Running and rabies

Ah. It’s me. I’m back. I still have a stack of posts to write up about “le grand walk” (not sure why it’s French, as I was walking in England, but anyway…)

But in the meantime, a quick anecdote.

I went for a run. Perhaps that was my first mistake. But run I did. It was a good run. A cracker, actually. Seven kilometres and some change. Just after the 5k mark I got bitten by a dog. There’s not much to that story. I was running along. Went to go around the dog. It was very small, and it started to chase me. I kind of smiled at it as I kept running. And then it lunged at my calf.

I was bitten by an angry pug.

After much cajoling, C convinced me to go to the hospital. Turns out there’s rabies in Croatia, although it’s very rare. And in any case, dog bites are generally pretty gross so I should at least get it checked out.

I’ve had only one other experience of hospitals in Croatia and I won’t go into the details except to say that it was extremely unpleasant. I was not keen to relive my previous encounter. However, this time everything went rather smoothly.

“Newman?” I was called into the doctor’s room.

“Možemo na engleskom?” I asked.

“Yes, we can communicate in English,” said the doctor. “But just a moment.” He was dictating something to a nurse.

After he had asked me what happened, I explained that I’d been bitten by a dog. I rolled the leg of my tights up above my knee so he could see the wound. He started picking at the bandaid on my toe.

“No, no,” I said. “This is the wound up here.”

He examined it, said it was superficial but that he would have it cleaned, and asked me about my tetanus status. I decided to get a tetanus booster because I honestly cannot remember the last time I had a shot of any description, so chances are I am not particularly up to date in the tetanus department.

The nurse, thus summoned, came over to clean my wound. I was lying on the bench with one leg of my tights rolled up above my knee, the other rolled down. She started to pick at the bandaid on my toe.

“No, no,” I said. “The wound is up here,” and pointed to my calf.

Perhaps dog bites to toes is a common problem in Croatia? Perhaps that’s why they’re so terrified of wearing flip-flops.

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.

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