Sunday, July 29, 2012
28 July: Rabies scare
28 July I feel really, really stupid. Why did I let the girls play with a stray cat at the park today? In retrospect, it seems like the dumbest idea but at the time I was happy they could "love on" a cat. Sigh. We went to a new park recommended by several acquaintances today. And while by shabby by American standards, it was without question the best public park we have seen in Amman. We arrived late after delay upon delay. I was in a terrible mood, to be honest. The girls had been really hard on me all morning and I secretly hoped I could just sit on a bench and watch them play. I was already emotionally and physically exhausted and it was only 11:30am. So when a friendly and docile cat appeared, I was happy with the distraction. The girls petted the cat and picked it up. I watched carefully at first and saw no sign of irrigation on the part of the cat. Very tame, I judged. Used to children. I let them play with it. Other kids periodically came to pet the cat too, and their mothers did not seem concerned. Emi just did not want to leave the cat alone, however, even when I could tell it just wanted to rest in the shade. I told her to leave the cat alone but did not insist. It was at one of the points when other kids and mothers were gathered, enjoying the cat, when it lashed out. I did not see what happened but it either scratched or bit Emi on the head. The wound is small--just a very shallow small puncture. There was some blood (and of course, tears). We left immediately and I called Nate. He contacted the embassy medical people and a nurse called me before we had even reached the hotel. She advised washing the wound in warm water and soap and applying antibiotic cream. This we did. She also asked us to bring Emi in to see her tomorrow but, upon learning that Nate's dependents are not covered by embassy medical service, recommended that we take her to a different (recommended) medical center. Based on the information and description I gave her, she judged that we need not take Emi to the doctor before tomorrow. Of course I am seriously stressed about it. Nate and I spent the evening reading up on rabies and have learned that the chances of contracting rabies from a cat is very low. I observed the cat closely and can testify that it was not behaving strangely. It only lashed out after being loved on too much when it wanted to rest. We know we should not worry but that we should take her in to a medical professional for his/her opinion. What I am worried about is if the doctor says that we should get her rabies treatment just to be on the safe side. From what we can tell from our reading, the treatment is horrendous. And yet, considering rabies is always fatal if contracted and untreated, how can we NOT treat her if recommended to? Of course we will. I am just praying that the doctor will take one look at her wound and judge it to be too shallow or small to possibly have received any/enough rabies virus. After all this, I suppose you would think it crazy if we did anything else the rest of the day. And yet we did. The nurse did not believe an immediate examination necessary, Emi clearly felt fine, AND we had reservations both for pony rides and transportation to the stables--so I figured we might as well press on. Our friend Ahmed transported us once again to some stables recommended by several different people. Located about 30 minutes out of town, the stables are located among acres of farmland and enjoy a spectacular view. The girls were given riding helmets and placed atop ponies. Ahmed and his cousin kept Aya with them back at the riding school club house while the big girls and I set off with two Pakistani grooms. Emi would not proceed a step without me holding her hand so I walked with her and her pony the whole way. Other than that, the girls both had a blast. Emi sang "Old McDonald" nearly the whole ride. It was a glorious 1/2 hr, walking through the Jordanian countryside with my two big girls riding proudly on their ponies. We returned to a somewhat anxious Ahmed, ready to get back home and break his fast. The trip did take longer than I had said it would; not only was the pony ride twice as long as I expected, we had some difficulty finding the place to begin with. Maybe I should have paid him more than we originally agreed upon? He DID take care of Aya for a half an hour on top of it all. Ah well. I am unaccustomed to paying young men to drive me around; I much prefer the Jamila days when they just offered to do it out of gallantry (or whatever). But a family man has to earn money where he can, right? I will definitely call on him for any other out of town trips we may take, although about five minutes into this one I thought (for the millionth time) "If I have to ride ONE MORE TIME in the back of a car with three girls climbing/fighting/squirming around/on/over me, I just may not be able to control my temper." That was the only down side to the whole excursion--the ride there and back. So maybe we WON'T go on any more excursions! But I think we will. I just need to suck it up and pull out the electronic devices. That'll subdue 'em. Going to bed now. Trying not to worry about tomorrow and the doctor visit. Hoping for a better sleep tonight as well; all three girls woke us up crying last night. Aya was brief and went right back to sleep. Emi woke at 3:00am and once again loudly grieved the absence of her "toys." Yumi cried outside our door for her mysteriously disappeared pillow (which was there all along). I think she was half asleep. Inshallah tonight will be better.