Doug’s Big Bite

During our first couple years of marriage, Doug racked up an impressive 64 stitches, two front teeth knocked out and an assortment of casts and slings…..this was just from playing ice hockey.  There was more trauma, but we don’t have time here.

Before marrying Doug I had never seen the inside of an emergency room….afterward…. it was almost a second home.

When the TV show “Home Improvement” appeared a few years later, I was an immediate fan.  Striking similarities drew me right in.  With Doug it was like having our own “Tim The Tool Man” Taylor…except it wasn’t quite as fun as it looked on TV.

So I was not surprised to get Doug’s call at my office in Anchorage.  He’d been working out-of-town.  Among many skills he is a baker, and often worked in oil pipeline camps when jobs were available.

Things were not going well for the boys and me at our rustic outpost in the woods…I was especially happy to hear his voice.

“Can you pick me up at the airport?  You can just drop me off at the doctor, then I’ll wait around till you’re done work today.”

“So, what’s up”, I actually hated to ask….you never knew what to expect.

“No big deal, just got a little bite”.

“A bite?”

“Yea, a fox bit me….they think it might have rabies”.

I hate to admit this, but I’d already started taking these things with a grain of salt.  Sometimes Doug says crazy stuff just to see what happens.  I’d learned to play it cool.

At the airport he showed me the puncture wounds.  Just two tiny holes…hadn’t even bled.  He’d stepped out the back door of the kitchen on a break and this crazy little fox shot out of the woods and bit his leg.  So to the doctor we went….rabies treatment to start ASAP.

Current rabies treatment is a series of 5 shots over a course of time.  Unfortunately for Doug, we were still living in the “olden days”.  This meant he had to have 25 injections…in the every other day or so.  They choose an area with a large amount of skin not normally exposed.  The injection site becomes sore, almost festery.  You need space to avoid giving a shot in an inflamed area.  It is as gross as it sounds.

The shots themselves aren’t so bad (easy for me to say), and he did well the first few days.  But the pain eventually caught up to him.  I felt sorry, but at the same time wondered how many more crazy predicaments could he get into?  I shouldn’t have wondered.

Driving around with the boys one afternoon, Doug spotted a “For Sale” sign …. these cannot be ignored.  There was also a “No Trespassing” sign and a dog sitting on the front porch….huge dilemna for Doug.  Which sign should he ignore?  I’m sure you know the answer.

The pathway to the front door was overgrown.  Dog didn’t bark…just sat there, so Doug felt safe.  He kept calling to the dog, “Hey boy, how ya doin’… blah, blah, blah”.

He knocked on the door, patting the dog’s head.  The bushes partially blocked our view, but the boys and I could still see Doug and the dog …. a huge St. Bernard.

No one was answering but it looked like Doug and the pooch were having fun.

“Look, Mommy!” David’s laughing, “Daddy’s playing.”

The “playing” was too intense.  I was getting danger vibes.  Finally Doug pulled away from the dog, stumbling, crawling up the path.  The dog was barking and lunging, trying to break free from its chain.  The two had actually been doing battle.

Doug’s clothes were ripped, he was bleeding.  So off to the doc we went ….who was getting to know the McGillivrays quite well by then.  Between Doug’s right arm and right thigh, the doctor cleaned and dressed 36 puncture wounds.  It was convenient, he said, that Doug was already receiving rabies treatment…. his “lucky day”.  Oh, yea.

After a couple weeks lounging about nursing his wounds, Doug was itching to get back to camp.  They called and needed him.  I was anxious for him to leave before he did any more damage to himself.

There were a few more injections to go so the doctor showed Doug what to do and sent him off to work with a supply of vaccine and needles.  I doubt you could get away with that today.

Doug has a great sense of humor or else I couldn’t post this.  And he’s most certainly tough ….unusual, but tough.

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