I'm a cat lover, and an animal lover in general.  I've loved a sole black cat for 11 years.  As a responsible pet owner, I had her spayed when she was two years old and we have continuous visits to the vet every 3 months.  Needless to say, her weight is in check, her vaccines are in check and so is her diet.  She only eats Science Diet dry cat food.  She particularly likes the Light Adult flavor of Science Diet, but she's also allowed to eat the Optimal Care flavor.

I never had any other cat than her, my lovely Nyey.  She's always jealous of other cats and I never wanted her to feel uneasy about it.  I just want her to be relaxed and always comfortable.  She sleeps with me in my room and we've really had good bonding and understanding.  We have routines that we never break and I really love the fact that she allows me to perform grooming on her myself.  Since I know that it would be more stressful for her to visit the vet everytime just for nail trims and baths.  So, I do it myself, and we never had problems.

She's very understanding and she has a sense of keeping safe the things that are important to me.  She doesn't go running around the things I have that are very expensive (like gadgets.. my phones, laptops, etc).  She loves to sleep on the laptop keyboard though.  Overall, we live harmoniously with each other.

But since the advent of me moving to a new condo unit temporarily, and sharing it with another owner with another cat, trouble seemed to have found us both.  This new persian cat is a huge trouble maker who loved to always chase Nyey and disturb her in her sleep or mealtime.  The result? My cat was always agitated and tired, not to mention overly stressed out--which is already bad for her age.  At first, they had different food to eat since the cat was relatively younger by about 9-10 years.  Nyey would always run out of her adult food because the unruly kitten would snatch her food away.  Being a fine cat, Nyey wouldn't bother to fight back, and because the kitten was relatively larger than she is.  The result?  I would always come home to my cat who's tummy seemed to be hitting the walls of her abdomen all the time!

This unruly kitten has always been a problem pet.  He first broke my ipod, bit into a P750 worth umbrella, spilled all of my stuff on the desk, ran across the clothes in my open closet, etc, etc, etc.  Needless to say, I never had a peaceful life with this cat.  I thought that all of these would be rectified soon when he grows older, but no.

Now, our karma needs to be separated.  He bit me in the middle of a nail trimming session (I usually administered since he was a kitten).

How it happened

The morning I woke up, I prepared for cooking brunch.  It was a Saturday (my favorite day of the week) and I was taking it easy, preparing to go online and finish up some work and complete a long list of agenda that day.  I had stuff like picking up and sending new laundry to the washers, cleaning the house, doing my own personal garments' laundry, filing online reservations, pay bills, etc.

There was a power outage that morning while I was cooking.  But that didn't ruin my day.  We waited for the generator to go back up online.  After cooking, the cats were scheduled to have their bath.  So, I started to cut the nails of this persian cat.  After finishing the first 3 paws, at the last toe of the last paw, he went mad and dug his teeth between the ring finger and middle finger.  I'm never afraid of animal bites and so I didn't go into shock after the first impact.  When I realized he was digging it deeper, I decided to grab him very tightly from the nape and threw him across the room.  The wound was a very deep cut on the soft skin that joined the fingers to the palm.

I saw my blood dripping on the floor and it was the darkest shade of blood I've ever seen leak out from my body.  I knew it was a bad cut because of the blood color.  3-5 drops on the floor and it freaked me out.  I'm hempahobic, but only if its my own blood that's spilling.  Good thing my housemate was around that time.  I ran to the sink and briefly washed the open wound with Safeguard.  I let the water wash off the blood for 3-5 minutes.  At that time, my right hand was dead cold and it was shaking from the trauma.  My only concern was the wound.  The scratches at the time didn't hurt that much.

My hand became numb very shortly after that.  My housemate wrapped my finger and hand and I couldn't help but yell in pain.  In a short while, I was sitting down and watching my temper and stress.  I have to be relaxed or the blood would not stop spilling.  I stared out at the wall while trying to think about good thoughts.  My entire right hand felt funny.  I was uncomfortable when I put it down or higher than arm level.  We used Betadine to clean the wounds and disinfect it.  I was able to withstand the pain of alcohol straight up into the wound only for the scratches, but not into the deepest wound.  We clumsily put random band aids on some of the wounds (not all) since some of them couldn't be covered by just one and some would overlap with other open wounds.

I was pretty worried about it if the cut went deep to traumatize the veins themselves.  I was bit around 10:20AM and I got to the hospital around 3PM.  I couldn't do much with my hand and it was even harder to just take a bath and prepare for the hospital trip.

The treatment

My aunt was a senior nurse at Quirino Memorial Medical Center.  I immediately rang her after texting my mom about what happened to me.  She said I will need three injections:

1.  Toxoid (anti bacterial vacccine) 2.  Anti Tetanus (or what they medically refer to as "ATS") 3.  First shot of Verorab (anti rabies vaccine: purified rabies vaccine cultured on Vero cells)

I got to buy the Verorab.  I went to Mercury and bought "Verorab syringe".  It costs around P1630 and needs to be administered almost within 1-2 hours of purchase; otherwise, you will need to bring an icebox to store it.

