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Amethyst Hunter
12-14-2011, 07:41 PM
Went to the local care clinic in town.

They told me since it's a stray and I don't know if anyone owns it, I have to go to the ER and get bloodwork done.

Incredibly, the goddamn cat came back this afternoon, so I caught him in my cat carrier (using some canned food as bait) and will be taking him with me just in case.

But, either way, I'm still dead. Possible disease, or poverty.

I officially give up at life.

RecoveringKinkoid
12-14-2011, 07:48 PM
Call animal control they can quarantine the cat for observation. Or they can simply kill it and tested for rabies. If you have it, you may not have to get shots.
The same thing happened to me.

Treasure
12-14-2011, 08:03 PM
you are aware that the cat may end up put down?
Unfortunately (at least in my area) it has happened even to people's pets - go to the ER with an animal bite, and animal control shows up at the home, saying "we need to do blood work on your animal, it was reported that it bit someone, if you don't hand over the animal you can go to jail" and so then you hand over the pet, and then you wait for a call to come pick it up, etc etc, and then 3 days go by and you call and get told, "Oh it was put down as a vicious animal...."

I have not experienced this myself - this example is third or fourth hand - please do not take this to Fratching....


I am just pointing out the possibility :( not trying to discourage you from taking him in with you, the probability goes up due to his being a stray....

I hope everyone turns out ok

also, with as much help as your mom and aunt have given you, why aren't you spending christmas with them?

Amethyst Hunter
12-15-2011, 12:43 AM
you are aware that the cat may end up put down?

Yes, I know this. AFAIK, the only known way to test for rabies is to do an autopsy, and since you can't do one of those on a LIVING creature...

I hope it won't come to that. But, if it's him or me, I know who I'm siding with in the end, and I say this as a diehard cat lover. Don't think the possibility doesn't make me sick(er).


also, with as much help as your mom and aunt have given you, why aren't you spending christmas with them?

Three reasons:

1) They can't afford to come down here (they live up north in the Midwest; I'm down here in Florida - hell, my dad just blew a bunch of money just to come down here on short notice to be with me when I had my teeth taken out),

2) I can't afford to go up there,

3) even if they could afford it, my mom's shitty workplace won't let ANYONE (save for douchebag management of course) take off of work during the holiday season. No exceptions. (Believe me, she's tried.)

I'd LOVE to spend the holiday with my family. But I won't be able to.

And now, update:

I'm not going to the ER. I just can't afford to do this on a whim. If I had the money easily available I WOULD do so in a heartbeat. But I don't. I spent the day talking to as many people as I could to get a consensus. Half are voting ER, the other half say to wait a day or two and see what happens with the injury. One woman who'd been bitten by a cat told me that her doctor told her that cat bites show infection very quickly, in a matter of hours. Another woman who owns/works at the local cat shelter here looked at my bite and said it's not a problem as long as I keep the site cleaned. (She herself has been bitten many times by the cats she cares for)

The people against the ER did say that if it gets worse, if I have any problems that weren't there before, I should go to the ER, and I will, because then I won't have a choice. But I seriously pray it won't come to that. I haven't noticed anything with the injury itself getting any worse, so I can only hope that he didn't bite me hard enough and that I poured enough rubbing alcohol and peroxide over it to kill anything.

As for the cat, he's back here at my place. I had to let him go back outside because he peed in the carrier, and the stench is godawful to the point of stinking up my whole place. I can't keep him cooped up in the carrier indefinitely; that would be cruel. (And I can't keep him inside the place here in another room because even with a litter box handy he'd probably still mark-pee in it and permanently stink it up. I rent, so I can't afford to do that.)

I will keep feeding him as long as he shows up just so that I can keep an eye on him and monitor him if there's any sudden changes (I also took his picture just in case), but as of tonight, I will no longer feed any other strays I see around my place. I will however contact this one lady who does low-cost spay/neuter for strays and see if she will at least neuter this poor fellow.

So, that's where I stand: damned if I do, damned if I don't. If anyone wants to pray for me, send well-wishes, do voodoo chants, rain dances, whatever, I would gladly welcome it, because I need all the good luck I can get right now.

*goes to bang head on desk and cry some more*

MoonCat
12-15-2011, 01:17 AM
Here's the thing. If you even remotely suspect that cat may have rabies, YOU CANNOT WAIT. Rabies will kill you. I'm not trying to be dramatic here. Almost no one recovers from that.

Even if it's not that, an infected bite is bad. ER now. Most hospitals have a fund they can tap into for truly hard-up people (try the local Catholic hospital if there is one). PLEASE, DON'T WAIT.

