Saturday, September 1, 2012

Remember that time I almost got rabies?

How I almost died. 
So today, despite being beautiful and filled with fun activities, I almost died. In a chain of events that surprised no one, I was bit by a dog. Actually a puppy. A very small puppy. And yes, I might've backed it into a corner so I could more easily pick it up, but that's not important. What is important is that I survived.
On our way back from some way awesome tombs(more on that later), I stopped to rescue a puppy(also, more on that later). One of the puppies tried to run away from me, obviously misunderstanding my attempts to grab it and shower it with my love as "aggressive movement." I followed/chased it around a building and into a corner. I just almost had it when it bit me. Just on the hand, above the wrist. It was shallow and didn't hurt, but it broke skin and bled a little.
But did I let this life threatening wound deter me from this puppy? Fuck no. I grabbed that puppy by the neck and I drowned it with love and affection. However, after a quick look over I decided that this puppy was in fine health and could survive on it's own. It was a born and bred street dog, and it didn't know it needed my love. So I put him back down and focused on the more sick and feeble puppy.
Upon telling my compadres that I had been biten I was immediately advised to go to the hospital, but I wasn't worried. It was, truly, hardly a scratch and I had an adorable, needy puppy to focus on. However, once we got back to Tagore I began to think "hmm, maybe I should get this checked out." So like any responsible, sentient being, I googled it. After reading a report of an English woman who just got scratched by a dog then died of rabies three months later, I decided I really should go to a clinic. I mean, there are much more exciting and less excruciatingly painful ways to die. Like a shark attack or getting mauled by a tiger... at least ways where I won't end up in a hospital bed.
While I was busy eating dinner, Skyping my man, and showering, dear Trudy was researching nearby hospitals and booking taxis. At 10 o'clock sharp-ish, Trudy, Diana, Marrianna, Kaia, and I were off to Apollo Hospital!
I won't lie, I was getting quite nervous. Although I really didn't think I had rabies, I really didn't want a rabies shot. I don't even mind shots, but I'd heard that rabies shots are notoriously painful and have to be in your stomach muscles. I didn't want that.
After what seemed like hours, we got to Apollo. It was actually a very nice hospital, very clean and quite Western. We all went back into the ER and I was ushered into a rolley chair right by the center nurse's station. I told a doctor what had happened, he got another doctor, and then I told him what happened too.
Apollo Hospital
Doctor: What is wrong?
Harper: I was bit by a puppy.
Doctor: Was it a pet?
Harper: No, a street dog.
Doctor: When did this happen.
Harper: Uhhh, 6pm?
Doctor: Was it provoked?
Harper: What?
Doctor: Was the bite provoked?
Harper: Oh... well, uh I guess. Probably... yes. It was.
Quite soon upon arrival the other girls decided to go wait in the coffee shop in the lobby, since our group was taking up a lot of space. So I sat there. Alone.
Very quickly I was told that I would be receiving two shots; one tetanus and one rabies. So I sat in my little rolley chair and waited. The ER was probably average size, but since it's India there is no concept of privacy. I looked incredibly out of place. Here were all of these obviously sick people, laying on their cots, crumpled in pain, and me. A small redheaded white girl who can't NOT pet puppies, even though EVERYONE tells her not to.
One of the beds had a little boy, maybe 4 or 5, on it with a big bloody head-wound and a bunch of gauze over it. While I was sitting, they loaded him into a wheelchair and stopped right in front of me to exchange paperwork or something. He was so small, completely being swallowed by this huge wheelchair and swaddled in some scratchy hospital blanket.
I took the red Styracosaurus 
Hey, mom and dad? Remember earlier this summer how you guys got all upset with me for stealing a small, plastic dinosaur from a display at Nordstrom's? Even though Nordstrom's is a giant, stick-up-their-ass, caucasian, "We don't believe in sales" company? Remember that? Good.
So I took a small plastic dinosaur that's been in my purse for a while and gave it to him. He didn't smile, which was fine because he bad a big hole in his head, but I do think he liked it. He seemed a little less defeated as they wheeled him away.
In not too long a nurse came over with two syringes and told be to roll up my sleeve. At first I was confused. Were they really just going to give me this torturous rabies shot in my stomach muscles right there in my rolley chair? Fuck yeah they were.
Then the nurse rolled up my sleeve, wiped it down with some vodka(alcohol soaked cotton ball), and shot me.
Nurse: Other arm.
Harper: [points at second shot] In the other arm?
Nurse: Yes
Harper: What shot was that?
Nurse: Rabies. Tetanus, other arm.
And then it was over. Just like that. And I didn't even get cartoon bandaids over my punctures.
I paid, probably under-the-table since it was with cash, checked out, and walked out. My whole life-saving medical treatment, including cab fare and the chocolate shake I got at the coffee place where the others had been waiting, was all less than $20. Technically I have to go back and get another shot in two days, then a week, then two weeks, then another two weeks, but whatevs.
So you know what this means? Soon I will be immune to rabies. So Indian dogs, cats, and furry things, except the monkeys: get ready for a whole lot of ginger love.

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