A doctor was there to assist me on behalf of my Aunt.  Verorab was immediately administered to me.  Another doctor looked at the wound, which at that time was still open.  I only put cotton in between the damaged fingers.  They were all still very reddish and bloody.  Indifferent to my problem, he simply said it looks like a multiple bite and was quick to say it was a Category 3 bite.

There are different categories and different ways to receive treatment for each: Category I – touching or feeding animals, licks on the skin Category II - nibbling of uncovered skin, minor scratches or abrasions without bleeding, licks on broken skin Category III - single or multiple transdermal bites or scratches, contamination of mucous membrane with saliva from licks; exposure to bat bites or scratches

I immediately explained how it happened and that the other wounds, though deep were only scratches.  He was like a traffic officer offering judgment without investigation.  It kind of irritated me.  He said in a loud authoritative voice that I needed to take an ERIG.  He was so quick to taunt my shortcomings with a horrifying statement that I would have to spend almost 20k for that ERIG vaccine which, after scrutinizing my physical appearance, he said would take me a total of 4 vials.  It was a good thing that they didn't have ERIG there at that time since they ran out of it, as he said.  He recommended I get the wound inspected at San Lazaro and take ERIG there.

I waited awhile for the other two shots while the doctor had to speak with my aunt to discuss the details of my case.  I was then given a skin test for the ATS.  Mind you, this is the most painful part.  A liquid is being injected onto your skin for testing whether you will have an adverse reaction to the medication.  After some time, the result was negative, hence I could be given the ATS and toxoid shot.

Brace yourself.  The toxoid shot was administered on my left upper arm.  It was quickly followed by ATS just a bit above the toxoid shot.  If I could turn back time, I could have relaxed better in preparation for the ATS shot.  It was definitely a longer shot and a more painful experience because it contained a bigger volume of medicine to inject.  After the actual shot, my arm was now more painful.. and it was really smelly.  They said that ATS came from an animal source and it was really foul smelling.  I had to massage my upper arm to avoid getting bruises.

After getting a referral letter with the notes on what has been administered already, I hurried to San Lazaro.  Feeling better that my initial feat is now over, I'm more relaxed.  Though, I must say, I wasn't able to each lunch at all nor drink anything but never felt hungry nor thirsty! :D

PS:  I recommend to go directly to San Lazaro, if I were you.

At San Lazaro

Its my first time to set foot at San Lazaro.  The entire area was really messy (the vicinity, I mean).  There were squatters everywhere and the commuting experience was horrible.  I found it hard to find a BPI ATM where I felt safe enough to withdraw around 20k worth of money (anticipating the 5k worth for each of the 4 vials).

We parked in San Lazaro's beautiful parking area which was really clean.  I believe this is their best trait so far.  They are organized and clean! Shortly after noticing this, I also noticed that their parking area was being used as a basketball court.  The players requested we move our car to somewhere the ball wouldn't surely hit it.  Annoyed, but we did not speak.

Going to their triage area, there was an old nurse who looked very busy and strict.  I stood there holding all of the papers I've gathered since that morning, all including receipts from Mercury, etc.  I handed her the referral letter from QMMC.  I couldn't write well so, I had my companion do the writing for me.  She asked me to go to the other door of the hallway and there I was in line at the administration section where a new patient gets their card and pays P50.

I chatted briefly with the ladies infront of who were companions of a kid with a large slash wound at his face.  It didn't look as scary as my wound, but still I asked.  Apparently the boy was bullying their house dog and the animal became angry and slightly scratched at his face.  Only one slash.  Not deep.  I said "ahh" and carried on.  But my thoughts said otherwise: "so, poor dog".

After paying P50, I went back to the triage and was pointed to their young nurses inside who were doing the inspection on the wound.  They would batter you with a series of questions which you should be prepared to answer:

1.  What animal bit you? 2.  Is that your pet?

a.  Is it vaccinated?

b.  When was it last vaccinated?

3.  What time did you get bit? 4.  What were you doing to instigate the bite? 5.  What did you do after the bite? 6.  Did you administer yourself any other medications? 7.  What are you allergic to?  What medicines?  What foods?

After the scrupulous interview, I was unsatisfied and I had to explain the whole event, re-enacting the actual bite.  I didn't want to confuse them with their analysis so I had to clarify the entire proceedings and carefully wait for their judgment.

I wouldn't really be able to say out right what I wanted to happen that afternoon.  We arrived at San Lazaro around 5PM.  I'm thinking whether what's really stressing me out is the fact that:

1.  I got bitten by some other cat, not really my own pet.  One that is of way far younger age and less finess. 2.  I have wasted my entire day trying to rectify the problem and get treatment.  And that I missed some of my todo items for that day. 3.  I will have to spend more money not from my budget.  That means getting money from my savings account. 4.  Going back home only to find that the animal who bit me will still be living with me.

