Rabidity

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Emily went to camp on Sunday. Six days of horseback riding and walking around in 90 degree humidity. Woo Hoo!

Six days in which I can attempt edit, and think of syllabi and start to figure out the classes I will be teaching as of September 2nd.

Six days to re-litter train two obstinate rabbits who have gone all "Attica! Attica!" on me - parsing their protests in urine and the throwing of hay.

On Monday, the phone call came at noon. The message on the answering machine was vague.

"Great", thought I, "the kid has melted down and is sobbing in the office of the camp director, demanding to be sent home."

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Emily and I have been taking the Cousera course on Vaccines.

The format is hardly intensive. Listen to a lecture of about 20 minutes, answer some questions at the end. She and I watch the lecture videos together and answer the quiz questions.

She has been interested and attentive in the history of vaccines; how they were made and the diseases they were developed to combat.

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When we finally got to speak with the camp director, it was not an issue of homesickness.

"The girls in your daughters cabin opened up the side vent and they think a bat flew out. Since no one can tell if the bat was in the cabin all night, and bat bites are very small.... the Health Department recommends that the girls all receive the vaccine for rabies as a preventative measure."

Come again? 

I might have started to giggle before the death ray glare from Terrance snapped me back to the present.

"Oh my. What a way to start camp...", my voice is sympathetic to this young woman calling us; one of 4 parental groups to whom she has to break this bizarre news.

Terrance glares at me.

The rest of the day is a blur as we talk with public health officials, local doctors, and the camp director. We learn about the "new "rabies vaccine which is only 5 shots over 2 weeks in the shoulder instead of the "old" series of 23-30 shots in the stomach.

I know that Emily knows what I know about rabies. We watched the lecture together, after all. Louis Pasteur worked first on the attenuated version to fight rabies in Paris. It was later that the vaccine available today - the killed virus version - was created. The attenuated version occasionally killed the human subject, but given that rabies without vaccine is 100% fatal? It was a risk worth taking. Even today, rabies is fatal once the vaccination window closes.

I know she knows all this.....

We finally speak with her on the phone. "What do you think,sweetie?", I ask. "Do you see any new red bumps? Do you think you have been bitten?"

She is oddly calm. "Well, I would rather be safe than sorry", she says. "If I have to get the five shots, it's no big deal", she trails off.

Huh? This child flips the frak out with dry heaves at having a blood draw and now she is cool and collected about having 5 shots to prevent rabies?

"Well", she reasoned, "I don't really want to die..."

In the end, we decided to not have her vaccinated and she was all right with that decision.

She never ceases to amaze me.

I think the kid is all right.

1 Baleful Regards:

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

Your little girl is growing up, or is bending to the party line, so rationally accepting the idea of needles. Of course the hypothetical "idea" is a whole different thing than the painful "shot in the arm". Things might have spun out differently when it actually came down to it. Also, on that subject, wouldn't a person actually KNOW if they'd been bitten by a bat???? So happy to hear it all worked without having to resort to needles=torture. :)
Rosemary

 
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