Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bad Day

Do you ever have a bad day and then realize a weird coincidence at the end of the day? Today started off just like any other day, but spiraled downhill as the day progressed. It wasn't a horrible day, but I've certainly had better days. An estimate for a housing repair is more than twice as high as what we thought it might be and one of our children needs immediate orthodontic attention (which means I'll be buying another person in the dental field a second home in the near future!). It just wasn't the best of days. All day long the date "August 12th" has repeated itself in my head. I had no idea why until just now when I remembered.

Eight years ago today part of my trust was taken away forever. I've always quite an imagination and been afraid of strangers ever since a man exposed himself to me on my walk to school many moons (no pun intended) ago. What a mental image for a third grader! However, now I am jumpier than ever. My nerves are no longer steel traps that protect me. They are fragile little messes that fall apart easily all because of a CAT.

Eight years ago today was the first day of school in our hometown. I happily fed our three beautiful one year olds their breakfast as school children were getting ready to meet their new teachers. The weather was warm, the sun was out, and it was going to be another great day as a Mama to triplets. The babies were fed and had a little playtime and it was just about time to put them down for their morning nap. Some mornings we played on the back deck, but we didn't do it that morning of August 12, 2002 because a silly cat was out their meowing at the back door. "Shoot," I thought. "I'll just go out there and shoo it to the stairs so it can find its way home once I put these babies to bed." I scurried off down the hall with three little loves and put them down for their nap for what would be the last time for over a month. Little did I know how life was about to change.

Our back deck door often locked us out, so I gathered the key to the door and a broom and decided I'd sweep to show the cat where to go. What followed when I opened the door was like something from the movie "Cujo". It was terrifying!!!! I can't even believe I am brave enough to type it all out right now!

I carefully closed the door behind me. It's neat to look back and see the Lord's hand in all of this. The babies were safely in their cribs. As I closed the door, the docile cat became crazy and jumped across the deck at me and began attacking and biting me. It bit my hands and legs, so I jumped up in a chair. The cat followed me and dug deep into my right leg with its sharp teeth. I imagine I was screaming, but I have no recollection of doing so. I tried to get away from the cat to no avail. I finally used my hands to pull it off of me and its nasty jaw clenched on my right palm. I threw my arm as hard as I could to get it off of me and it fell to the ground far below. Unfortunately for me, cats land on their four feet. The cat did not die but I did not wait around to see it land either. I hurried inside, now aware of the fact that I was bleeding profusely from both legs and both hands. I ran down the hall leaving a trail of blood. I remember being in shock and screaming and asking myself, "What am I going to DO?"

Our precious angels stayed asleep despite my tears. Thank you, Lord Jesus, that I did not go to them!!! I found a phone and called my mother. Normally she is out the door by 9am, but she was running late. Don't you love it how God works? She could tell that it was an emergency and said she would be right over. I remembered that DH had told me he'd be in a meeting all day and would be unreachable. Thank goodness he told me that so that I knew. Dear friends had recently moved from Georgia to Raleigh. Their only phone # was the husband's cell phone. He was working in the same big office as DH but I remembered his cell phone number and dialed it. He answered and could tell it was serious. He said he would find DH.

DH raced home and was there shortly after my mother. DH and I rushed to the ER. Upon arrival, we learned that phone calls were being made to determine who owned the cat. Once we learned the owner's name, we called her vet who claimed there was no way this vaccinated cat was rabid. Oh, how he failed us that day.

The City finally captured the cat and put it down. We then learned that the cat had attacked its elderly neighbor the day before. She had called her vet herself and he concluded that the cat was just having "psychological problems", perhaps in reaction to new draperies. PLEASE!!!

The ER doctors cleaned my wounds and referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. I went home and made an appointment for that afternoon. My mother took me to the doctor and we thought we would be sent home. Instead, the doctor said I needed to meet him at the hospital THAT AFTERNOON for surgery. My wounds were serious and needed to be cleaned.

