October 18, 2010

A Tiny Intruder

Do you know when you last had a tetanus shot? Yeah, neither did I. Until tonight.

A little before 7pm, just as I started to think about whipping up some dinner, I heard a thump from the kitchen that usually means somebody with a tail is about to get scolded. A moment later, Patrick saunters out of the darkness with a mouse in his mouth. He strolls over, gums it onto the carpet, and gently bats at it.

As you might imagine, I'm somewhat less than keen to watch the Great Marmalade Menace torture the little fellow. I grab a paper towel, scoop up the terrified critter, and look him over. He's frozen in fear, but he isn't bleeding.

I tell him I'm not going to hurt him, pet his head with what I hope he'll interpret as reassurance, and head outside. I'm not thrilled that I've been unwittingly keeping company with a rodent, but surely he's got as much right to live as I do.

It's dark, so I head across the driveway to trigger the motion sensors. He's squirming a little now, but I don't want to just drop him, so I stoop to set him free.

As if in response to some theatrical cue, he emits a defiant squeak and sinks his teeth into my left index finger. It hurts, but only a little — until I try to pull him off me. Convincing him to disengage without getting rough takes some patience, and when he does let go, it's only to sink those choppers into my right thumb instead. Once he realizes he's better off legging it than trying to make a meal of me, he lets go for good and scurries off into the night.

Back inside, Patrick demands to know what I've done with his prize as I wash my miniscule wounds. I'm in mid-sentence, telling him what a wonderful little bad-ass he is, when I realize that I haven't considered for an instant what diseases my evicted erstwhile tenant might have.

Could I have been exposed to rabies? Set myself up for a nasty bacterial infection? Something worse? Wouldn't a physician need the mouse itself to be sure? Crap.

Within minutes I have a nurse on the phone, and learn that though I'm not in much danger of turning into a were-beast in the next couple of hours, the sooner I get treatment the better.

So off I go to Glens Falls Hospital. They wash my hands, spike my arm with a tetanus shot, and put me on antibiotics. Good news: it turns out I don't need to worry about rabies after all. As the attending physician dryly put it, "anything that might've given that mouse rabies would've destroyed it."

Not the way I would've chosen to spend a few hours on a Sunday night, I suppose, but hardly any great nightmare in the end, right?

Somewhere out in the wilds of Washington County is one lucky little mouse. If you're reading this, Squeaker McBitehappy, feel free to leave a teeny check on my porch to cover tonight's co-pay.


jasblum said...
Very nice story in the end, the digits probably don't think so, or the arm, or wherever they stuck you. Mice generally don't like their heads or faces played with, kind of like 12 year olds who hate having their heads patted. Like the doc said, don't worry too much about it unless you suddenly crave cheese or want to gnaw. Take care.

Jason Blum

Cameron Lewis said...
Maybe it was petting him that set him off then. "Don't patronize me, human!"

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