This post is a continuation from the prior “Going Batty” post. If you haven’t read that one yet, I recommend reading it so that you have context for this post. After this one, you can move on to part 3, part 4, and part 5.
So, we went to the ER yesterday afternoon to get our shots. We live about 20 minutes away from the nearest hospital, so it was an easy enough thing to pick up the kids from their respective schools and trot on up the road – in quite a bit of a monsoon (Tropical Storm Andrea) to the closest ER. The place was empty when we got there, prompting me to stupidly remark about how we were the only ones there. Of course, a queue showed up and the front desk people tried not to hurl staplers at my head.
As soon as our paperwork was done, we were ushered into a “Fast Track” Exam Room, where we then proceeded to wait for a whole hour. This prompted some complaining from dh about how the healthcare delivery system isn’t reliant on customer service, so there isn’t any…at which point I reminded him gently that there are people who come to the ER for things a bit more traumatic and perhaps in need of urgent assistance than the family that moseyed in for rabies vax a week post-exposure.
The doctor who came in about halfway through our wait asked a few questions about the exposure, then he confirmed our weights so that they could get the dosage right. The Human Rabies Immune Globulin (HRIG) that’s administered before the hot pink rabies vaccine is dosed based on weight. The most amusing part of this entire process was seeing the double take from the doctor when I told him my weight and he thought I was kidding because I didn’t look like I weighed that much. Sigh. I wish I didn’t weigh as much as all that, especially when my “skinnier” jeans aren’t tight on me. Oh well.
Eventually, a nurse came to claim dh and he returned about 5 minutes later, looking pale as a ghost. I put on my brave face for the kids and scooted out with the nurse after I confirmed with dh that he was, in fact, okay. Being that I’m the heaviest of the bunch, I got the most shots (all based on that HRIG). While DH got four shots (or five – he can’t remember), I ended up with six: five of the HRIG and one of the rabies vax (Novartis’ RabAvert). Thank goodness we weren’t turned away at the door. It wasn’t until I went to go grab links for this post that I saw there’d been any kind of concern (now lifted) about rabies vax supply!
Natch, all the shots are intramuscular – so the pair of nurses administered four doses in my legs (thigh muscles), one in my glute and one in my upper arm (the last being the RabAvert). All of the remaining shots are going to be in the arm and they’ll be of the hot pink RabAvert vax. The funny thing is, getting all kinds of shots in my legs didn’t hurt nearly as much as the ONE shot in my arm. Go fig.
After my shots, I collected ds – who was a MASSIVE TROOPER and didn’t even cry or flinch – and then dd, who completely blew past her own expectations and was similarly a BOSS at getting her shots with nary a whimper. Both kids just did wonderfully with their shots. Hopefully this means that we’ll have a slightly easier time with the remaining shots, since it’s only ONE needle and not several. (They each had two shots – one of the HRIG and one of the RabAvert.)
Once we got our shots, I got us through the discharge process – $400 in ER copays for the lot of us – and we were off to dinner at Friendly’s. DS ate pretty poorly, but he drank most of his dinner. I can relate; I’ve had nights where that was a solid option. Of course, seeing as how he’s only 3, “drinking his dinner” constituted 1-1/2 plastic cups of milk.
The process of explaining to the kids what was going on was really pretty similar to how you don’t tell your dog you’re neutering them until they’re at the vet. Until then, it’s all, “Hey, boy! Let’s go for a ride!” We waited until dd was in the car and we were almost to ds’ day care to let her in on what had happened. She had questions that were sometimes tough to answer, such as “Was the bat in my room?”…but not answering just seemed wrong. What I did say, repeatedly, was that we’d located how the bats got in and we’d gotten it fixed. The more I said it, the more I wanted to believe that I could finally take it to heart and stop having my pulse race the second I hear any sound late at night. I’m still so jumpy, and I want not to be.
Our next set of shots is on Monday morning; the whole family goes in for the first appointment of the day, and then we’ll disperse to work and school. I let the school nurse at dd’s school and the assistant director at ds’ day care in on what’s going on, and everybody’s been very sweet and accommodating. My boss is being fantastic about it and is giving me the space I need to just get this all sorted out as efficiently as possible. They all just feel so badly for us. At this point, I want the shots done so that I can say, “We had a problem, but we did the remediation on the house and we got our treatment, so it’s DONE AND NOW WE MUST NEVER SPEAK OF IT AGAIN.” Oh, how I hope we can get to that point soon.
Hopefully, this also won’t be a leg-breaker of a cost for us. We already sank $700 into the bat-proofing from the wildlife company, and now we can add another $400 in ER copays to the tally. Assuming that the remaining vax visits are coded properly, we should be able to call it a day on the financial costs of this nightmare – immunizations are fully covered benefits for our health plan, thanks to Health Care Reform (aka Obamacare). That potentially saves us another $240, but I won’t know for sure until all the claims are processed. I did call our insurer Wednesday night and they said that this is how things should work out. We’ll see.
So, the saga continues, but hopefully it’s all uphill from here. I’m so incredibly impressed with how well the kids did this afternoon. And now it’s time to soldier on…because, really, what else is there to do?