Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hard Winter

Hard Winter

I know that the account below doesn't compare in the least to what many veterans are going through.  It doesn't compare to being a new amputee in a Boston hospital.  And it doesn't compare to garment factory fires or building collapses.

I was talking with my sister who is a year and a half older.  She had a couple of muscle injuries and someone asked her if she didn't think it was just middle age.  Her reply was, "Yah, but it was all so Quick!"  I totally identify!

Trigger warning:  If you have ever been seriously bitten by a dog you may want to skim or skip my account of being bitten, though it wasn't serious enough to need invasive medical treatment.  If you have had rabies shots in the abdomen (I escaped that fate) you might not want to read my account of a seven shot series.

Hard Winter

Last Dec. I fell, injuring my back.  While taking codeine and muscle relaxers I forgot the dog's heartworm meds.  So I will pay for another test next month.

I couldn't walk the dog and when a friend did the dog was allowed to roll in something truly Foul.  My friend has enough sinus trouble that it was just an unpleasant smell.  I nearly threw up!

When lifting a Flailing and writhing  48 pound dog over the side of the tub to bathe him I heard a pop and something in between my ribs hurt so bad I just kept kneeling by the tub, gasping for breath.  But I bathed the dog as best I could and got rid of Most of the stench!

I couldn't sleep on one side, it hurt to cough, laugh, sneeze, etc.  No point in going to the Dr.  They really can't do anything for even a broken rib and I didn't think it was as bad as that.

After several weeks it was beginning to heal and the canary's cage really needed cleaning.  As I was scrubbing out the tray from the bottom of his cage I heard that same Pop sound again and the same place hurt, making it hard to breathe.  NO More scrubbing out Anything in the bathtub, where it is most easy to clean the cage!

It is still very sore.

The weather has been alternating between too hot for a normal April and Cold and raining, drizzling and occasionally snowing a bit for weeks.

Advil (the cheap version) has become a daily friend.

The cat has been sick so that when he uses the litter box I want nose plugs!  And because I can't afford a $400 to $500 medical work-up we keep messing around with buying differing kinds of food, giving him health gut bacteria, dosing him for a month with liquid antibiotics, and canned food.  When a cat doesn't want to be found by his deaf-blind owner he Isn't found.  I had to keep coming up with new ways to trick him, which I mostly Didn't enjoy, in order to medicate him.  I am Very thankful to my sighted hearing friends who took part in helping me find him when they came by! 

I am also Very thankful that my cat is very Good about taking meds. Once he is caught.

A week ago from yesterday I was on my way, in my own yard, to the compost can, which is closed, using my cane.  As I was carrying a covered compost container which I would have to open and dump, after opening the compost can, I wasn't sure I could handle the dog on his leash, so I used my cane.  A neighbor's dog must have been frightened by my cane, though I never contacted it (thouched it with the cane).  So it bit me and ran away.  When I yelled that somebody had better come and get their dog out of my yard because I had just been bitten the neighbors who I could hear talking went dead silent.  Nice, huh? 

If someone had come to talk with me I would have asked if the dog's shots were up to date.  If I believed the "Yes" I would have probably heard I would have just goine inside and cleaned the wound and that would have been the end of it.  If I didn't believe them I would have gone to the ER. And that would have been the end of it.  But that "hiding from the blind person" crap Really pissed me off!

I could tell I had puncture wounds when I went inside and cleaned the wound on my calf myself becaused it Burned. 

When I was young rabies was a major problem here and it still remains a problem, though not a major one.  No cases of rabies this year in my county.

I honestly wasn't sure what to do.  I was SO Angry!  I called the non-emergency number for the police to ask and was immediately transferred to Animal Control.  The officer there said that since I couldn't visually identify the dog or prove whose mutt (my word, not his) had bitten me I should go to the ER. And have a Dr. talk with me about rabies shots, oh joy!  So I did.

