Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stomach Shots

I understand that rabies preventative shots, those given after one is bitten by a rabid animal, are no longer administered in the stomach as they used to be, but in the arm muscle. That would be a relief, because I can’t think of many things more disturbing than having to get a shot in the stomach. I tried to stay as far away from mad dogs as I could, not so much because I was scared of them but I didn’t like the idea of the inevitable shots.

An older female student in one of my classes showed me her finger today. It isn’t what one might think. She showed me the index finger of her right hand. It was crooked and short to the point of being a bit grotesque. She worked at a pet grooming shop and last year a pit bull got ahold of her hand.

“I was walking a lab back to his enclosure after a bath,” she said, “and a freshly groomed pit bull, which was ordinarily gentle, jumped on the lab I held by the collar. The pit bull chomped down on my finger and I pulled back instinctively almost losing my finger and spouting blood all over the place.”

The ambulance took her to the local hospital where the doctor sewed her up and told her to consult a hand surgeon. That night, the wound became discolored and sent red streaks up her arm. She had a bad infection and drove to Little Rock for treatment and surgery. She had a terrible time fighting off the infection and half her finger is now a metal screw.

My students will write a persuasive paper in that class and I told the wounded lady she could write about that experience as long as she could make some sort of advocacy. It was then that she started talking about her exorbitant medical bills and her employer’s insurance problems and an attorney she had retained to deal with the financial difficulties. I asked her if she had to get shots in her stomach, but she said no. I think hers will make a super paper as long as she writes it non-digressively.

Speaking of digression, I remember one time when a neighbor boy and I were walking home from junior high and we cut through the lot where a circus was making preparations for their shows. Beside one of the trailers was a spider monkey chained to a stake. Even though the creature fussed as we approached, my neighbor went up to it and reached down to pet its head. He drew back a bloody hand and we rushed home. He had to get several shots in his stomach because of his overfamiliarity with a primate.

Digressing further, I remember when my bicycle riding companion got bit by a dog we had nicknamed Gummy Griffin. Gummy was an old dog that lived at a house whose mailbox said “Griffin.” We named him Gummy because of his old age and floppy-lipped bark. But he was not gummy. He had teeth as my companion found out the hard way. After Gummy had done the deed, my friend walked up to the door of the house. Gummy didn’t bother him but sat wondering what was going on. My friend said to Mr. Griffin, “Your dog bit me.” Mr. Griffin replied, “I ought to kill him.” My friend said forcefully, “No, don’t do that. Keep him up for a while. I don’t want to get shots in my stomach.”

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