YO! ZMK Knits!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Be Really Really Careful What You Wish For

I was lamenting the fact that I had no good blog fodder lately. I haven't the ability to make the mundane sound funny or even remotely interesting, like some other bloggers. I even took pictures of myself trying on dresses in the dressing room at Lord & Taylor so I could blog a rant about dresses with pockets on them that seemingly helps one be able to scrach her cootch, but then even I lost interest.

Then I had a fun little health scare concerning the cat bite I showed you in my last post.

I figured everything was going along okay until late one Thursday afternoon (May 1), when ZMrK called me at work to let me know that I had a message from Animal Control.

Whoa, shit. Animal control? What would they want from me?

So, I called and asked for the woman who had called me, and was told they were closed already.

Then I started to get worried.

The 10-day quarantine was probably up for the cat that bit me. What if it turned out he had rabies? Maybe I should have just gone for the treatment straight away. These days, it's a series of shots in the arm and one near the bite wound, it's not that "25 shots near your bellybutton" that we always hear about as kids.

I hoped they were just calling to say, "he's out of quarantine and fine."

I shit a couple of bricks that night, figuratively speaking, of course.

I called the next morning (Friday, May 2)and the woman who had called me was out until Sunday!!!! I had a conversation with the man who answered the phone, who took my address, phone #, etc. and I got this info from him:

-- In the past 3 weeks, there had been as many cases of cats turning out *positive* for rabies.

-- If my case was one of them, I would have heard from the Board of Health by now.

I didn't think things would be so laid-back if the cat was, in fact, rabid. It had been reported to the shelter, my doctor, the board of health, the shelter's insurance company, and animal control, so hopefully that was enough to get the proper info and medical attention to me if need be. I mean, wouldn't the Board of Health be pounding at my door if I had been exposed to rabies?

I began to think that I could turn into a cat at the next full moon.

The same day I spoke with someone at the MSPCA, and even though she couldn't tell me definitively that Max (the cat that bit me) came out of his quarantine okay, it sounded pretty positive that he did.

I breathed a little easier.

I didn't get to speak to the woman from animal control until Tuesday, May 6.
She was calling me because the first she heard of the incident was from the Board of Health, who were notified by my doctor.

The shelter is supposed to notify Animal Control of the incident, and A.C. is supposed to do the quarantining (I think).

The woman from A.C. had been talking with the shelter, who had been "unable" to find the incident report I filled out and therefore don't know which cat bit me.

Isn't this all nice???

Yet, the shelter was able to get my info to their insurance company, PLUS they were able to tell my doctor that the cat was not up to date on his shots, yet they didn't have the info for animal control and weren't returning my calls either.

Breathe breathe breathe.

She told me of seven recent rabies cases in Mass.: 2 on Cape Cod (owned cats), 1 stray cat and 1 skunk in W. Roxbury (the community next door to us), 1 owned cat in the Fenway area (possible vaccination failure), 1 cat in Mattapan (not far from us), and this one, the most horrifying of all.

The dog was adopted from a suburban branch of the same shelter where the cat who bit me was.

I called my doctor. I gave the story to her secretary, who kept saying, "oh God, oh God" and typing it all down. Nice when you can make a medical secretary freak out, isn't it? Gives me the warm fuzzies.

I began to think that maybe Rabies is the new Zombies.

My doctor called me later that day, and said that when she last spoke with the shelter on April 28th, the cat was in quarantine and was fine. That would have been day 8 of the quarantine. She told me she ws going to do some "detective work" to find out what happened the last two days of quarantine. She didn't want me to go through all the rabies shots (especially seeing how much I hate getting them) if it turns out the cat is fine.

Almost at the end of the same day, I spoke with the supervisor at the shelter, who told me that Max got through his quarantine and got an a-ok bill of health from their veterinarian. She said she had left a message for my doctor, and will call the woman at Animal Control as well.

Yay!!! It's over!!! Right?

The next day my doctor called me with some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that I most definitely do NOT have rabies.

