austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Let's build an antiseptic world full of artificial people

Let me get the important news out: we don't have rabies, and we're not going to get rabies, and we can prove that.

The backstory: last weekend we woke up to a weird noise, which proved to be a bat in the bedroom. It probably squeezed in under the attic door, and it seemed to be in reasonably good health, so I chased it downstairs and, after getting it to cling to one end of a green cloth grocery bag, I carried it out of the house. This is the time of year when baby bats emerge from the colony and learn how to fly, and like kids of all species, they're kinda dumb, which is probably why it went into our bedroom instead of the great outdoors and couldn't figure out how to get out by going back the way it came.

Anyway. Public health officials in the United States have since 1999 recommended in case of waking up to see a bat that you get a rabies post-exposure inoculation, just in case, because you might have got bit by a rabid bat without feeling it or noticing the bite marks. And after a lot of going back and forth about whether we could be at risk, the fear of just sometime in the next year waking up with what feels like a case of the flu, then losing our minds and dying, got to be too much.

Annoyingly, the first shots have to be given in the emergency room, even though it strains the meaning of words to call our case an ``emergency'', and we waited patiently while reading stuff to, I imagine, the relief of the emergency room staff since we just sat there reading instead of being tense or anxious or bleeding or anything. My favorite moment of the process --- bunny_hugger noticed my ``impish grin'' about this five minutes later --- was when we were signing forms, and the emergency room guy told me that this was the HIPAA privacy form, there wasn't anything to read, and didn't turn the computer monitor over so I could see it.

The rabies shot itself is just one little jab in the shoulder that I didn't even feel. It was accompanied by a tetanus jab in the other shoulder which I needed because I am not up to date on any immunization ever, best as I can tell. And there'll be some follow-up rabies shots come Friday and the next two Tuesdays. But they also had to give an injection of globulin for the very first shot, and that's a substantial amount of fluid (and weight-dependent). We got jabs in each of our thighs, and then the nurse horrified bunny_hugger by saying there were four more to go. Yes, that's six globulin injections, two in the thighs and four in a more fundamental part of the body. I only really noticed the last two of the jabs, and they were all a lot less bother than the needles I get for blood donations. The guy giving us the injections said we took it better than average. We were pretty good-spirited about it, yes, including mild nervous joking, but better than average? I guess the average is a terrified kid staring in horror at many, many needles.

By now it was past midnight and we drowned our sorrows in a trip to the diner, for a very overdue dinner, and then off to the hipster bar where we played some pinball and collected the shocked condolences of our bartender. And now I can go around telling people I'm provably non-rabid, so there's that.

Meanwhile over on the humor blog, I have another bit from that Battle of the Frogs and Fairford's Flies book which caught my imagination. Also running there since last week's ``The Journey, By Train,'' which I didn't take, were:

Please enjoy.

Trivia: The Colossus of 1812 was a covered wooden bridge across the Schyulkill River in Pennsylvania, built by Lewis Wernwag, with a 340-foot clear span. It was destroyed by fire in 1838. Source: Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America, Henry Petroski.

Currently Reading: The Battle of the Frogs and Fairford's Flies: Miracles and the Pulp Press During the English Revolution, Jerome Friedman.

Tags: humor

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