Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Should Have Stayed Home

Warning: if you are unaccustomed to animal welfare, you may find this blog a little graphic. I promise to returned to my regularly scheduled, sardonic posts shortly.

I tried to stay home today. I just couldn't wake up, and the allergies were bad. I've never really had allergies before, but this year and last year, I seem to have discovered them. Right now, I think it's the overwhelming heat (mid-90s) plus whatever else just started blooming. So I called and talked to the person in charge today and said, man, I don't feel good. But she told me we were down 3 people, and that the two of us would be cleaning most of the shelter before we even opened. I said I'd come in and maybe go home once all the shelter tasks were done.

We divided up the tasks and I went into the first area that I needed to clean. I found a dog, very clearly dying of parvo. My coworker and I euthanised him- as he was suffering, and parvo is highly contagious and untreatable in a shelter environment. I returned to this area, the small dog and puppy holding area, and assessed how I was going to clean these cages without removing any of the dogs from the room- standard quarantine period for a room with parvo is 3 days- while I could start the bleaching process. There were three empty cages on the top row of the kennels that I could move the smallest dogs to, so I found one of the tiniest. I opened the cage and stuck my hand in, in a normal, dog-professional manner.

The chihuahua ate my finger. I mean, before I could get out of the way, the dog bit down HARD. He ate through my nail, through my finger, and a serious chunk of my pinky was separated from the main part of my finger. It was intense. My coworkers followed the trail of blood that I left when I walked to the vet room (I was wearing latex gloves, but you know, my finger was severed). I tried to wash my finger, but it was too painful- the water was literally going INTO my finger. My coworkers tried to figure out what to do with me. At one point I was almost carted away in an ambulance. I didn't like that idea. E kept telling me not to cry, I kept trying not to cry, and failing. It hurt. I don't cry a lot, but when your finger is coming apart, it hurts, and hurts bad enough to merit crying. Take it from me.

I called running with dogs, who was kind enough to miss class and drive through the wilds of Oakland to meet me at the Emergency Room. I had a whole entourage- E, my boss, and T. Some how the ER people didn't seem to think this made me a VIP, though, as I still had to wait almost 2 hours to be seen. Triage doesn't mean an almost severed finger gets priority. This wasn't Highland, I didn't see any obvious gunshot wounds... T even promised me she would hold my hand when I got a shot. She backed out of that, but the promise alone brought me to tears, again. E got mad, again.

So finally, a really nice Physician's Assistant fixed my hand. She had to cut the nail all the way off, after she gave me a numbing shot. She put 7cc of something into my hand- It looked like a kosher dill pickle. T left after the shot, and then came back. I didn't watch the shot, but the PA told us we probably shouldn't watch the next part, either. She was sweet- she kindly set up a chair next to my bed but facing away so T could stay but not watch- T declined, because she was going to faint and then we'd both be in the ER and that would be useless. So she left, and I watched the rest because I'm tough. Oh, and I was numb. So she cut the nail off, and then gave me seven stitches. All in the top of my finger! That's a lot of stitches in one tiny finger! Then they put a funny fake finger looking brace on me and sent me on my merry way.

We went and drowned our stress in chilaquiles and mojitos at Picante.

I'm alive. I can't say the same for that nasty bugger who bit me, but really, he was a public safety hazard. He was scared, and forward aggressive, and I'm lucky to only have 7 stitches. He could have really hurt someone (well, he did) and would have probably bitten someone in the face- people carry those little guys around, and are always squatting to pet them.

Unfortunately for me, and luckily for you, all the pictures came out blurry. I'll have stitches in for another week and no nail for a month if you want to come over and see.

I really should have stayed home. Parvo and bites, all in the first 35 minutes of work.

Postscript: Almost exactly a year ago, I was bitten by a dog for the first time, as documented here. Sadly, I was bitten by a cat for the first time this week. Sadly, embarrassingly and slightly humorously, this means I was already on antibiotics to treat the potential infection. Cat's mouths are dirty and too many people end up in the hospital every year for cat bites. Two bites in one week. BAD. I really should have stayed home.


KHB said...

i am so happy you are okay! and im just sorry i wasnt there to help you with your almost severed limb. at least you didnt have to call 911 and crawl out into the lawn for the ambulance to find you.

good luck with recovery (physical and emotional!)

Sarah said...

Ouch! Seven stitches in one little finger is intense. I hope it heals up cleanly!

kikuhana said...

Ugh! I'm so sorry. Wish I could've been there to dry your tears. I know how painful it is.

themacinator said...

thanks, everyone. and kikuhana, that;s sweet, i think, since i don;t know who you are?

thb said...

Well, nothing seems to slow down a dedicated blogger, missing pinkie or not! Wait til much later and you read those postings under heavy sedation and antibiotics, you might be the next Malcolm Lowry!