She was on her way across town to tell me about a road trip she’d taken with friends. She texted me while she was driving — something that I wish she’d never do, but this seemed extraordinary circumstances.
“A bat flew into my car and bit my hand.”
I called my friends at Wildwoods. Bats are a species of special interest to Wildwoods, and in the years I volunteered with them, I learned a lot. It was rare to think of a bat out in March in Duluth, but then, fifty degree days are rare in Duluth in March, too.
One of the most significant things I learned was about rabies, though — I was not allowed anywhere near bats until I received the rabies pre-exposure vaccine. Bats are a rabies vector species in Minnesota. So I knew this bat nibble was not a good thing.
Of course, my friends at Wildwoods asked the first question — “Do you still have the bat?” No, I replied. Unsurprisingly, she shooed it out of her car, rather than hang out with it in the car. But absent the bat, I knew, we would be in for a long night in urgent care.
One of the tricks of hanging in the ER (where Urgent Care patients get shifted when you wait too long in Urgent Care) is the ability to allow someone to be frustrated and try to make them laugh. I hope I did both. And I got a story to tell, one that includes someone squeezing my hands so hard, three of their fingernails left welts in my hand. It would have been four welts, except the fourth finger was being used to flip me off every time I made her laugh.
Anyway. Bats are out in the world, people, and they seem to enjoy biting people driving down 4th. If you get visited by a bat, invite them in for tea so you can avoid the long night — the bat can be tested for rabies, so you can skip the shots.
But myself, I traded three hours in an ER for a story. I’d do it again. But I wasn’t the one bitten.
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