There is cat venom in my veins. I anticipate a full transformation by the next super moon. Already the urge to sleep all day and chase ephemeral red dots is strong.
I was bitten by a vampire cat. I know I’m mixing my supernatural beings, but the cat was already truly a cat not a transformed human into a cat, plus…fangs. Four perfect fangs that sunk deeply into my arm and latched on.
My very frail neighbor fell and shattered her hip. She made sure she fed her cat before dragging herself to the phone to call for help. Somehow I could see myself doing that. After hip surgery, she was in a rehab facility for 4 1/2 weeks. She was very worried about Baby her beloved cat and asked me to care for her. So every other day for 4 1/2 weeks, I stepped across the street to take care of Baby’s needs, tidy things up, then sit and talk to Baby while brushing her. Baby, who looks like a basketball with fur, soon became accustomed to me, and I arrived to chatty greetings and head butts.
Ironically, as I sat brushing Baby and telling her that her mommy would be home on Friday, she chose that moment to do a slow motion roll that ended with her latching on to my arm fang-deep. I calmly scruffed Baby, removed her from my arm, told her that we were done here,and decided to go home to bleed on my own carpet.
I scrubbed my arm with anti-bacterial soap, dumped all the rubbing alcohol I owned into the puncture wounds, then topped it off with neosporin and band aids. I thought nothing of it other than, “Boy, she really got in deep with the lower fangs.”
By the next morning when I got up for school, it was sore and red. By 9 a.m., I was holding out my arm to the school nurse doing the “am I going to die?” bit. She marked the edges of the spreading redness, and advised me to call my doctor NOW. Good advice.
I’ve never been bitten that deeply by an animal and I’ve never witnessed an infection spread so quickly. The doctor later told me that cat bites are particularly bad because the fangs can go in so deeply spreading all kinds of germy goodness.
I called, got an appointment and then scrambled to get class coverage, thinking that by some miracle I could be in and out of the doctor’s office over my lunch period, but I had to cover all the “just in case” scenarios. It was also PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCE NIGHT which added an additional level of stress, made being at school essential, and meant I would not be leaving until 8:30 that night.
At the doctor’s by 11 a.m., the redness had seeped beyond the 9 a.m. dots and was putting off heat. The doctor determined that my tetanus shot was current enough, squeezed my armpit because this could spread to my lymph nodes, and started me on antibiotics which she wanted me to pick up from Target NOW.
As the intern at the doctor’s checked me out, I watched her eyes go huge and her stifle a laugh as she read my information. While not very subtly staring at my arm, she apologized for her non-professional reaction. “It’s just that I was a microbiology major so I’ve cultured all the bacteria in a cat bite.” Great. I’m doing it live, lady.
I asked her if she’d like to touch it, or suck the cat venom out, but she declined.
I made it back in time for the second half of my after lunch class, ate lunch late, and downed the antibiotics. By the end of the school day, I realized that “son of a bitch my armpit hurts now!” I was extremely nauseated, possibly from the stress and antibiotics, from about 4- 6 p.m. just in time to miss the most magnificent taco bar ever on parent teacher conference night. I had a tiny pile of plain rice and some pineapple, while my colleagues ogled my freak show arm that had begun to swell.
One well meaning teacher shrieked,”It’s following the veins in your arm!”
Yup. It was. I felt too sick to even be scared. I am so glow in the dark white that you can see every vein in my body and the red swelling was indeed sending out little tentacles that appeared to be following veins into the crook of my elbow.
On that note, I went back to the school nurse and flashed my arm at her. She was eating dinner so I did try to warn her first, but she still yelled, “Holy shit!” and jerked away. I feel like this was a solid accomplishment. She advised an urgent care visit, or getting through to my office’s on call doctor.
The on call doctor and I played phone tag for a good hour or so. He would magically call back just as a new set of parents would walk in the room, and I became increasingly worried about my health listening to my phone vibrate from my desk. Finally, he called back during a time when I was supposed to have a parent-free 45 minutes just as the parents who were 15 minutes late rolled in. Ugh. I flashed my puffy, flaming red arm at them with a quick explanation and took the call.
Was the entire arm swelling? No, just where it was red.
Did I still have use of and mobility in the arm? Yes.
When did I tale the first antibiotics? 1 p.m.
He kindly explained that the antibiotics had barely time to do their job especially since they were only one every twelve hours,and that an urgent care could do nothing for me. If things got worse, my next stop would be an emergency room and an IV bag of drugs. He advised ice packs and ibuprofen.
Which is exactly what I did when I got home at 9 p.m. I had already called in the arrangements for a sub the next day because I felt like this was sucking the life out of me.
Thursday morning I was still on fire, and the swelling had gone down, but the redness had increased. I also realized that I was holding my arm at an odd angle. I couldn’t put my arm down against my body because my armpit was so swollen and painful. I also could not extend my forearm because that made the skin too tight and ouchy.
Mid morning, I got a barrage of text messages checking on my well being and then my principal called. I’ve never been called at home by my boss much less to see if I was still alive. She had heard the story second hand, seen a few texted photos, and more or less determined that her staff was falling apart.
Thursday and Friday were an exhausting slightly sweaty mess as if I was running a low fever that my body was trying to deal with. By Monday though, the area around the bite was still tender but only a splotchy pink and my armpit was no longer an issue. Now over a week later, I can still see the four puncture wounds but I’m back to being as “normal” as I’m going to be.
I would like to acquire a few large cardboard boxes though. If I fits, I sits.