Could I have rabies?
18.03.2008 - 19.03.2008 26 °C
Tuesday could not have been a worse day for me. I came to school and locked horns with the registrar some more. I can't wait for the day they get their act together. But also, today was the day of interviews. I did not have class with Spanish because I had an interview with someone in the cultural heritage group in Cuenca to gather information on the day of the dead for a Spanish paper. The interview should not have even been made. She did not want to give me the time of day. She immediately led me to the library and told me more or less "here, find what you need." Gee thanks! I could have done this myself! Grr. A wasted morning preparing interview questions. I don't even know why I tried. The second interview was actually a reversal, I was the interviewee for the Admissions internship.
We had class for Ecology in the afternoon, however it was not in the school. We were told to go on a bus towards the mountains of Cajas in order to find this refuge site where we could see some of the endangered animals that we have been learning about in class. I wanted to take an early start and traveled off on my own before the swath of my classmates took the same bus line. I had the directions, "just before the second speed bump, on the left, down a road, over a bridge, it's the first house on the left." That couldn't be too hard. But I missed an important detail, it was the second speed bump after going through the first town we passed. Ohh, if I knew that my day could have been different.
I got off the bus, feeling slightly proud of myself for taking the initiative to go on my own to find this refuge. I started down the street on the left, and took the long, long road, crossed the bridge, and then hiked up the mountainside until I saw the first break off on the left. It was definitely a school, and not a house and there was no refuge site in sight. At that point I got the call. "Hey Zach, where are you?" I tried to figure where I was with poor knowledge because I hadn't really focused on anything but the slowdowns and bumps of the bus on the ride up. But I had to walk all the way back down and up to the main road. And I was getting really hot under the sun in my double jackets to keep myself waterproof. I considered hitch hiking the five minute walk back up the hill just to save energy, but I convinced myself I needed the exercise and energy if I ever wanted to reach the summit of any volcano, let alone Cotopaxi. So I walked up the hill again, and nearly made it to the bus when I was confronted by two dogs who were not pleased to meet me. They ran around behind me, just like every other street dog, only to bark at me from behind, or so I thought, but I felt a sharp pinch on the back of my thigh. Ohh, it stung, like closing your finger in a car door. I just hurried out of there trying to make it to the bus and safety. I checked my jeans and they weren't torn from the bite, so I figured it hadn't broken skin. Now I just concerned myself with finding the refuge. It took me another twenty minutes of going back towards Cuenca, realizing that I hadn't gone far enough, then going all the way back past the two dogs that caught my eye once again, and finally to the refuge. I checked when I got there and saw a to my dismay two dark scabs where the dog got hold of me. Now I started to worry and the pain in my thigh remained painful like the dog still clung to me.
I asked our Ecology teacher what I should do. She said "well, the best thing to do is find the dog and get the number of the owner so you can get news of any weird behavior in the next two weeks. Otherwise, if you can't find the dog, look into taking the shots." I was in no mood to go find the dog that just bit me, especially if I had no method to defend myself. Anyway, I had my phone interview with Brian in twenty minutes and I had no bars on my cell phone. My worries continued over the course of the night. When my host mom arrived, I let her know what happened and finding out about the injections made my stomach turn. If needed, I would have to get seven shots in my stomach, but with a phobia of needles even when I can avoid seeing them inject me, the thought of having it right in front of my eyes made me feel dizzy. I cleaned what I could of the wound, even though it was completely useless now seven hours after the bite, but around the scabs my skin turned a dark shade of green. I just wanted to give up right then.
The next morning, my anxiety lead me to search up symptoms and treatment of rabies. What I found didn't settle my fears. A brief synopsis of what I read: "once symptoms start, you're a goner." So after consulting with Narcisa, we decided that we should look for the dog, against my will. I had remembered precisely the place where I got bit and the probable owner, but it wasn't as easy as I would have hoped. We asked the lady if she had two dogs, as we could see one and I recognized it because it looked like a mop, but she refused. After asking her a third time she said "Oh! Maybe you mean this dog!" And out came the suspect. We asked if the dog had vaccinations but she avoided answering that as well. "No se preocupa, no se preocupa." (Don't worry yourself, don't worry yourself). But we had every reason to worry. We informed her that the bite broke skin and her calm face went pale. But after asking again she said the dog had gotten a shot. Right... I didn't believe her for a second. But we gave her a number to call us and told her we would return in fifteen days, hopefully to find that wretched dog still alive. On the way back to Narcisa's car, we asked a friendly neighbor if there was another dog that could have bit me, after all I had only the few seconds to recognize it before it bit me, and after than, I focused only ahead of me to keep my pace quick to leave that place as fast as I could. The neighbor said that that dog is the bad seed in on the street and that the probability of it being the predator was pretty high. So I found it, I think. I can rest in peace for just a little while until the second search to find the dog dead or alive.