The bad news is that the shelter had to have the cat put to sleep and tested for rabies. He bit TWO MORE PEOPLE since he bit me. The shelter didn't tell me this, but they did tell my doctor.

I decided to contact the woman from Animal Control, to see if she had been told as well. She hadn't, and was still waiting to talk to someone, because she needed the paperwork for her records and for the Board of Health. Dude, she was pissed.

She finally got a hold of them and will send me a copy of the letter that they sent her.

This is the story she got: He bit or scratched someone on the 24th, while still in quarantine, and on the 25th or 26th they euthanized him and send him to the state lab for rabies testing (you unfortunately can't do the tests without putting them down), and got those results back on the 29th.

Dude, the 29th. Of April. Meanwhile, as far as my doctor was told, he was still in quarantine and "fine" on the 28th, which would have been 2 or 3 days after they put him down. I can't believe it took this long for us to get answers, and took so many different people. But yeah, dude, I'm going to get a LETTER that officially says that I got bitten by this cat, they did this, this and this, and tested him for rabies, and it's negative, so I don't have rabies. There's one to frame, huh?

Oh, and the next time I get any bloodwork done my doc is gonna test my titres. I was vaccinated against rabies in 1992-ish when I was working at an animal shelter and had to drive an ambulance around the city and pick up wildlife and shit. I may have immunity. Hopefully I'll never have to test it again, but it would be cool to know. It's pretty cool to be able to say that I'm vaccinated against rabies.

I can't wait for the next full moon. I wanna see if I turn into a cat.



Blogger Batty said...

Just so glad you're OK. I can't believe the cavalier attitude these people have when it comes to several people's lives, for crying out loud! And finding out if you still have immunity is good, just in case.

4:53 PM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

The day you plop down in the middle of the living room floor and start licking your cooch - that's when I'd start worrying.

That's some messed up paperwork. Communication? Yeah, they can has none.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Bezzie said...

Tell Mr. ZMK to get the giant litterbox ready!

7:15 AM  
Blogger Poops said...

I was just remembering the end of "Old Yeller" and hoping for better for you...

7:49 AM  
Blogger meg_knits said...

First, SO GLAD that you are okay, but I would watch for whiskers anyway....

Second, your story pretty much sums up just about every experience we had living in MA. Horrible bureaucracy, no disclosure, an inefficiency bordering on negligence!

And to be on the safe side, don't bite your husband, ok? Who knows what the state would do to you!

8:02 AM  
Blogger Yvonne said...

Wow, that's some mess you got in the middle of! Glad to hear you're ok though.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Eileen said...

No hairballs, right? You're fine!
(Those fracking idiots...what a mindset.)

You're fine, though. I know you are.

10:15 AM  
Blogger SiressYorkie said...

Fucking hell. I cannot beLIEVE they put you through that. Rabies cases are usually red flags all over the place, right down the line, because of its incredibly contagious nature.

I'd start my own letter writing campaign and even contact my delegates. I would even contact the local news stations and blow the lid off the whole thing.

The way you were treated was cruel. Not just thoughtless, but CRUEL.

But above all, I'm glad you're okay.

BTW, you don't need to have rabies to lick your cootch. I'm just sayin'...

3:08 PM  
Blogger Macoco said...

What a horror story! I'm glad that all turned out well in the end though. I was vaccinated for rabies when I worked at an animal hospital and always felt a little cool about that. ;)

6:39 PM  
Blogger Morticcia said...

If you went to the JP shelter in the back of Angell Memorial, they are a bunch of hacks. I volunteered there for a couple of months and the techs were obnoxious, and as I said before, hacks. I so wanted to help out animals but I couldn't take the people.

Before moving to the burbs 9 years ago I have had many dogs and cats treated at Angell. I even had them put down my favorite rat, Charles Wallace. Half the time we had great care, the other half I wanted to file complaints.

I'm so sorry to hear you had to go thru this. I send my donations to Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem now; at least they are a no kill shelter.

3:18 PM  

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