“Cats don’t bite.”
OF COURSE THEY DO and I am living proof that they do bite. Back in 2010, when I had come home on Easter break, I went shopping for stuff to take back for my friends. My friends were pretty low maintainance, so my shopping list contained parle-g biscuits, haldiram’s cornflakes mixture, nestle lemon iced tea and bujjia. Everything could be picked up from the store around the corner from my house.
Now this store used to have a resident cat… or 4. I could never tell whether it was only one cat or MULTPLE ones. They were all white and they ALL blended right into the tiles on the floor. So, I was in the shop, and I noticed there was a cat lounging in the biscuit aisle, so I went, “I see you cat!” and made sure to not step on it on my way to the parle-g. In the time that it took me to pick up the biscuits, turn around and walk back to the counter (i.e. ONE ENTIRE MINUTE) I forget that I had seen and conversed with a cat. Also, one silly man said EXCUSE ME and made me step to the side and ON TO the cat’s tail.
Next thing I know, I hear this unearthly squeal, feel a force hit my foot and see a streak of white running out the shop. I check my foot, see nothing wrong and proceed to the counter. A minute later, I check my foot again and it’s gushing blood. Luckily, the shop also features a chemist who helped me clean up my wound.
By this time, my dad arrives on the spot and we have the following conversation:
Dad: “you got everything you wanted?”
Kirin: “everything I wanted and more.”
Dad: Maybe you should stick to your list, you know they’re getting pretty strict with the baggage allowance these days.
Kirin: I meant I got bitten by a cat. I think I should see a doctor. I probably need to get rabies shots… I don’t want to end up foaming at the mouth and dying of hydrophobia in the UK.
Dad: hahahahhahahahahhahahahhaa *takes breath* Are you sure YOU’re the one who needs to get the rabies shot? Maybe we should find the cat and give it the rabies shots… JUST TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE.
Mama thankfully agrees with me and takes me to the hospital to get jabbed (and man did that nurse jab me real good). I have the presence of mind to ask for the rest of the dosage to take with me to the UK (something at the back of my consciousness told me I’d better be safe than sorry) armed with the prescription and the correct dosage and instructions from the Indian doctors to the UK ones, we make our way home.
By the time we reach home, my foot has swollen to twice it’s size and each step I take is agonizing. It takes me half an hour to get from the front door of my house to my room. Navigating a whole airport by myself was going to be a problem so my mom promptly arranged for me to be an assisted traveller.
Let me just tell you, I got a lot of hostile looks from people as I was wheeled around the airport. The immigration guy didn’t even have the courtesy to keep a STRAIGHT FACE when i told him I got bitten by a cat.
My tale of woe does not end here. OHNO. Fast forward to the date I was due to take the second dose of the rabies shot. After a lot of back and forth over the phone to NHS (England’s National Health Scheme) they advise me to go to the closest 24/7 hospital. Which happens to be an hour and a half bus drive away. Armed with my prescription and meds and accompanied by a close friend and her mother, I made my way to the hospital. I explained my plight to the receptionist who asked me to wait till my turn to see the physician. After 40 minutes of waiting, my name was called. Here is the exchange between me and the doctor on call:
Kirin: Hello. I was bitten by a cat two weeks ago the night before I had to come back for Easter Term.
Doc: *blank expression*
Kirin: As a precaution, I took my first rabies shot before I came to England and made sure to carry the rest of the prescription and the syringes with me. It’s time for the second shot and I just need someone to administer it.
Doctor: “We don’t treat rabies in this hospital”
Kirin: Er…. I’m not asking you to treat me for rabies, I’m asking whether someone could administer the anti rabies injection for which i have not only the prescription but also the medication and syringe.
Doctor: No, I’m sorry. We don’t treat rabies.
Kirin: Could you direct me to some place that could help me out?
Kirin: …………….. ok. Thanks? (WELL THANKS FOR NOTHING YOU STUPID FOOL. WHEN I GET RABIES AND START FOAMING AT THE MOUTH YOU WILL BE THE FIRST I WILL BITE AND I WILL WIPE OUT MOST OF THE BRITISH POPULATION)
I was FUMING. Not only did I waste time and money in getting to a place where i had to wait for an hour before being told they don’t treat rabies but I also wasted my friend and her mom’s time in accompanying me.
Luckily for me, my friends’ mother was once a practicing doctor and she administered that second shot to me. I told my friend to watch carefully because she would be in charge of giving me the remaining 3 injections.
I’m happy to report that I did not end up getting rabies and obliterating half of Englands’ population by going out and biting people willy-nilly yelling “YOU BROUGHT THIS UPON YOURSELF” as a lesson for not being equipped to deal with the disease in the first place…. also, my friend who administered the remaining shots is now in her fourth year of studying to be a doctor AFTER completing a masters in arts, going BACK to school and redoing her 11th and 12th so that she could sit for the medical exams and I am so so soooooooooo very proud of her and will forever hold on to the title of being the first person to be treated by her.
I am UNHAPPY to report that I did not turn into catwoman (sorry if the title is misleading but you would have experienced .1% of the indignation I felt upon being told they didn’t treat rabies in a huge 24/7 hospital in the UK)