Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Better to Err on the Side of Caution - Bat Bite - Part IV
I can't believe this happened to me ...AGAIN! ...is what I said that Sunday night. So what happened? It began storming on that bat bite night and I wanted to go out to get the tubes out of the pool and also look for a hammer that I thought was left on the pool deck. It was very breezy ...in a relaxing way ...almost balmy (if not for the thunderstorm:), with big rain drops coming down steadily ...although not in a downpour. It felt good to be out there. Well except for the fact I was praying God would protect me from the LIGHTNING. I was concerned about that.
So I had already had the back patio light and the spot light on for a few minutes and then when I went out I was also carrying a flashlight so I could see on the dark side of the pool. I gathered up a couple of tubes and was then holding the flashlight (on) up in air and about level with my neck. (I never walk with one like that and don't know why then) Wind ...blowing in a strong breeze, rain coming down and I was now under a tree and near the pool with the garden and picnic table on other side when I felt something bite me near the base of the left front side of my neck. It was more then a mosquito bite but less then a bee sting and really hurt in an annoying way. It was weird in that I felt this instant bit of annoyed anger which isn't a feeling I ever experienced with anything else that has bitten or stung me in the past. Maybe because my neck is more sensitive. Not sure. But it was a uniquely annoying experience. I don't recall swatting it the first time - but remember I was distracted by the storm. being outside on rain soaked ground and under a large tree isn't the optimum place to be during a thunderstorm. I was also thinking of people I know of that were struck by lightning. It does happen - God forbid. Anyway ... when it came right at me again ...I knocked it away with my hand the second I began to feel that sensation. At that point I was wondering what kind of insect would feel like that. Admittedly I began obsessing about the possibility of a bat bite as I was headed back inside. I thought about there being a pond maybe 30-40 feet away and we do have bats in the area. I've even seen them swoop over us while swimming in the pool at night. (Actually - I do have a funny story about my concern a bat sprayed in my eye one night while swimming. My neighbor and her daughter love to remind me of it. :) I'm not sure if I wrote about it in here previously.) Anyway ...you would've laughed if you saw me in the bathroom with a 10 x mirror and then finally with a magnifying glass with a light. I couldn't see anything looking in the bathroom mirror. Hence my desire for magnification. Then I saw the 2 symmetrical punctures with the 10x mirror. But the two droplets of blood in the center of each puncture were only discernible with the bright light from the magnifying glass.
I thought if I could take a picture that I could enlarge it to be sure. I kept trying to get a picture and just couldn't get it and then I tried taking a pic through the magnifying glass ...also to no avail.
Then I woke Mr SeaSpray up to look through the glass and he said , "Oh y-e-a-h." NOT what I wanted to hear from the man who usually downplays everything even when I want him to be concerned.
Then finally I just took a bunch of random bat bite pictures in the dark and then cropped and cropped said pictures in the computer until I got the picture you see above this post. Oh and I got a cloth measuring tape and measured under the magnifying glass in mirror. I did this because I was hopeful that I would read something that would indicate this couldn't be a bat bite. Or that someone else familiar with these critters could tell me it wasn't from a bat. It was definitely smaller than the other bat bite I had in 1999. And that bite was just like a bat bite I had seen on another patient that came into the ER for the rabies series.
The difference between back then and recently is that I had what I thought was a bat bite from one residing under a rug that had been on the line all weekend. It was a large dark rug and I never felt a bite and only noticed the 2 punctures when I went inside. I freaked (sort of) that day because I had seen so many patients that summer get the rabies series. And it looked like what one man came in with on his hand. The same space between the fang marks. Well ...he had a puncture and a tear because the bat bit him on way out of a drawer he reached into. And I could see that bite clearly without a magnifying mirror or glass... and for a few days.
Anyway ...I never heard flapping wings or saw anything either time. I can still see that a bat could've flown out of that lg rug and not have known it but surely I would've heard or felt bat wings this time since I was out in the open. But what else could it be??? What kind of a bug flies at night, in a storm and leaves tiny puncture wounds? Although ...I don't know if a bat would sting under varying circumstances. Or maybe that was the pain of the bite in my neck? But then why didn't I feel anything the last time? Although I had whipped the big rug off the line and then walked off to get the mail.
I set all that up for just in case case anyone might know what kind of insect would/could do that. I also began thinking it was a bat because the back lights had already been on, drawing more of them into the yard as they headed for the lights and then there I was with a light close to my neck and what if a bat was flying in for a bug and instead got me ..twice?
I was so BUMMED about this because I did NOT want to go for the rabies series again ...especially if I didn't need it. Especially since I reacted the last time with swelling lasting in my hand and forearm for years. I believe I discussed this more in the previous posts. :)
So on the one hand I was obsessing... but that part of this SeaSpray was fighting against the Queen of Denial SeaSpray. That being said ...I do think that both SeaSprays knew how this was going to end.
Even though I was concerned ...I was more inclined ...okay the denying ...wishful thinking side of me ...wanted to believe it's wasn't a bat bite. But there is always a couple of killjoys in a group ...well not always and they really are fun ...nice people ...but for me this time ...Killjoys with a capital "K".
I consulted with a couple of medical friends ...one of them an ER nurse I had worked with. Predictably (remember I said we knew how this would end?), they basically said that because I couldn't rule out a bat bite and because rabies is always fatal ...that the recommendation would be to get the vaccine. Killjoys I tell you! Also the nurse said it could've been a baby bat.
I was hoping for a flying snake ...flying spider ...or some kind of flying insect. You know the kind that come out in thunderstorms in NJ while the wind is blowing and the rain is pelting down? Maybe something was blown out of the tree? A SeaSpray could only dream. I even googled but my search was futile.
There is a five day window to get the vaccine, although the recommendation is to get it immediately. Of course I waited until late in the afternoon on the last day of opportunity to do so. (See previous post) It turns out I may've screwed myself too because our insurance states one has to been seen in the ER within 72 hours of the incident. I forgot about that and didn't initially see it on my card. But ...GEE ...TWENTY years working in emergency registration ...I should have known better. Like I said ...denial runs strong in me. The insurance rep went on to say that my ER charges will be covered at regular insurance rates. NOT good for ER charges. But ...hope springs eternal and I will throw myself on the mercy of the rep I call if indeed that happens. a can't blame a SeaSpray for trying. :)
I admonish anyone that thinks they may have been bitten by a bat ...even if they aren't certain, to also go to the ER to get the Rabies vaccine. Because just like my two friends in the medical field and the ER PA that also saw me said ...rabies is always fatal. Most bats don't have rabies, but the disease IS fatal.
And that's all I have to say about this debacle. Oh and I am glad that I did follow through with getting treatment. I should've just gone in in the first place.
For anyone interested, previous posts about this are below or you can check my sidebar. :)
Okay ...one LAST thing about this subject. if you and your family discover that a bat has been flying in the house while you were all sleeping, the recommendation is that the entire family get the rabies series. This is because bat's teeth are so small that you might not know if you were bitten in your sleep.
Needless to say I am a stickler about leaving doors and windows wide open ...especially at night when the lights are on. Lights draw bugs ...and bugs draw bats. need I say more?