Last Sunday at about 10:00 AM I was running hot and shirtless across a busy intersection near a bike path. Looking at me on the far side was a big dog with a vaguely disheveled woman, hungover maybe, in tow at the end of a steel collar and lead. Unfortunately that’s the best recollection I can muster.
As I veered left a bit, the dog snarled toward me and clenched my right forearm in its jaw. It was tall enough that it didn’t have to jump up. “It bit me!?” I exclaimed as he let go and lurched toward my groin. I leaned back as lady wrestled chain with both hands.
Bleeding not a river, but a decent crimson creek I told the pair that I love dogs and was not inclined to make a big deal of the incident. She said nothing and looked confused. “Thing have its rabies shots?” I asked? “Uh, ya” she finally mumbled stumbling away. Maybe was even still drunk.
That was it. Right side covered in blood, I ran the mile or so to meet my took a shortcut wife who was impressed, then on home to call Dr Brother. “Uh, I think I’d want proof” he said. “Make sure to wash it off well and check to see if your tetanus is up to date”. Hmm, I drove back to the scene then and several times later to try to cross paths and verify. No luck.
Did a bit of research and found that it has been a long time since anyone has contracted rabies from a dog bite in the USA – due to widespread and multifarious animal control measures as well as some 40,000 post incident inoculations annually. Uh, also learned that a horrible violent death follows an untreated case of that viral disease nearly 100% of the time.
Called the county health department to find if there is a record of canine rabies cases in the area. “Uhm let me see: none this year – yet, one in 2011, two in ten, five in ’09, why?” I explained. She took down the whole story, told me that by law dog bites must be reported and that there were more than enough rabid bats, skunks, and coons about for dog owners’ concern to be caused let alone mine.
She’d have animal control undertake a thorough series of patrols, talk to the MD County Health Director, and get back to me. Oh boy. The grim but vivid tales from childhood of torturous dog bite aftermaths overwhelmed my consciousness. Big Needles. In the Stomach. Twice a day for like a year.
“Mr. Dumbass?, this is the county health department calling”. “Hello”. “There’s been no sign of your assailant and our director says that you should begin the inoculation series as soon as possible. Supposed to start within seventy-two hours of the bite and you’re a bit past that. Where would you like to have them?” “Not in my stomach” I quickly responded. “No, I mean which emergency room.” “Oh”.
While typing up paperwork the ER receptionist told me that one receives multiple injections on the first visit. “Last guy took twelve”. I wondered how long the horrible violent death throes might last. “It is based on body weight and that guy was well over 200 pounds so he had several in each shoulder, thigh, and buttock.
That wasn’t bad news. I don’t have nearly 200 pounds and thus likely wouldn’t even have to pull down my shorts. Nurse was cute to boot. One shot in each thigh and shoulder. One at bite site. 0.5ml of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) to top it all off. Have to go back in three, seven, and fourteen days for more. Piece of cake. Oh ya, except for the thousand + bucks.
Shoulda stayed in bed. Exercise is stupid.