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You can't make this stuff upPosted Saturday, August 30, 2008, at 8:54 PM
As I was in the kitchen putting dinner together this evening, my daughter called.
Since she calls me roughly 75 times a day even when absolutely nothing is going on, I wasn't particularly concerned when I picked up the phone and said, "Hello."
Our normal conversations, no matter how many times she calls each day, are relatively brief -- something new my five-month-old grandson did and she just had to share, a sign she saw on the highway and just had to share, something she heard on the radio and just had to share -- she likes to share the details of her day. All of them.
But today's conversation had a radically different twist.
She made this call while waiting for her father and stepmother to arrive so they could take care of the kids while Sara drove her husband to the emergency room.
The two of them had been outside when Cal stuck his finger into the spout of an apparently-clogged watering can and was bitten by the bat that was stuck inside.
Since her husband is a trained EMT, he knew exactly what to do -- capture the bat and take it with them.
Their older child has a "bug catcher." It's a small mesh contraption that looks a lot like a lunchbox and they'd somehow gotten the bat into it. Sara didn't give me the details on that part of the drama, but I imagine it would have made the Keystone Kops look organized.
After informing me of the bare details, she hung up, saying she'd call me back with more information as soon as she could.
So I waited, figuring it would be a couple of hours before I heard anything further. Each of them had taken a book along, expecting to spend some quality time in the hospital waiting room.
To my surprise, it was barely an hour when the phone rang again, and when I answered it Sara was laughing and I could hear Cal in the background laughing, too. They were on their way home from the hospital.
What could possibly be funny about being bitten by a potentially-rabid bat, I wondered?
Actually, quite a lot, if you discount the being bitten part, anyway.
When they arrived at the hospital, it wasn't busy at all. They were quickly ushered into a treatment room and Cal's finger was examined.
The bite wasn't a deep one, just a scratch. But even the saliva of a rabid animal can transmit the disease, so if the bat turns out to be rabid, he'll have to undergo the treatment and that's no joke.
But -- there is currently a shortage of the vaccine in the area where they live, and the hospital didn't want to administer it needlessly. Since there's a 10-day treatment window, they will send the bat somewhere to be tested and let Cal know the results in a couple of days. He may not need any treatment at all, if the bat's test comes back negative.
And here is where things get deeply strange.
The reason they were laughing, a little hysterically I have to say, is that they still had the bat with them in the bug catcher.
Hospital personnel told them to take the bat home, execute it without damaging the head, and then keep the dead bat in the refrigerator until Tuesday, when they are to bring it back to the hospital so it can be sent out for testing.
Let me say that again.
"Take the bat home, kill it without doing any damage to its head and bring it back Tuesday."
A new twist on "Take two aspirin and call me in the morning."
You can't make this stuff up.
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Kathy Fairchild received a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration in 1986 from Marycrest College, Davenport, Iowa. She is also a 2003 graduate of the paralegal program at New York University. She moved to Marshall in 2006, following a career of more than 30 years with the world's largest farm equipment manufacturer. She is an Air Force brat and grandmother of four.