Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Corporeal Forms Were a Mistake

This is just me whinging like the old woman that I am about my physical complaints.

When I started interspersing sprints with my walks I noticed that my ankles were a little more wobbly than I would like. I gave up running on my toes for this reason; I didn't feel sufficiently well balanced.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that this was not enough of a protective measure, when my left ankle turned on a stride and sent me sprawling. I scraped up my right knee and my right palm pretty badly. Both are mostly-healed now, although still scabbed. My left ankle twinges a bit occasionally but was not badly twisted and is also mostly back to normal.

On Thursday, I came down with a sore throat, which developed into an actual cold on Friday and Saturday. The sore throat was mostly gone by Sunday, but I still have a cough now. My main resentment of this cold was that if I get sick, Lut gets sicker. He had no symptoms on Friday night so I was hopeful that he might escape it.

Saturday night, Lut asked me to go out for orange chicken. When I left the house, the stray tom cat that occasionally appears wandered over and mewed at me and rolled around by my feet like he usually does. He's been coming around for months, and while he likes being petted all right, his big thing is mewing and rubbing against things near me, like the ground and fence posts and things. Not necessarily actually me, although sometimes. He's a little weird. Anyway, I bent to pet him for a moment, then continued on. This was not enough attention, so he ran in front of me to get more and I nearly tripped over him. I knelt down to offer apology pets and he was like "you kicked me! BAD HUMAN" and bit my hand. Hard enough to break skin. Ow. I continued on to the quest for orange chicken, which involved driving for an hour because I was zoned out and did not realize I had ordered online from the wrong Panda Express until I showed up at the one I thought I'd ordered from. When I finally got home, I washed and put antibacterial goop on the bite and bandaged it. In retrospect, I should've gone back into the house to do this immediately, because cat bite, but I don't know that it would've made a difference. 

By Sunday morning, Lut had a sore throat too. >_< And my cat bite was obviously infected. I ate breakfast, went to the cheese shop to pick up cheese and jams and sausage for our Christmas dinner, came home, discovered that several of my purchases weren't in my bag, and went back to the cheese shop. When I finally got the last purchases, I decided to stop putting off going to urgent care about infected cat bite on hand. I looked for an urgent care that was on the route home, didn't find one and picked on 5 minutes away in the wrong direction. 

First Urgent Care: "We will give you an appointment in two hours, or you can go drive to another location and see someone in 30 minutes."
Second Urgent Care (fifteen minutes from the first and also in the wrong direction): "Oooh yeah that looks bad, you need to go to the ER, here's one nearby."

By now I was sick of driving around inner Emerald City and decided to just go to the Centerpoint ER where Lut and I know half the staff. So I drove the half hour to Centerpoint. I would say "this might not have been the best choice" but honestly Centerpoint saw me very quickly and I spent probably less than 30 minutes total just waiting on some stage of treatment. 

My nurse, Molly came to bring me to the PA for diagnosis: "Your PA today is Lacey."

"I remember Lacey!" 

Lacey had been the PA when I brought Lut to the ER for the first time, a year and a half ago. She remembered Lut too; we'd seen her once since, in passing, since then. Anyway, I remember Lacey fondly. Lacey ordered blood tests and an X-Ray of my hand, and sent me back to get an antibiotic IV, a tetanus shot, and an anti-inflammatory for the pain. My hand didn't hurt a lot, but it was annoying. She was going to give me a narcotic for it and then I was like "I have to drive home" so she gave me Toridol instead.

She also tried to talk me into getting the rabies vaccine.

Now, this is actually a complicated question, weighted by various factors:

* If you can tell that someone has rabies, it is already too late and they are almost certainly going to die.
* The post-(potential)-infection (but pre-symptoms) rabies vaccine is super annoying. It's not as bad as it used to be, but it's still a series of four shots, one of which is pretty painful ("we inject the site around your already-inflammed bite wound with as much vaccine as we can"), and then you have to come three or four more times over the next 12 days to get the shots again.
* The rabies shots are expensive, like thousands of dollars
* there has not been a domestic animal with rabies in Kansas City in, like, the last 30 years.

That last fact is the one I kept circling back to. When I was bitten by a dog a couple of years ago, I talked to animal control, and they sent out a guy. And he reassured me that I did not need to get a rabies shot because rabies is incredibly rare in this area. The dog's behavior was unusual -- it ran out of a yard and attacked me while I was riding my bike along the street -- but that's within the range of normal dog behavior. Sometimes they perceive bicyclists as territorial threats and think we're attacking them. The cat's behavior was even less unusual: I knew it was upset before it bit me; I was trying to soothe it. I ahve been bitten (not this hard, granted) by cats before. The cat was pretty much the same way he had every other time I've seen it over the last several months. 

I looked up statistics, and in my entire state there'd been 20 confirmed cases of rabies in animals, all of them bats or skunks, in the last year. That's the whole state. Two of those bats were in my county. Two. 

Granted, these are understated -- they only test animals if they have a reason to care about that particular animal's infection status -- but still. If I'd been bitten by a bat, I would definitely have gotten the rabies shots. Or a skunk. Or actually any wild animal, because any wild animal getting close enough to bite me would be acting VERY STRANGELY. But this was a cat doing, let's face it, pretty normal cat things. That the cat bite got infected doesn't affect the chances of rabies (remember, if you can tell you got rabies, it's too late). Taking it more seriously than the dog bite, when the dog's behavior was way more aggressive (I had tripped over the cat and done nothing to the dog) doesn't make sense. 

Anyway: number of known rabid cats in my state in the last ten years: 0.
Number of confirmed rabies infections in humans from cats in my state in the last ten years: 0.

Odds that I got rabies from this particular cat seem SUPER LOW. Like, lower than the chance that I would die in a car accident driving to and from the follow-up visits to get the remaining shots after the first set.

Anyway, I waffled (because rabies is deadly) but ultimately declined the rabies shots. If I die from rabies in the next 3 months, you know the thought process that led to it happening and that you, too, can become an outlier statistic in the worst way. <_<

My hand is feeling better today, but Lut is doing worse. He coughed through most of Sunday night, and at one point nearly vomited (but didn't.) The almost-vomiting worries me, since I didn't have any attendant nausea. On the other hand, Lut gets random nausea now and then from the immunotherapy treatments, enough so that his doctor prescribes two different anti-nausea drugs to manage it. Lut hasn't needed them much recently, but still. 

He wasn't running a fever last night and hasn't wanted to go to the ER, for which I cannot blame him. If he gets a lot sicker than "I have a cold oh and also cancer", I will try to bully him into going to the ER. But his immune system is not completely shot anymore, and the last few times we've taken him to the ER for cold-like symptoms, it was "2-3 days at the hospital where Lut soon feels better but the hospital can't figure out what's wrong and won't discharge him until blood cultures are done (and also don't show anything wrong)." The last hospital stay, the insurance refused to pay for the second day because even they thought the hospital was out of line in keeping him. (The insurer made Centerpoint agree not to bill him, too.) Moreover, one of Lut's biggest problems is staying comfortable and being able to sleep, and the hospital magnifies both of these tremendously.


Hoping for a Christmas without any ER visits. Well-wishes and prayers appreciated.

Oh, and I saw the stray tom this morning. He's still acting totally normal, including trying to trip me when I got up after petting him. Dude. You're gonna give me a heart attack. (But I want him to keep coming around because if he does start showing any rabies symptoms I will revisit my decision to not get the shots. Rabies is only infectious during/shortly before symptoms show, so if he's still fine in a couple weeks then I'll know he wasn't rabid when he bit me.).

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