Monday, July 28, 2008

are you normal?

sorry for the obtuse "neds atomic dustbin" reference in the subject line. i am after all a child of the 90's. (i am also a child who doesn't feel like using the shift key tonight, even though it is my friend)

So I think I am over my irrational "bridget neither touched, tickled, stood within 5 feet, was bitten, scratched, or given dirty looks by a baby skunk" fear of rabies. (though i guess the next 60 days or so will tell ;p). I've also started using the shift key.

So anyway, two things happened that utilized speech that made me laugh a little, gallows humor mind you. I went to a jewelry making course this week, 5 days 10-5 pm with a lunch break. I generally showed up late and left early every day since the class wiped me out even though it was sitting around crocheting with wire. This was humbling since I was the youngest person in the class (and I believe the only one with osteoporosis, which is good for all the strong healthy women i took the class with who were at least 20+ years older than me, though not so great for me!)

1) I made this gorgeous necklace out of fine silver and these really stunning, rare freshwater pearls I had been holding on to. These suckers are lovely and deserved something far nicer than craft wire. One of my classmates suggested making a mate for it, but one where I would patina the metal (making it darker). I thought that would be a great idea, since it would add a lovely contrast. Turns out to oxidize the metal requires strong concentrations of chemicals, so I bowed out of that, explaining I have numerous sensitivities, I'd rather not put myself at risk and inconvenience the whole class if I went into shock, which lead to a discussion of my mast cell disease. The instructor, trying to be helpful said, "Well, don't feel bad about not being able to utilize said process, it makes normal people sick too." I shrugged my shoulders, said it wasn't a big deal, if I really wanted to do it, I had a friend with a bench I could give the piece to to have her do it...a few minutes later the instructor came up and apologized to me about her choice of wording...While I hadn't even noticed it, she'd called me abnormal. I know she was trying to make me feel better when she had said it, but I think apologizing for her choice of words made me feel more self conscious than being inadvertently referred to as abnormal.

2) I went on a huge rabies rampage today and called all my doctors, cdc, mass wildlife etc to have it reconfirmed to me that it would be nigh impossible that i would've gotten rabies from standing by while my husband was neither bitten, scratched or spit on by said skunk. I was talking about the immunization with my PCP, a wonderful woman who knows about masto, and she said something about how the rabies vaccine was not applicable for me, and anyway it wasn't something to be played around with because it was very hard for even normal people to tolerate. Again, I thought nothing of it since we were talking about immunizations and immunology and I have proven to not be normal in those fields, but again she apologized profusely.

So it's interesting. I don't run around screaming HEY YO I AM SICK PLZ PITY ME (in fact I got scolded in an adorably mothering type way when one of my classmates saw my epi pens sticking out of my bag and told me I had to alert the class I may need them) and I don't expect to be treated different or coddled all the time, but in two instances where I ostensibly could've been really insulted i wasn't phased. That kinda makes me feel good. Not that I've necessarily given up my identity to it, but I don't -care- about it. I don't -care- if I end up in the annoying category once in a while. It's a fact of life like gravity and that's it. My non-reaction to it is what surprised me the most.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rabies Risk?

I am sure this is more paranoia due to the fact that Mastocytosis causes problems with everything but I feel the need to post this here to see if anyone has any feedback:

Today Ethan and I were in the parking lots of a Michaels and we encountered a baby skunk. It was so tiny, maybe the size of Ethan's hand (not including the tail) and was stumbling around. It seemed lost, possibly injured, and very needy (it kept approaching the two of us as we stood in the rain trying to call various animal rescues/police departments to no avail). It was obviously a baby/young adolescent and should've still been with its mother, but it was alone.

The storm was getting worse, and we couldn't stand outside in the lightning storm waiting for the cops to possibly arrive to deal with the skunk. I ran into the store and they gave me a big box, which I handed off to Ethan. I didn't want to get too close to the skunk in case it sprayed (i have no idea if getting sprayed or being near a spray would send me into shock). I went back into the store, and ethan captured the skunk in the box (at no time did he touch it, at no time did it make any attempt to bite or scratch him) and carried it over to a wooded area far away from the parking lot. No physical contact was ever made with the skunk.

When we got home I developed a blinding headache (most likely the weather or my first ocular migraine) and decided to do some research on skunks. Of course it turns out that many of the behaviors our little friend was exhibiting could've been rabies (out in daylight, docile, unafraid of humans, weak) though they also may have been the result of being separating from its mother and not receiving adequate nutrition.

So, my chemistry/veterinary inclined friends, what, if any, risk does ethan have from interacting with the skunk as loosely as he did? again no physical contact was ever made between them, but i don't know if there is possible transmission through say, flea bites or something. and in kind, what is the possibly transmission rate (if any) to me or to him?