Less than three hours after The Great Balcony Debacle & Pet Carrier Carnage, Bat Cat and Shamu Cat seemed just fine. I, on the other hand, was losing the use of my hands. I had ultimately been victorious and gotten Bat Cat into her carrier, but she had left me bloodied. All the scratches were bad enough, but the bites were worse. Bat Cat sank her teeth into the thumb and index finger on my left hand, and the index and middle finger on my right hand. The wounded digits swelled to the point that I couldn’t bend them any more.
I called Judgmental Genius Doctor Sister. At that time, she was merely Enthusiastic Genius Medical Student. Wayyyyy too enthusiastic: “Wow — your fingers swelled up super fast? Cool! Maybe an allergic reaction. How hard did she bite you?”
“Really, really hard.”
“Ooooh, puncture wounds. Why did she bite you that hard?”
“It’s not important. Stay focused. Yes, really deep puncture wounds. Is that bad?”
“Oh, so bad. There’s no worse animal for bacterial infection than a cat and no worse place to get it than in your fingers.”
“Great. Now what?”
“Well, a cat has a really nasty bacterium called Pasteurella multocida, and a deep puncture wound carries it far into the tissue and it multiplies rapidly in appendages with less circulation. Like fingers.” Future Doctor Sis was all revved up with gruesome possibilities. “And then you’ve got bacteremia, septic shock, and multiple organ failure, or all your blood vessels can explode –”
“I meant, WHAT DO I DO NOW?”
“Well,” she exhaled huffily, “isn’t it obvious? Even to a liberal arts major? Unless you want to die, you should go to the Emergency Room, you idiot!”
So I did. And let me tell you, I FELT like an idiot, showing a slammed triage nurse in a Los Angeles ER my swollen fingers and mumbling, “My cat bit me. Maybe someone can see me after you take care of that guy with the gunshot wound?”
Next thing I knew, I was on a gurney AHEAD of the guy with the gunshot wound, with IV drips into my hands and arm. The hospital had to use multiple drugs, the names of which I do not remember. (I could call Doc Sis up and ask, but she’s so busy saving lives – for real, she’s a top-notch surgeon* – that she’s hopefully forgotten about this humiliating incident. No need to remind her. Scientific accuracy is not worth another “you’re a moron” chortle.)
The hospital let me leave many, many hours later, with prescriptions, splinted fingers, and warnings about seeing my regular GP the next day.
For a week I had minimal use of my painful sausage fingers. You can imagine how miserable even the most mundane chores are with almost no hands. If you can’t, well, Kate Crimmins (of Mews and Views from CoffeeKat) has a funny post about the joys of hand injuries. She’s brave enough to include all the details I am too embarrassed to write.
My hands throbbed daily. Even better, my Russian GP had to open, drain, and clean the wounds multiple times. She would sigh, shake her head at me, and say, “You must reelly like khats!”
I did, indeed. The only comfort I had during that long week of lying around was Bat Cat. She would perch on my chest, purr like mad, and rub her jaw along my splints. I liked to think she was saying she was sorry.
But I suspect it was more like, “Remember this next time you try and stuff me in a carrier.”
I owned you, beeyatch.”
* Doctor Sis’ bedside manner is much improved, I swear. So long as you aren’t related to her.