After cleaning the wound several times the Dr. recommended rabies shots. He stated that there were three levels of risk in assessing whether someone should take the shots.  If a dog who could be proved to have its vaccinations up to date had bitten me then the risk was low and I just needed to take an antibiotic to prevent bacterial infection.  If vaccination records could not be traced to a veterinarian the risk was medium.  If the dog was a feral dog or if I were bitten by a skunk or other wild life the risk was high and not taking the shots would Definitely be against medical advise.

The Dr. stated that since I couldn't identify the dog visually or prove where it had come from he would recommend the shots.  I had no idea whether the dog was born in this county or came from a place where rabies was a more significant problem.  All I knew was that the dog had gotten into my fenced back yard.

I asked if there was any treatment once a person began developing symptoms of rabies.  The Dr. said no, not really.  I asked how many shots and where they would be given.  The Dr. went to check.

When I was a kid we lived in the country and my father worked in town.  We had rabid skunks.  People from Springfield and other small towns would drive out into the sticks and dump their unwanted dogs, so the dogs couldn't find their way home.  Those dogs who survived packed up to hunt better.  I remember running inside with my sister who is sighted while my mother got a gun and shot skunks which chased us, (not normal behavior) or dogs who were obviously sick and chasing us.  I took seriously those Westerns in which someone was bitten by a rabid animal and tied to a tree at their own request to die.  Those and the stories of 14 anti-rabies shots in the stomach, the pain and the mass of bruises a person's abdomen became were my horror movies.

When the Dr. came back to say the shots weren't given in the stomach anymore and there would be seven, not 14, I agreed to take them.

I got one in the thigh which hurt the worst at the time, one in each upper hip, and one in the arm on the side of the bite.  The only shot I have Ever had which hurt worse was when we had an outbreak of hepatitis B at the school for the blind.  Everybody got a shot.

After those four shots I almost remembered what it was like to not be able to sit down for a week.  I felt like I'd been in a fight and Definitely Lost! The nurse apologized for the pain but said the medicine was very thick and not easy to push through the needle.  It made little sore lumps which stayed sore for several days.

On Monday I was back for another shot in the arm, then again yesterday.  Only one more shot to go next Saturday, Yeah!

I didn't write about this earlier because I was too scared and couldn't stop cringing each time I heard a neighboring dog yapping.  I think I know whose dog bit me but have no proof.  The dogs of those neighbors have gotten in my yard before and tried to attack both my dog, who was tied near the garden where I was working, and a friend who was working with me.

I hate feeling vulnerable and try Hard to live so I'm not, to the extent possible.  On the other hand, if I stopped doing everything which scared me I'd never get out of bed.

There are many things to be Thankful for in my experience.  First, the dog bite didn't require stitches, plastic surgery, or other serious medical intervention!  Second, I did Not have to take 14 shots in the stomach.  As much as those suckers hurt I can't Imagine what they would feel like in the Stomach!  I was put on antibiotics which have made me queasy and when I told the Dr. that when I took the drug he prescribed I couldn't leave the bathroom he advised me to eat yogurt each time I took a pill.  This has helped tremendously!  The antibiotic cleared up a low grade ear infection I did not even know I had.  And I was bitten Before the Mo. State Legislature took away my Medicaid!  They're going to try and do it again this Summer, Instead of Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which they could do with Federal funds.  I hate the attitudes around here, Often!

The Sunday after the bite and four shots I helped de-sod the new garden spot.  I had the Wonderful help of a friend from our Buddhist group or Sangha.  It hurt, but when you are disabled and you have help, you Work!

The garden was set up in too shady a spot last year and has to be completely moved.  Right now we are more than caught up from the drought of the last two years, a blessing.  The ground is too muddy to work, so I'm glad we did it when we could.

The weather has kept old injuries to my back and ribs sore and my stomach has been queasy.  But today was my Last antibiotid, Yeah!

Sometimes, even when I know my problems are Much less than so Many other people, it is hard to be thankful just for the horrid things which Didn't happen.  Still, I try.  I just don't always Feel thankful when I Think and Know I should.

One Great thing which happened is my purchase of some Fair Trade beads and items to use in decorating One-of-a-Kind doll outfits!  I am Really looking forward to being creative with these things! 


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