Friday, August 17, 2007

Barking in the night

When the dog goes crazy in the middle of the night, there's something up. He'll often bark in a half-hearted, I'm-bored-and-want-to-wake-up-the-neighborhood sort of way, but he doesn't often go crazy loud and agitated. We should know that when he does, it's something not to ignore.

Naturally, since I had multiple presentations this week, was on call, and was stressed to the max, it was a good time for a catastrophe of some sort. After waking at 2 a.m. to hush Malcom's craziness, I saw something flicker in my peripheral vision like a moth. Except it was a huge moth. A moth the size of a bat. I didn't want it to be a bat, but even through my groggy stupor, I couldn't quite ignore that it really was. A bat. Flying from one child's room to the other at 2:00 a.m. in complete disregard for my desire for rest.

I'd never want to endure a catastrophe without the Boss sharing the fun, so we together laid our plan: save the kids (if possible), open the deck door to let the bat out, and check for signs of vampire infestation. On the signal from Boss, I closed Grace's door, grabbed Sam, and propped open the deck door. As the bat swooped toward my neck baring its unnaturally long fangs, I dove for cover and cowered under our bedroom blankets.

This was not one of my finer moments.

Having lost track of the bat, we left the deck door propped, and barricaded ourselves into our bedroom with clothes stuck in the door cracks to keep the ravenous predator away from sleeping baby flesh. We'd de-bat the house tomorrow, I thought to myself. I tried to go to sleep, but boss kept punching me in her sleep. She told me the next day she was dreaming a snake was on her. I don't know what this means, but it made it hard to doze off again.

Unfortunately for us all, we were awakened later in the night by the clicking creature hanging from the blinds on the window next to me. I sounded the alarm, Boss jumped, bat spooked, and a fair amount of time was spent trying to capture a bat flying through our carefully barricaded bedroom while child's bodies were strewn about the room like so many corpses.

You would think, after catching the thing, I'd want to make it pay for what it did to us. But, in a moment of reconciliation with nature and the dark demons that possess bats to prey on innocent, overtired families, I let the bat go. Which was a mistake. Because then the Health Department said there was no way to be certain we hadn't all contracted rabies while asleep in the bat infested bedroom. For all the public health people know, that bat could have spit in our gaping, drooling mouths. (For his own good, I hope he didn't time his attack with any snake dreams.)

So now, having received three shots (only four more to go!), I'm well on my way to being rabies free. I feel for the little ones, troopers that they are. Grace had just had shots the day before the bat attack at her well-baby visit. Even Malcom's smug superiority at having ready proof of up-to-date vaccination was dissolved with the news he'd need a booster.

The silver lining on this cloud is that I have it on good authority that the Health Department will bestow us each with a certificate of completion after getting our last shot. Thus, after proudly hanging it on the wall next to my medical degree, I will be able to reassure my patients not only that I obtained my medical degree from an LCME accredited institution, but that my bites are rabies froth free.


Mrs. Donut said...

Outstanding! Now, if ya'll really don't get certificates, I'm going to be upset. I'd like to see that! One night (while living in Iowa), after we had just gotten home from going out to eat, I went upstairs to the computer room. I opened the door, turned on the light, and found a bat flying around in circles in the room. I alerted Scott, then we called my dad (who was in Arkansas, like he could be of much help!), who gave us advice on how to catch the bat and let it go. We went back up into the room, opened the door, but the bat was nowhere within sight. Not eager to really go looking for it, we closed the door, put a town under the door, and went to bed. The next day, we called the bat people. Yes, there really are bat people who come and de-bat houses for a living.
We also used to get bats in the house from time to time while I was growing up. One night in particular, when I was pretty young, a bat got into the house after I had already gone to sleep. My family told me about the incident when I woke up the next morning, because I had no recollection of it whatsoever: the bat flew into my room, my dad and brothers clamored after it, I sat bold upright in bed and asked, "What's going on?" as the bat proceeded to fly around my head several times. Daddy calmy said, "Nothing, kid, go back to sleep." According to the report, I laid back down, at which point the bat flew out of my room and my dad and brothers managed to capture it and let it go.
Bat stories are fun to tell, but scary to live through. Thanks for yours, and I'm sorry about all the shots.

Elizabeth said...

You are a fabulous storyteller! I was grinning from ear to ear. It sounded HORRIFYING, but hilarious.

Ree said...

So, did you ever figure out how it got through your bedroom door? Are there attic passages maybe? What a bummer that a moment of compassion cost so many shots!

B said...

If y'all weren't such good writers, you might get more sympathy and fewer laughs from all your escapades...then again, laughter is great and we still feel bad for you, we're just ROFLWFSFY (rolling on the floor laughing, while feeling sorry for you!)

Ben said...

This post makes me very happy. It may have something to do with the fifty other blog posts I just read in my reader, next to which your tale of rabid vampire bats is refreshingly light and angst-free. I hope you'll scan your certificate of completion and post it here for all to see.

Princess Gerty said...

Unbelievable! No wonder your son is fascinated with vampires!