I was met at the hospital by an infectious disease doctor. He informed me that my mother, DH, and I would all be taking the rabies series of shots. This is not a cheap or easy shot. He also gave me gamma globulin shots before my surgery. He concluded that the babies had not been exposed to cat saliva, despite the fact that my mother had blood on her shirt and didn't know it when she cared for them. We had 14 days to decide if the babies needed the vaccine. Rabies is fatal. Without the vaccine, if the babies had been exposed, they would die a horrible death. I can't tell you how I prayed over this decision and then questioned our wisdom at night.

I spent 4 nights in the hospital and was sent home with a PICC line and IV. I was given antibiotics around the clock to fight infection and I was not allowed to pick up the babies or change their diapers or really come in much contact with them. They were 16 months old and just barely walking. Do you have any idea how this pained me to not be able to care for them? It was awful. The next month was spent with a whirlwind of precious volunteers and paid babysitters helping us care for the babies. I had to hide in the other room because the babies did not understand when I could not care for them. It was awful.

So, now I remember why August 12 is a tough day. It is the day that I lost my trust in seemingly trustworthy animals. I lost my former love for Siamese cats. I now jump when the doorbell rings or someone surprises me unexpectedly. But I will fight harder than that rabid cat if you come after my babies!


EntertainingMom said...

Holy Smokes.... Wow... I had no idea. I hate cats. Always have. Hate them more now. What an incredibly frightening story... so glad you are OK now.

Tickled Pink Talk said...

Oh my that is awful!! So thankful you are OK now. So scary. Don't like cats much myself...we are quite happy with our fish. :)

Donna said...

What a story!! I remember as a child having a siamase cat that attacked me one day and I still have scars to show for it. How hard for you having babies and all! Glad you weathered that storm!!

The B Family said...

What a nightmare! So glad you and your babies were okay! Go ahead and plan on having a spa day or family fun day for next August 12--you need a happy memory to associate with that day.

the pink prep said...

oh my goodness!! simply awful, but the same thing happened to my grandmother when she was pregnant with my uncle.
to this day the entire family FEARS cats and will not get near them.
kittens are cute, but I don't trust them either.
I'm glad everyone healed well...

Susan said...

I think I'm in shock right now. I can't believe that story. Holy seriously is like something out of a freakin' nightmare, only it was real.
I know why I hate cats now....because they are evil, vile little creatures.
That story makes my head spin, I'm sure living the reality of it was 1000 times worse.

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Oh my word!! That's insane! I do know that cat wounds are terrible because their teeth are much sharper than dogs and longer so they go deeper in you. My dog is fascinated by cats but I am psycho about her not getting near them for that reason. I am so sorry you had to go through that but so thankful you are OK now and that the kiddos never suffered.

Black Labs and Lilly said...

Oh My Goodness Mama Henley! Your story is giving me shivers!! Thank goodness you and everyone else are safe and OK. How scary!!!

Shannon said...

That's quite a story! I was once attacked by a cat too (though not to your extent)which is why I'm not a fan to this day! Sorry all this happened to you!

Hope your day got better!

Wendy said...

I do remember that day, learning about shortly thereafter...and how horrible everyone felt for all of you, yet thankful the triplets were 'ok' and did not have to endure the shots. Traumatic events sometimes leave lifetime memories bubbling to the surface on the 'anniversary' date... Hope today has been much,much better for all of you..

Love Being a Nonny said...

I cannot stand cats! They are so unpredictable! UGH...this story gave me the creeps! Glad all ended well.

So sorry your childhood was saddened by a creepy man. That made me sad to read!

Grateful for Grace said...

Wowzers! That is a horrific story. I'm so grateful the LORD healed you and kept the babies from getting it or needing the shots. What a nightmare.

pink green & southern said...

Oh my, that is the scariest thing I have ever heard. You poor thing. A cat bite me as a small child and I still have the scar over my eye to prove it.

Draffin Bears said...

Oh my goodness, what a scary story and must have been so awful for you and your family.
It was lovely to discover your blog and many thanks for visiting me.

Have a happy week

bevy said...

Just back blogging after a busy week and what a post to read! How incredibly scary... but thank goodness for a safe and healthy ending!

Brie said...

What a horrible experience!! So scary, hope you never have an Aug 12 like that again :(