Wednesday morning: Lisa and Aria asleep in bed all snuggly.
Eric wakes Lisa up with, “Lisa… You might want to take the baby and leave the room..”
Lisa, all sleepy and unperturbed, “why?…”
Eric, casually, “there’s a bat in here.”
Lisa, now awake, alert, confused, “what!?! …Are you sure? How do you know it’s a bat…?”
There it was, hanging from our black curtains, sound asleep at 7 in the morning as the sun was just beginning its ascent.
As I gathered up my little one and Eric searched for a container we pondered how it had gotten in, how long had it been there, was it even still alive… Eric caught it with minimal effort into a little bug container, and we snapped some pics and marveled at how weird it was that we had a bat in our house.
We took it outside, and I wasn’t brave enough to open the container so Eric let it go and we watched it swoop away. Then Eric went off to work and showed off his pics. We showed lots of people and never thought anything of it – you catch something in your house and take it outside and let it go.. Like the bunny I captured in our garage, or birds found terrified on top of a door looking down at the cat that dragged them in, or the armadillo Kristy and I trapped under the recycling bin in our driveway as kids. It’s what one does. And so that was our exciting event and then it was over and forgotten. I did wash all the curtains on super hot, however.
I kept meaning to share on Facebook but didn’t until Friday.
Saturday: Eric and Lisa kicking butt and getting all kinds of chores done. Aria was strapped to Lisa, and baby hand-offs would occur as needed to maximize efficiency between Eric and Lisa.
Then Lisa checked her phone and saw a notification of a Facebook text message from her aunt Sherry.
Sherry, written in a panicked sort of way, explained that bats in one’s home is not normal, or safe, especially with a baby, and we should check her all over.
To be honest, I thought she was overreacting but started looking online anyway. The first thing I found was how rabies symptoms start off like the flu, and once someone shows symptoms the disease is fatal and all that anyone can do is attempt to make the patient more comfortable and watch as it attacks and destroys their brain.
OK, so how do you know if you’ve been bitten?
The most common type of bat here is the small brown bat, whose teeth are so small and sharp it may be impossible to tell if you’ve been bitten.
“Eric!! Come here for a second please”
I share with Eric all that I’ve just learned and he quietly goes into the study and sits at his computer. He asks me to call our insurance nurse help hotline to ask what we should do, while he makes his own calls.
The nurse recommends some places to call, like animal control to see if rabies is an issue in our area, our pediatrician, our doctor or the emergency room. Everyone was closed except the ER who gives me the number to poison control. The lady there was awesome, she gave me numbers to the city, county and state health departments and advised I contact our on-call pediatrician instead of waiting until Monday. Then throughout the day she called me back to see if I’d gotten the info and help I needed and if not she made more calls. The health departments were all closed with someone just taking messages.. No help and no info to offer me. Actually, the county health department guy read some stuff but basically said I should just try back on Monday – later Eric tells me he found something issued by that same health department from last month about how rabies cases are on the rise in our area.. but that was much later that we learned that.
I called the on-call nurse for our pediatrician practice and she called a doctor and called me back with, “take the baby to Children’s Hospital ER. They’ll advise what you and your husband should do as well.”
We had been told now by poison control, the pediatrician, and the insurance’s nurse hotline (after calling back to see if they could tell if it would be covered, which they couldn’t) that we should be safe and get vaccinated, and after reading TONS of stuff online about rabies, bats, bat bites, and the exorbitant price of rabies shots, finally decided it was probably a good idea.
I was so hesitant because we didn’t know if we’d even been in contact, had no idea how expensive this would be, how it would affect our little baby, plus you hear about people getting bats in their houses with no issue. But one thing we kept reading was that if you wake up to a bat in your room, it’s much more dangerous. Especially with a little one.
So armed with all of our terrifying knowledge we fed the baby, gathered up her stuff, and headed to Children’s.
Surprisingly we were called out of the waiting room very quickly and, after being all checked in, her vitals checked, lots of questions asked, were put into our own room. Found out later they like to get tiny babies, especially those who haven’t had all their shots yet, out of the public areas. Very thoughtful. Also kept hearing about other families who had found bats and just had everyone vaccinated. After hearing that a few times I started to feel a lot better and less nervous. I also learned that a two-week old had had the shots and was OK. An entire family of five had been through it earlier in the week.
Once it was determined that Aria was going to be getting the vaccine they collected Eric’s and my information and said we could/should get them as well at the same time. Aria did pretty well while we waited. She wanted to be held most of the time, but was very alert, curious, and quiet. She refused to sleep, even after we nursed. We were there for over three hours because they were so busy, and also the vaccines take awhile to prepare.
Finally three nurses appeared with apologetic expressions and explained the shots were by weight. Aria would get two, one was the pre-thing, the other the actual vaccine. I got five.. Eric got seven. The majority was the pre-stuff which was super thick and burned.. They kept apologizing as they gave them, and offered to spread them out over our bodies. I got one in each arm, each butt cheek, and one in my leg. And was squeamish the whole time. Eric was a trooper and did all in his arms..same place he’d had his two allergy shots that morning. Way to make me look like a weenie, Eric…
We let Aria go last. Eric asked if we could wait outside, and we both fled. Then I heard my poor precious little baby scream in pain and confusion and broke down in tears. My poor little baby.. Eric held me until they called us back in. Her eyes were sooo red from tears and tiredness as it was now after ten at night.
A little more waiting as they needed to keep us to make sure no one had a bad reaction, then we finally got to go home. At this point Aria was pretty upset and would only angrily suck on her paci if it was dipped in this magical sweet stuff they gave us to put on pacifiers – apparently sucking helps take their mind off of pain.
So now we just have to go back three more times over the next two weeks for the follow-ups, which will only be the less painful vaccine stuff.
Yay for making new family memories. Pretty sure everything was covered, but even if it isn’t, it’s worth whatever price to know we’ll all live.
I’d kinda like to keep this little cutie, who was such a trooper.