Last December 13, a day after I received my iPad, I was bitten by a dying kitten. And after that many unpleasant events unfolded. I know, life is a wheel of fortune or what we call Gulong ng Palad in the Philippines, and I guess after receiving my iPad which was an incomparably joyous moment in my life, this misfortune took over right away. I’ve already promised myself that this year I would stop keeping a record of negative events in my life, but I just can’t forget it and I don’t think I ever will. To be honest, my holidays weren’t as happy and relaxed as I wanted it to be because I let this thing get to my head and it’s been troubling me for quite some time. So let me share it to you.
It was December 13, a fine Sunday and as usual, a study day. I went out to bottle-feed one of our kittens during one of my study breaks because she was quadriplegic (due to some accident). I could tell that she was already dying because she was getting paler each day. But I’ve always believed otherwise because I once had a quadriplegic kitten a few years back which survived and returned to normal. So I really wanted to try to save this kitten this time. She was still feeding well so it was a good sign. I’ve been feeding her for a few days before, but on that day, just as I was putting the medicine dropper into her mouth and my other hand supporting her head, she bit my thumb (on my supporting hand)! And it profusely bled. My, how painful it was! I put the kitten down gently and immediately washed my wound. It was my first time to be bitten by an animal and it was deep! After I washed my wound I sat down, but I felt like fainting so I quickly walked to bed. I did faint but I was aware. I was just really overwhelmed.
When I was back to my senses I messaged my doctor aunt, asking if she could help me. Thank goodness she was available that day and so I went out to buy Anti-Rabies vaccine and Tetanus Toxoid. It was quite pricey and I was kinda hesitant to spend my money but it was for the best. After all, hospitalization and dying is more costly. 😂 And so I brought the medicine to my aunt’s house and there she administered them to me. She was really good, I barely felt any pain. But wait, this is where things started to seem worse. She told me that my next dose would be on Wednesday. What? There’s still a next dose? I remembered that I spent P2000 for the first dose alone. I told her, “Okay auntie, see you then.” and left.
Upon arriving home I looked up the WHO protocol for animal bites. It said that I would only need to observe the kitten or receive 1 or 2 booster shots since I was already previously immunized in 2016. And so I was quite relieved, thinking that that dose given to me earlier was already enough and that I wouldn’t spend no more. But when I went out to check on the kitten, IT WAS ALREADY DEAD! And so I panicked and my heart sank, because I know I’ll have to spend money again for a 2nd or even 3rd and 4th dose (because it’s a high-risk exposure and better be safe and get the necessary doses than sorry). I know, I’m being very particular with my money, because I was just frustrated why I have to spend it on something which was totally preventable than on things that could’ve made me or my family happy.
I spent some time thinking about it, but I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Oh well, such is life. I should be thankful it’s only an animal bite.” That night, I received my assignment for our small group discussion for Wednesday. Yup, same day as my 2nd dose for the vaccine. I honestly wasn’t able to focus that much on studying because I kept thinking about the money and my schedule. It was really cumbersome. I kept re-reading the animal bites protocol hoping that something will change but it was really it. I even asked some nurse friends about my situation, and they said I would need only a booster shot. BUT, if I can’t provide my old immunization card (as proof that I have been previously immunized) I would have to get a full course of Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) also considering that the animal died. Great! I left my immunization card overseas and I’m not even sure if I received the complete course of Post Exposure Prophylaxis before. Sigh, now I’ll have to spend P2000 three more times so that would be a total of P8000. 😔 It’s just frustrating because I wanted to save as much money as I could, cuz it’s not mine in the first place.
And so Wednesday morning came, we had our small group discussion and my, it went so badly. I only had one question to answer and I swear it was the most basic of all, but I got it terribly wrong. I felt stupid and dumb and I wished the ground would open up and swallow me whole. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. It was so embarrassing, because most of my groupmates were the top-tier students of my class, and maybe they were thinking “WTF, seriously, Maria? Gosh that was so basic!” because they know I also have pretty good grades and it’s impossible for me to not be able to answer a basic question. I actually had the right answers but I was just not able to organize my report well because I was too overwhelmed with everything and I thought I could just get away with it. I was just really after getting things over with during that day (finishing the SGD and going out to get my 2nd/last dose of the vaccine) but there I was, terribly ashamed by the extreme interrogation that happened. In the end, I thanked our doctor and listened to the next reporters, but my day, my whole being, it was all ruined. After SGD I gathered myself and went out to get my 2nd shot. It was not good, because it seemed like every person I met outside knew what was going on. I felt like the world was laughing at and mocking me. I know, it’s just my pride, and that event taught me a very valuable lesson that I seem to have forgotten.
I cried myself to sleep that night, and kept thinking about how I could’ve done better. But I told myself it’s okay because I was only limited by the stress of the events that happened and I can always improve, right? But it wasn’t helping. It really hurt my pride. When we had the next SGD (the last before holiday break), our doctor commended the reporting group because they did it well. I felt even more stupid hearing that, because it reminded me how I’m never good enough no matter how I try. I remembered how in our first meet with her she told me that most of my report was insignificant even though I mentioned the important stuff. Maybe she wasn’t listening when I said it. It was kind of annoying but as usual, just accept it. And so I spent the holidays with all those things in my mind. It was not good (but of course I was still happy and thankful to be able to celebrate the holidays with my family, as this would probably be my last before I go into a no-holiday internship this year). But I really felt kinda empty, all rooting from that cat bite.
Last Tuesday we had our first SGD of the year, and I was finally able to fight the fear and report well. But guess what, of all 3 topics, the doctor said that our topic wasn’t discussed very well, especially with the diagnosis and treatment part (It was me who presented about the diagnostics but I discussed all that was in the book and from a YouTuber OB GYN even). I was starting to think that she has personal grudges against me (but why would she tho? 😅) or maybe someone told her to make my life miserable. Okay, enough with the overthinking. She’s only after our learning. But the thing is I didn’t miss anything and she only repeated what I already discussed! Of course it would make me wonder. Ugh. Anyway, nights before, I read Dr. Najeeb’s holiday message on YouTube, he said, “Remember, failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” It made me feel lighter. Thanks Dr. Najeeb, always an inspiration.
And so I’m ending this post here, telling myself and anyone who might need this, that it’s okay. Forget pride and accept that sometimes things have to happen to open your eyes. I should be thankful that I was embarrassed during that SGD and learned something than get away with it and learn nothing. After all, it’s the knowledge I’m after, no matter how I earn it, right? Some groups would even skip SGDs and end up missing lots of stuff and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one in my class who has experienced something like this.
I still feel what I felt that day but to a lesser degree now, and I still have one more shot of Anti-Rabies on Wednesday. Hopefully I would improve further and be braver in facing whatever life throws at me.