I'm really afraid of hospitals.  I think I've had trauma from too much syringe injection experience when I last had dengue.  Just 50-100meters within hospital vicinity makes me nervous.  My hands would turn icy cold.

And so, I waited for my turn to talk to the doctor.  When I sat down, he was calm and kind.  He exhibited authority but a calm one.  For me, he represented a man I could be confident with whatever his decision would be.  And again, I run through my list of stress points.  He said that since the bite came from a cat that is vaccinated with anti rabies, adding to a positive point that his last vaccine is not yet a year past, he said the ERIG shots would be optional.  He stressed out though that we would have to watch the cat.  If in any amount of time he exhibits rabid behavior, it might be too late for me to get ERIG shots.

And everything was settled.  ERIG shots it is!  And we both laugh.  He said he agrees that a sound sleep is mandatory that night! :D

He cautioned that I would need two vials wherein each one costs around 1.5k each.  To me, it was utmost relief!  What is 3k compared to 20k???  What?! What?!  Let's get on with that injection!

I was given a piece of paper with some random writings I could not understand.  He said, you need a skin test.  Go to the pharmacy.  So I nodded and left.  At the pharmacy, a woman received my request and wrote another writing at the back which was extremely legible and it said: "insulin syringe".  She handed back the paper to me.  She said, get one outside and go back to your doctor.

I was like: "W-H-A-A-A-A-T????!!!"  I needed to buy my syringe from outside of the hospital?!  I was a patient!  Why do I need to do that myself?? I can pay for a damn syringe, can't I?  But the woman ignored me and insisted I buy outside.  So, I ranted while I walked.  For the first time in the entire afternoon, I got to drink water since we found water at the store outside.

Then I went back inside.  Skin test again.  Sigh.  Its really the most painful one.  I asked the nurse to administer the skin test near the area where the last ATS was tested.  The localized pain was better to bear ;)  Of course I couldn't help but smirk and moan a little.  This is the hardest part (I thought).  The ERIG skin test needed about 30 minutes before testing.  So we went out for a short walk.

I googled ERIG.  I had to, I was curious.  It was made from purified pepsin from horse serum.  OMG.  I was gonna be injected horse sh@t??! :P LAWL.  Well, thank God for horses I'm gonna be saved.

We met with a stray cat outside and he had glaucoma.  I wonder if he surely have diabetes too.  Of course I know how to handle cats.  I've been with one for 11 years, right?  We even gave him food, but I never touched him.

7PM and now the doctor was in for checking the skin test. I was negative.  That meant, I'm gonna have my ERIG shots now.  Again, I'm not surprised I had to go out and buy ERIG for myself outside.  When we came back, we forgot we didn't buy syringes!  The nurse asked me.  Since I need two vials, that would be a total of 10cc.  She volunteered that it would be better for me to buy two 5cc syringes so that she can inject me at balanced points on the upper quadrant of the thighs.  We had to walk again and buy syringes.  For the record, one syringe costs P10.

And now, it was the final moment.  She asked me to lean comfortably in the stretcher exposing my lower back to her.  I put down my pants exposing my butt but she said I didn't need to do that.  So I only exposed my lower back below my blouse.  I asked her why there and if she could administer it on the butt themselves.  She said that it had to be on the upper quadrant at specific points since it could cause paralysis.  I was then paranoid.  I told her she shouldn't have told me that. LAWL :D

The actual impact was just quick.  The injecting of the serum was painful :(  No pain on the right, but I experienced more pain in the left.  She warned me that I need to stay a bit relaxed for about 30 minutes before I start out to travel.  So, I took some souvenir shots at the place :D

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="536"]San Lazaro Hospital San Lazaro Hospital[/caption]

Post trauma

Now, after all those total of five shots, I can relax.  We went to eat at Seafood Island wherein the tab would be on me.  I wanted to dine happily to relieve my stress.  I was full that evening after dinner.

My hand was still quite immovable because of the skin, vein and flesh trauma.  I had to buy a bandage to cover the wounds because they were gruesome to look at.  Visit the links if you're brave enough to look.  Photo1, Photo2, Photo3

There's still two more schedule for Verorab syringe scheduled on the third day and the seventh day.  That's gonna be easier for me to handle.  That's actually the quickest one to administer.

The next day, I had to just lie down and rest.  I continuously had body pains and localized pain on the parts where there were injected medicines.  I also experienced slight dizziness and headache which carried on until the next day.  Rest and water is really important.

Today

Today, I just had my second Verorab injection.  :)

Tomorrow

I love cats!  I love any kind of cat (except persian cats)!  I just wanna hug all of them, but I can't hug every cat! :D