Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Little Bit Batty

I wouldn't be writing this if Ben Affleck was flying around my bedroom---but when a bat with Michael Phelps' wingspan put on a drunk airshow in my living room, I did what any logical adult would do: I called four doctors, a scientist, animal control, and the health department. I figured the CDC would be overkill.

For all those unfamiliar with the second largest order of mammals, let me give you a fun little fact about these webbed nightmares---they can transmit rabies.

As sure as the sun will set (and that Britney's next album will be a roaring success), OCD will rear its ugly head at the slightest sign of illness or disease.  There is no worse time for me than when I'm in the throes of an OCD episode. So after the bat was finally killed (husband with a wiffle ball bat and a mediocre swing), panic ensued. Since around .005% of bats are thought to be rabid, you can surely understand my trepidation.

Let's begin with my doctor buddies: they gave me the all clear. No one appeared to be bitten or scratched and the bat was now dead and tossed in our woods.  I was reassured for about an hour until I discovered the CDC website on rabies.  Apparently bat bites can go undetected during sleep, and their tiny fang marks can be nearly impossible to detect, especially if one is a child or in an inebriated state. I have a child, therefore I also have nightly wine. Shit.

The health department confirmed my fears. A post-exposure rabies vaccine (which is a complicated series of expensive shots given over a month's time) is recommended if a bat enters a bedroom where one is sleeping unless the bat can be tested and ruled out for rabies---so in comes animal control. They need my bat. Unfortunately it's been tossed in our two acre woods without a proper marking or gravestone. I scour the forest for signs of the corpse, but to no avail. Finally, a very irritated husband comes homes from work and retraces his steps. Alas, we have our suspect.

I'm not usually one to partake in Google reviews, but I must say that Macon County Animal Control gets five stars for efficiency. They came faster than a delivery pizza, placed the bat in their vehicle, and drove it straight to a Springfield laboratory for testing. 

I must also give accolades to the Health Department for their role as liaison. They called to inform me that the bat's brain was indeed testable, but that I would probably need to call the lab for results since I was technically next of kin.

My dear, headless bat finally got a clear bill of health. If he still had a heartbeat, there would be nothing stopping him. Turns out he was one of the 99.9% of bats without rabies. Go figure.

I've since been told that I may have overreacted. What can I say? I'm batshit crazy.

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