Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tetanus Tuesday

July 1995:  Received my second tetanus shot at the Adair County Fair. The Adair County Memorial Hospital was giving away free shots. It had been 10 years since my last one. Awesome.

August 9, 2012:  Received my fourth tetanus shot because of an incident at the Shiawassee County Fair.

The scene:  After a hearty dinner of brats and delicious sweet corn with the extended Kiesling and Riley clan at the camper, my sister-in-law, niece, nephew and Dan's brother's girlfriend headed to the horse barn. 
(You know what's exciting about being married? Kim is my sister-in-law now, not just Dan's.)

As we strolled through the barn, Brenna and Henry (niece and nephew) wanted to pet the horses. So, I thought that I would be the 'test dummy' - who sees if the horse with his/her head near the gate is friendly and nice enough to allow a little petting. Things were going along swimmingly. In fact, at one point, while I stroked a horse's face, I thought, "Hmm. This (the fact that I was really enjoying petting horses) is proof that I am away from animals too much." Normally, I'm not a big horse 'petter.'

Then, as we were nearing the exit of the barn, we saw the last horse with his face near the gate. I tested him with a little pat. He seemed fine. Kim and Henry came up and were petting him. Then, I pet the side of his face...and he reached over and nipped me!

We all jumped back, startled. I've never been bit by a horse before. In fact, I've never really been bitten by any animal before. (although once, I kicked at a sow and my foot went into her mouth. Remember that, Matt? She did not bite down. All was fine.)

It was a small bite - not any larger than the diameter of a pencil eraser. First, it turned white around the outside and in the middle. It stung. Then, it started to bleed.

We headed to the arena were all the guys were watching the steer show. I told Dan that we had a "medical emergency." Brenna started to get freaked out by the cattle and what had just happened with the horses. She said, "I am never touching a horse again." I felt guilty - for I don't want my poor choice to pet that horse to cause her to write off horses forever.

Dan, Tim, Brenda, and I headed to the first aid building. When I informed them that I had a horsebite that needed to be treated, they looked at me incredulously. "A horsebite?"
Yes. A horsebite. For goodness sake, we are at a county fair where there are horses present.
They informed that all they could do for me was clean it up.
Great. That is exactly why I came to you, actually.
Then, they told me that I should probably get a tetanus shot.
"Probably - like I'll be okay if I don't get one?"
"You should get one...sooner rather than later."
"Sooner - like I will be in Tucson next Monday and get one then OR I should go get one right now?"
"You should probably get one before you're back in Tucson."

Umm..okay. Thank you. Very helpful advice there, medical professionals.

Very soon afterwards we ran into Dan's Aunt Polly, a nurse, who informed me that while tetanus shots are good for ten years; once you're past 5 and you get bitten, scratched, step on a nail, etc. - it's time for a new one, and I had a 72-hour window to get one. Excellent. Thank you, Aunt Polly for that very helpful and timely advice. :)

So, I got a tetanus shot on Thursday morning at Walgreens.

My bite is healing very nicely. My arm did not fall off. My jaw did not lock up.
It was so small that most people looked at it and said, "Oh. I've never seen a horsebite that small. I've seen much bigger."  Later in the week, one of the EMTs recognized me and asked how my horsebite was doing. How nice that he remembered. Must've been a slow week. :)

In fact, the Sunday that we left to come back, Brenna checked out my bite and said, "Oh! That is healing very nicely."  She also made multiple trips back to the horsebarn during Fair Week - so apparently, she was not traumatized.  (She's still not crazy about cows, though.)

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