Thursday, October 2, 2008

Once bitten, twice shy?

Or...... maybe not. You would think I would have learned my lesson back in the mid-90's when my cat Cricket, who is 14 years old now, attacked me for no apparent reason and bit me on the forearm twice with four puncture wounds. Miraculously, I didn't get an infection as cat bites are very toxic and nearly 50% percent of the time lead to bad infections, sometimes requiring hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics. In the worst cases, it can result in surgery.

Cricket has always been a contentious cat and we've always protected the grandchildren and any other visitors from her. She's very unpredictable. I call her the "witch" cat. We've been having a problem with her since we got Angel, our white, completely deaf cat. Apparently, Angel doesn't understand the house rules that establish Cricket as the Queen Bee. She can't hear Cricket's hissings, spittings and various warnings, so she challenges Cricket, usually on a daily basis. Up to this point, I've been dealing with this problem by keeping Cricket sequestered in our bedroom. She eats her food there, sleeps beside me on the bed and even uses a litter box under the desk. During the day, she usually stays outside. Lately, I've been letting Angel go outside and experience the outdoors like the hearing cats.

Tuesday evening this became a scenario that had I foreseen the outcome, I wouldn't have intervened. The two cats were having a standoff, and it looked as if this time the fur would fly. Usually when they get to this point, I just pick one of them up and remove them from the situation. Unfortunately, I chose to pick up Cricket and obviously she was zoned in for the kill and wasn't about to let her mommy get in the way of taking out the interloper once and for all. So, she attacked me, again. She scratched and bit me several times. She is lightning fast, so she was just a blur. I slung her off my arm and kind of screamed, because it hurt like a son-of-a-bitch.

I rushed into the house and immediately started washing, washing, washing the wounds. Trying to get out as much bacteria as I could. I was bleeding all over the place, so I got an old tube sock and cut a place for my fingers and thumb and tried to get as much Neosporin on it as I could. I also took ibuprofen for pain and inflammation.

By Wednesday morning, my forearm was red, swollen, hot and tender to the touch. I didn't want to go to the ER and my doctor isn't in the office on Wednesday, so I decided to wait and see her on Thursday. By Wednesday evening, I knew that decision had been a mistake, because I had a red streak going up to my armpit. David made his nightly call (he's in Germany) and could tell right away that something was wrong, so I confessed my stupidity. He insisted that I go to the ER immediately. Now, that might sound like an easy thing to do. Just hop in the car and go. Well, I had three little grandchildren to think about and they hadn't yet been fed their supper. We struggled through chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches (I ate a little broth and they ate very little) and then left for the Urgent Care Center. We waited there for over an hour and as soon as the doctor looked at it, she told me to go straight to the ER because I needed intravenous antibiotics. I protested because of having the kids with me, but she said she would call ahead for me and apprise them of my situation so they would take me in right away.

The phone call must have done the trick. As soon as I checked in at the front desk, they whisked us back to an exam room with a promise of popsicles for the kids if they were well-behaved. Speaking of the grandkids, they were very well-behaved, being alternately upset and shedding tears and extreme curiosity about the procedures being done to Grammy. We were there for about an hour with the I.V. taking about 30 minutes. By this time, I was really sick with flu-like symptoms. I was barely able to get the children home. We washed faces, brushed teeth and they were so worried about me they didn't protest when I told them I wasn't able to read bedtime stories or sing songs. As soon as they were settled, I fell into bed and waited till it was time for Daniel to be home at 11:30 so I could call. Then I still had to wait until Aimee got home from work at 1:30. She came and got the children and took them home and made sure I was okay.

I felt a lot better this morning, but the infection had spread beyond the marks that the ER doc had made and I was under orders to return if that happened. So back I went, this time sans grandchildren, and was put on another I.V. I'm also taking Augmentin by mouth. And now it's starting to hurt badly from all this typing, so I'll post a second installment when I'm feeling better.


Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

Oh dear Susan! This is very scary news! I do hope you are on the mend now and feeling better. I sure wish I was your neighbor so I could help you out!!! You poor thing. Will David be home soon to help out with the grandkids?

Please get better and let me know your progress! Sending warm thoughts your way.

Susan said...

Thank you, Amy, for your kind words and concern. I'm feeling better, but the swelling and redness are still pretty bad. I'm going back to the ER today for a follow-up. I hope they don't have to admit me. It doesn't really look like it has improved much. David will be home tonight around 9:00. That is, if everything is on schedule. That's always iffy when you're flying into Washington Dulles on a Friday.

I wish you were my neighbor, too! We could have so much fun comparing chickens. Aimee did find someone to watch the kids last night and that helped. I was able to take 2 vicodin and sleep all night, something I couldn't do if they were here.

I'll update you later. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. I'm glad you are improving. And do you now have a cat-skin rug in your living room??? Bad kitty!

If your plans change and you are able to come to the Apple Fest let me know! We could have you over for dinner after the festival. An old friend of ours lets us park ourselves on her front lawn so we get some good seats for the parade.