#BiteSeries: San Lazaro Hospital’s ABC

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Actual bite wound 3 days after the incident.

Last week, I wrote about how I have been accidentally bitten on my lower lip by my pet dog. And how I failed to get my post-bite prophylaxis right away, because (1) I have certain commitments that day; (2) I have been bitten around four in the afternoon and bite centers are closed already; and (3) I simply cannot afford to pay for the non-government subsidized shots which would cost me roughly around five thousand.

For equanimity’s sake, I just want to reiterate that if you have been bitten or scratched by an animal, be it a pet or not, DROP everything you do and RUN to the NEAREST bite center!!! RABIES is “100%” FATAL but is HIGHLY PREVENTABLE.

Anyway hemingways, my account is as follows:

March 30th, 2017. Lower lip got bitten. I immediately washed the wound with soap and running water for ~15 minutes and applied Povidone Iodine (or simply Betadine) over the area.

March 31st, 2017. Woke up late and decided not to head to the Bite Center.  Went to my cousin’s birthday party instead and ate to my heart’s content. Note however, that immediate medical attention is warranted. Rabies is scary. It accounts to over 200 deaths per year locally. In fact, there are only SEVEN recorded cases worldwide known to have successfully recovered from Rabies. Nakakatakot, ‘di ba? 

April 1st , 2017. Left home around 4AM and arrived at the QC City Hall Animal Bite Center 10 minutes later. The whole place was unlit and no one was around, hence I opted to get breakfast at Mcdonald’s Philcoa and just return after. I got back around 5:30 AM and still with no people except for a guard who’s stationed nearby. I was told that the center pala is closed during weekends. Fart.

I was about to leave when kuya guard tried to make a small talk.

Saan ka ba kinagat? Delikado kasi kapag sa ulo.” I pointed out my lower lip and watched his expression changed from warm to somewhat mortified. Guessed he’d seen the worst.

Hindi ka naman takot sa tubig? Naglalaway?” I signed no as I was letting out a little laugh. For some reason, I found his questions rather ridiculous despite him being right.

Ganu’n kasi ‘yun eh. Basahin mo diyan o.” He pointed out to the big banner of Rabies signs and symptoms hung on the center’s front wall. I flashed a faint smile and told him that I needed to go.

At home, I immediately took my on-the-go bag and off I flew to San Lazaro Hospital. Call me OA or whatever, but I was praying the Prayer of Salvation in case things go south. (Actually, ayoko na nga sanang pumunta kasi baka hindi na rin ako ma-accommodate dahil late na. Kaya lang natatakot na ako eh. Baka mapurnada ang pagdo-doktor ko. Better safe than sorry. Haha.)

San Lazaro Hospital Animal Bite Center

When I got there, there were hundreds of patients already lined up. It was a good thing that they have separate lane for follow-up and new patients. I thought I’d finish quite early since I’m 39th in line for the new patients, but boy I have never been so wrong. I registered around 6:30AM and ended up waiting until 11AM for my name to be called! Add to that were the parents who kept complaining about the anarchic process. Personally, I didn’t find the process anarchic at all, but there were lots and lots of waiting. Hours upon hours. I find it reasonable because they are accommodating hundreds of patients everyday.

To cut the story short, I was able to get my shots after running around here and there. And I met a few friends whom I like to call my classmates (hahaha). We shared stories of how we got bitten, how some deliberately ignored the bite and how some managed to sneak out from their daily jobs just to get shots. But the monumental event happened just as I was about to leave. One of my classmates, Tatay Nestor (not his real name), who was bitten on his (R) posterolateral leg by his neighbor’s chow-chow suddenly had a seizure near the Pharmacy.

Locked-jaw.

Sialorrhea.

Stiff.

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Where tatay was sitting when he had a seizure.

Everything happened too fast, too fast that everything became a blur of  unrecognizable images and all I knew was that I was staring, not too close but not afar. I was jolted out of my delusion when I heard the screams of his terrified wife begging for help. And before I do anything stupid (again), hospital staffs arrived and rushed Tatay Nestor to the ER.

Then, I found myself walking toward the exit and prayed he’d still be alive.

Life can be full of surprises, don’t you think?

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#BiteSeries: San Lazaro Hospital’s ABC

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