Dog bites

YOU know I got bitten by a dog when I was young. What you probably don’t know is that it happened thrice. I still remember, quite painfully, the dogs’ names by heart—and not just their names, mind you, but their fierce growls as their sharp incisors dug deep into my feet: Pluto, Rocky, and Rocky II. (My brother, Sean, named the dogs in my house; when I took over the naming, I called one dog “Benjamin” and another "David").

[Read this and this.]

It’s funny then that you’ll be seeing me at the Anti-Rabies Unit (ARU), manning the clinic on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays. I totally get what my patients are going through. At some point, when my mother dragged me to the hospital to have my shots—I never had them; the doctors said they were unnecessary given my minimal injuries—I thought I was going to die.

The patients come in all forms and sizes. I had a nine-year old girl who got bitten by a dog twice. (When I see pediatric patients, it’s like I’m in a different planet, talking to different life forms). She was pretty in her gray dress. When her mother left her in the clinic (with me and Ma’am Michie, the kind nurse) to buy her tetanus shots, she burst into tears. The first impulse I have when I’m left with hysterical children is to find a sedative. There was nothing around.

I also had patient—twenty-something, nerdy, with cat’s eye frames—who came in for cat scratches on her arms. Rabies doesn’t just come from dogs—one can get them from cats, rice, even squirrels. It wasn’t the first time this had happened to her, but she got worried because the cat eventually died. “Of what?” I asked.

“My vet said she had pneumonia.”

“How many cats do you have anyway?”

“Uhm, I have nine.”

These were rather benign cases, but this morning I saw a 40-something man who was mauled by an askal. He sustained avulsions on his right leg, his left trunk, and many abrasions all over his body. He had been to the emergency room a few days ago, already had his shots at a private hospital, but decided to continue his treatment at the ARU—the medications are cheaper.

“That’s one big dog,” I said.

He looked at me, and in his eyes was hatred for all canines.

I like to think I’ve gotten over my fear of dogs, but I still tremble at the sight of an open gate with a poodle lurking in the corner.

One thought on “Dog bites”

Leave a Reply