well, it’s just a bathroom scale, it’s probably not all that accurate.

Nurse: “Ok, so 20?”

M: “Well, you’re going to weigh him back there anyway, right?”

Nurse: “Our scale is a bathroom scale, too.”

M: “You don’t have something more accurate?”

Me: “Just say 22. Thanks.” (M looked at me as if to say, “Why are you giving false information?” so I said to him “You brought it up so we’re using it. If you didn’t want to use it why bring it up?”)

So 22 it was. As it turns out, they didn’t weigh us later. They use the weight to determine how much of the vaccine to give you. But I figure two pounds was probably within tolerances, even for a small child, so I let it go.

There was a bit of a long wait while the pharmacy sent over the right amount of vaccine, but then it didn’t take long for us to all get our stabs. They weren’t fun, but they weren’t as bad as I’d heard they might be. M got 5, I got 4, and G only got 2 (administered expertly by two awesome ER nurses at the same time one in either thigh so it would be over quick).

My little man was AWESOME. He cried of course at first because it hurt and really pissed him off. But after a few minutes, he was back to his smiling self and charmed all the nurses on the way out by waving and saying, “bye bye!”

We have to go back for three more stabs over the next 10 days, then we’re vaccinated for life. If we ever have another exposure, we’d only need one booster shot and that’s it.

So. We are all now nursing sore upper arms and thighs and glutei maximi, but that will soon pass and we pray for no more bats this summer. Because, while we no longer need fear death at the hands of diseased bats, waking up to them in the middle of the night still sucks ass.

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11 Comments on “That bat makes you look fat.”

  1. k~ Says:

    Good Grief Charlie Brown! I do not like bats flying about, I do not like them when I’m out, I do not like them near or far, I do not like them in a car, I do now want them in my bed, I do not want them on my head. There is no place for them to be, except outside, away from me!

    I worked at a place in Northern Montana that was way out in the boon toolies. Each night, just as the sun began to hide, the bats would come out by the hundreds! No kidding, they covered the windows to the building. I got a really good look at their undersides as a result, and frankly, they scare the bejeebers out of me. I am almost glad I did not know what you just shared then, because I would have already had my shots too! Danged winged meeses.

    Reply

    • Venus Says:

      Hahahahaha! To be honest, I kinda think bats (when they aren’t rampaging through my house) are cute. But I don’t think I’d still think that if they came out every dusk and completely covered the windows of the building I was in!! Sheesh!

      Reply

  2. Missy Bedell (@literalmom) Says:

    My gosh! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about this! Sounds like a bit of an ordeal, but I’ll admit – you told it hilariously! (Is that even a word?)

    Reply

  3. Kristiina Says:

    Oh my goodness, what an ordeal! I’m happy you wont be getting rabies though.

    Reply

  4. Bre Says:

    The whole time I was reading this I was covering my mouth in shorror (shock/horror). This is just crazy! Glad y’all got it all sorted out. For the most part.

    Reply

  5. Amanda Says:

    Wow! Here’s to no more bats again. EVER.

    Reply

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