I'm tagging this as a Paw Pack Update despite the fact that it's more about me than my pets. Hey, I guess I'm technically part of the pack right? So last November, over 6 months ago now, I briefly mentioned on one of my update posts that I had been basically attacked, as silly as that sounds, by a feral cat. On the advice of the local police/animal control I ended up going to the ER because of it. I had to start receiving post exposure rabies treatment, which basically just meant I had to get a series of rabies shots.
I've been meaning for awhile now to document my experience here. The main reason I didn't get around to it sooner is because it was a stressful experience for me. While it was happening, I spent so much time being stressed about the shots and how we were going to pay for them that I really wasn't feeling up to writing about it.
The whole situation might not have been quite as stressful if my health insurance situation wasn't such a mess. I had recently changed jobs, going from a company that offered insurance to one that didn't. Talk about bad timing. Being new to having to deal with insurance myself, rather than just getting it through an employer, I was worried that my rabies treatment wasn't going to be covered.
The first time I went to the ER, I received two shots, one in each thigh, of rabies immunoglobulin. Basically, from my understanding, the immunoglobulin starts protecting you from rabies right away. I also received my first rabies vaccine, which takes a bit longer to start protecting you which is why, depending on the situation, it's recommended you get the immunoglobulin along with the first vaccine. I also had to get a tetanus shot. Along with all the shots, I was started on a course of antibiotics. Cats can carry some nasty germs in their mouths.
After that first trip I had to return another 4 times for additional rabies shots. I learned that, for whatever reason, regular doctors offices/clinics don't carry/administer rabies vaccines, so I had to return to the hospital each time I needed another shot. Not cool, since of course going to the hospital, even if it's just for a quick shot, costs more than going to a regular doctors office.
Luckily my bites healed up well, no infection. The bites, by the way, were on my right hand, around the knuckle of my thumb and pointer finger mostly. They were pretty deep, I still have scars on my fingers. I had, perhaps stupidly, put my hand down without thinking, I guess in an attempt to block the cat from me, which is how my hand ended up getting so bitten up.
After everything was all said and done, my medical bills totaled a whopping $37,000. No, that's not a typo. Thirty seven thousand dollars! Not cool.
But, biiiiiig sigh of relief, I didn't have to pay out of pocket (not that I would have been able to anyways). I submitted the bills to my new insurance company and they did cover almost everything. So hey, people can say what they want about the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, but I have no idea what I would have done without it.
I guess that's pretty much my story. By the way, so people don't think I was just being paranoid and getting expensive treatment for nothing, it was very likely that the cat that bit me had rabies, based on its behavior and the fact that, at the time, rabies was confirmed in the feral cat population in the area.
Comment below! Have you ever had to deal with a medical issue brought on by an animal? I'm very glad that my situation turned out well in the end. I didn't have to go bankrupt, and (more importantly) I didn't die of rabies!