Well, that was not the best Christmas ever

I’ve been in the habit lately of taking one or more daily walks. Usually, it’s one walk of three miles, but sometimes I do more than one walk with shorter distances covered.

Friday (Christmas Eve), I took a one-mile walk in the late morning. Just after 4pm, I decided to take another. Unfortunately, I almost immediately ran afoul of a guy who was walking three dogs: two bulldogs, and one smaller dog I didn’t identify. Or, rather, I ran afoul of one of the dogs. One of the bulldogs was doing its business as I approached, but the small dog approached in what seemed an unfriendly manner. When it did that, the other bulldog pulled its leash out of the guy’s hand. Before I knew what was happening, it had clamped onto my right thigh and knocked me onto my ass.

The guy pulled the dog off me, but the fall had put me into a lot of pain. I was able to stand up after a couple of minutes, with the guy and his wife gushing over how badly they felt, and could they do anything for me. Apart from my back, I didn’t feel bad at all. My jeans were torn where I’d been bitten, but there didn’t seem to be much blood, and I thought it was pretty minor.

I decided the thing to do was to go to an urgent care clinic, so I hobbled back to my car, accompanied by the guy, and headed off to my local urgent care clinic. Unfortunately, they had closed early for the holiday. So, I looked on my map app, and found two more relatively nearby. One was closing at 5, so it would have been problematic getting there and getting processed. The other said it was open until 8, so that’s where I headed. Unfortunately, they had closed at 2 for the holiday.

At that point, I decided that a hospital emergency room was the appropriate next stop. The nearest one north of me was probably closer, but I’d used the ER in the hospital to the south before, so I figured that the paperwork would likely be easier and went there.

By the time I got there, I could tell that I was bleeding more than I had thought. I got processed in and evaluated. The ER doctor wasn’t going to do any scans of my lower back until I said that I actually had more pain from that than the bite. The bite turned out to be a bit more severe than their usual dog bite. She told me they normally don’t stitch up dog bites, but my skin was torn more than usual. I ended up with three stitches on the back of my thigh, and one or two on the front. There are other punctures making a nice impression of the teeth, but only two of them were producing most of the bleeding.

When the scans of my back were finished, I was told that I had a “minor compression fracture” of my L1 vertebra, and it was possible that a small bit had broken off my L3 vertebra. I was also told that there was no interventionist treatment for those, and it would go away on its own.

Christmas dinner the next day went well enough, but between my reduced mobility and the pain I was in, it didn’t go as well as I’d have liked. I pointed my daughter to her (unwrapped) present, and said, “I was planning to wrap it last night, but something came up.” Of course, I’d kept her informed of what happened once I got to the ER, so her response about “something came up” was suitably droll.

So here I am, feeling tired, drug out, and in pain. What surprises me is that I’ve also pretty much lost my appetite – I didn’t have breakfast yesterday, ate less than half my plate for Christmas dinner, which was around 2pm, didn’t have anything for dinner last night. This morning, I didn’t have breakfast again, and forced myself to eat some leftovers around noon. I may not eat again today.

Tomorrow, I have to contact my PCP about a followup, contact the police about the incident (the local police station is closed until tomorrow), and the guy whose dog bit me said that his vet will be open tomorrow, so he can provide me with its rabies vaccination information then. If I don’t get it tomorrow, I’ll probably have to start the rabies shots myself, since the incubation period can be as little as a week, and it’s invariably fatal once symptoms show up, according to the ER doctor.

As I said, not the best Christmas. It could easily have been worse, though. Always count your blessings.

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