Four days later, I make the call to the pediatrician again — because I’m thinking that by now, I should see that shift. You know the one, where they start to get a little hungry, and start asking for food, and the color starts to fill their cheeks. I’m seeing a paler and paler face. And stranger yet, none of the other boys are showing any of the same symptoms — they’re all healthy as a bird.
The nurse, tells me, that it’s not day 5 yet. Yes I know. But he must be seen, today. She then asked, “What is he doing right now?” Well, he’s trying to play Bingo with me, but he can hardly sit up to do it because he doesn’t have the strength.
“OK, bring him in.”
My husband comes home from work to watch the other 3. I begin to get a little nervous. The memory of the bat keeps coming back. Six nights before this, I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and I heard, felt — something — the floor creak. That was odd. I know our house is old, (1922), but I don’t think I ever remember hearing the ceramic tile creak. But what’s this? Something else? Something fluttering. It is dark, and I feel something fluttering around my legs. I turn on the light — and YES, it’s a bat.
I do scream, pretty loudly, and yes that news report that your kids will never hear the smoke alarm if it goes off in the middle of the night, is true. All 4 slept quietly in their beds while Dad came running in. I have read that even though the door is closed, bats, being the “rodents” that they are, will squeeze their way underneath door jams. And, of course, they can carry rabies. Still, I could not bring myself to “hitting the bat” with a towel. Bats are a “protected species.” You cannot kill a bat. (They do a lot of good things for us, apparently.) So the plan was to grab it in a towel and set it free outside.
I carefully opened the bathroom door, and came out, and shut the door quickly behind me, so that my husband can go in to take care of the bat.
The problem is, my husband’s contacts are in the bathroom, and his glasses have been missing since we got back from one of our whirlwind trips to the Lake, and he is “blind as a bat” without them.
So, I open the door, and give my husband the exact location of the bat. First, it was in the sink, fluttering around. I close the door, give Ironman the quadrants, and then, he carefully opens the door, throws on the towel — but there is no bat there. It’s flying overhead. We had to do this about 12 times before we got it right. I won’t make you sit through all the gory details, but the most memorable of his locations was when he was hanging off the drawer pull of the cupboard. My husband caught the bat, and it was happily set free — outside.
As my mind races back to the incident while I’m waiting in the pediatrican’s office , I make a cell call to my husband to ask him to google rabie symptoms. Sure enough, they were the same ones that my son was showing. Of course, “once these symptoms appear, it is already too late.” There are no bite marks, but that doesn’t always mean anything, the web site explained.
The Dr. opens the door, and I begin to sob, and tell her he’s very sick, and yes, we had a bat in our house.
Thanksfully, her red medical reference book was a little more detailed than google, and no, he didn’t really have those symptoms. She checked for bat bites, and of course, there were none.
But he had something else, and that remained a mystery. After lots of prodding, and measuring, we learned it was pneunomia, which came out of nowhere; he did not have a cold, or a runny nose, or even a cough. He couldn’t breathe, and it was taking all of his strength to do that. Antibiotics did the trick. And he was fine and dandy.