Battle worn from two seemingly successful skirmishes with our uninvited guests, the disgusting little bat(s), I retreated to my room and Rankin slept in theirs. Morgen, meanwhile, surfed the internet for exposure to bats. She found out the following:
- If infants are in the same room with a bat, you have to assume rabies
- If a sleeping (or drunk) adult is in the same room with a bat, you have to assume rabies
- Rabies is 100% lethal if not dealt with within the first 10 days of the virus infecting humans
My good friend who works at the CDC, Dr. Eric Tai, confirmed what Morgen had read, as well as their Los Angeles based pediatrician. Suffice it to say, we were in the emergency room getting the children inoculated the next day. I was going to do the same since I had been sleeping in an enclosed bat ridden room at my parents in Atlanta two short weeks earlier. However, the Michigan doctor told me that since I was past the 10 day window from initial exposure in Atlanta, it was too late for me. If I had contracted it, I was a goner. Not what you want to hear from a man trained in the medical sciences.
(Side note. . . if you are ever exposed to a bat, you need to save it. The first three doctors we talked to all asked the same question; “did you keep bat?” They asked as if the logical reaction to bat attacks is the trap the little deviant and throw him in a freezer. Of course we didn’t keep the bat! Well, if we had, they could have pocked holes in the bat instead of us.)
The next day, it was time for me to return to my Asian home. On my entire plane ride back to Asia, which is a LONG flight, every imaginable pain and discomfort I had; leg cramps, sneezes, slight headaches, etc., I was CERTAIN that it was the first symptoms of my now fatal disease of rabies. Certain.
I got back to Asia only to find out from my sisters that the CDC and the State of Georgia both felt that inoculations were effective to the point of first onset symptoms of rabies. They had had their three boys, the veterans of “Camp Meme and Pops”, already in for the first round of rabies shots. Better safe than sorry. For you keeping score at home, that is five kids around me whom were inoculated for rabies.
My sisters and Mom begged. . . I gave in. I agreed to enter the cycle of rabies shots here in Asia. Now the final count was up to seven.
One of my great local friends in this city, Eric, graciously volunteered to help me figure out how to get rabies shots here. It was an adventure finding the infectious disease clinic (see the above picture), but we made it. We found a small room where everyone in there was getting rabies shots. It was funny, in a strange way, to see an entire room dedicated to and lined with rabies patients. The mother and son before me both had been bit by the same dog; he on the wrist and she on the foot. She had to have her shots in the foot. It was not pleasant. I imagine that dog has already met his maker.
The doctor gave me the option of either coming back for all four of my shots or taking the medicine with me and finding someone to give me the rest of the shots. I chose the latter, seeing that it is a solid hour by car to get to the clinic. My good friend here, Michael Gregory, armed with freshman level biology and the experience of his friend that used to make Michael give him his diabetes shots, is now my pseudo-doctor.
This past shot was administered in our weight room, just after a workout. This is the reason we look like we had been recently run over by a train. I know. . . I know, the wife-beater shirt is a little over the top. I wouldn’t wear it anywhere outside of Asia, but it is REALLY hot here. Hope you enjoyed and were able to laugh at the video footage.
Surprisingly enough, there have been some unexpected benefits of my rabies shots! First, I have been wanting to cut back on caffeine for years. After living on the road for five straight weeks this summer, I had taken my caffeine addiction to new heights. My time was filled with jet lag, little exercise, meetings packed upon meetings, and free coffee available at every turn. Put this together and by August 1, I had a raging crack-like addiction built up to caffeine. Well, the doctor here told me that I had to cut all caffeine intake completely off during the shots. The first week was AWFUL, but I survived. Now I am sitting on day 25 without caffeine and feel great. So this is definitely a benefit of my rabies scare.
Second, as Rankin pointed out in his sermon at the 12 minute mark, I am now free to play with rabid animals for the next five years. Pretty excited about getting into wrestling matches with a few of the mangy, battle worn dogs of Thailand the next time I am there!
Anyway, with the randomness of my life, often traveling the world over in some pretty dicey areas, just thought it was ironic that I went all the way back to Atlanta, to the very home of which I was raised in, only to be exposed to a life threatening disease.