HappyFun Ball
12-15-2011, 01:39 AM
A lot of hospitals have a fund for indigent patients.. Please go, its not like the hospital can repo your car due to non payment.. Medical bills most of the time don't effect your credit negatively. So, go, please go.. You can talk to someone at the hospital about getting the bill reduced and you can make payment arrangements that won't break the bank.

Amethyst Hunter
12-15-2011, 01:40 AM
Here's the thing. If you even remotely suspect that cat may have rabies, YOU CANNOT WAIT. Rabies will kill you. I'm not trying to be dramatic here. Almost no one recovers from that.

Even if it's not that, an infected bite is bad. ER now. Most hospitals have a fund they can tap into for truly hard-up people (try the local Catholic hospital if there is one). PLEASE, DON'T WAIT.

I don't think the cat has rabies. I've known him for about a year, since that's when I first saw him around my place, and he's always looked healthy (though I realize you can't tell just by looking). He was very shy at first. I've seen him off and on over the months, then, earlier in November/October of this year he started showing up again more often and after getting to know me as the person who would give him food, started coming almost every single night since.

He's very friendly and likes to be petted, and he doesn't look sick - has clear eyes, no visible bodily injuries or squick, has never acted like anything but a normal male cat, albeit one that's not yet been neutered. He just doesn't seem to like other cats very much.

I realize it's a risk, I really do. In fact the possibility, however remote of it, is the whole reason I'm as upset as I am right now. Here's the thing: I CANNOT AFFORD A THOUSAND-DOLLAR HOSPITAL BILL WHEN I JUST GOT CLEANED OUT 2300 BUCKS FOR MY WISDOM TEETH. That is literally all the money I had saved, including donations from friends and family; I have less than $200 to my name right now. Even if they would let me pay in installments, I wouldn't be able to give very much at a time, and something tells me the places down here want it as big as possible, IF they will agree to installments at all. Shit, I asked the dental office who did my surgery if they'd work with me on making payment installments, and they flat out said no, even when I offered to give them several hundred bucks' cash *before* the day of the surgery. They made me pay upfront the morning I went in before it was done.

So what am I supposed to do? Either way I'm fucked. Don't think I'm not freaking the hell out over this.

MoonCat
12-15-2011, 02:05 AM
I don't know what else to suggest. They can't legally refuse treatment if there is a serious injury or illness, but of course they can still bill you. You could try talking to their financial services dept. and see if they can help in any way. Sorry I can't come up with anything else. Where in Florida are you? Is there any kind of need-based healthcare that could do the bloodwork for free? Or maybe they could sign you up for Medicaid- it sounds like you'd qualify- and make it retroactive to the day you go for treatment. Just trying to come up with something that might help....

Amethyst Hunter
12-15-2011, 02:20 AM
I don't know what else to suggest. They can't legally refuse treatment if there is a serious injury or illness, but of course they can still bill you. You could try talking to their financial services dept. and see if they can help in any way. Sorry I can't come up with anything else. Where in Florida are you?

SW Florida, Ft. Myers area.

Is there any kind of need-based healthcare that could do the bloodwork for free? Or maybe they could sign you up for Medicaid- it sounds like you'd qualify

Already tried the Medicaid route when I was worrying over how I was going to pay for my dental surgery. I was turned down.

I don't know if there's anything else save for a regular hospital down here. I'm not at all familiar with the area. :(

I just now called my mom and dad to ask their opinions and told them everything I've posted here. They seem to think I should be okay. Granted, they don't want to have to jump in again to help save my sorry butt from another potential disaster, and I don't blame them because it's not like they can afford it either. But my folks are generally sensible otherwise.

God, I wish I had a thousand bucks to throw away on an ER visit, I really do. If I had the money I'd do it just for my own peace of mind.

Lesson learned. No more feeding stray cats. Ever.

LillFilly
12-15-2011, 02:38 AM
There's financial assistance for people with no insurance. I had a 13,000$ medical bill with no insurance that I made monthly payments on, applied for hardship, and the rest was written-off as charity. It sucks, but your life means more than money and you can always make more money. The point is, once you SHOW SIGNS of rabies it's already too late and you will most likely die. You need the shots NOW or I'm sorry to say, as much as you like Freddie you will have to have him tested for the disease if you don't want to go through the expense of the shots because the only way to tell if he has rabies will be for them to put him to sleep and examine his brain. If it comes to a decision between you and Freddie, I'd chose YOU!

ArcticChicken
12-15-2011, 02:39 AM
Look, at the very least, take the cat and have him tested. Yeah, it'll kill him, but better him then you.

Amethyst Hunter
12-15-2011, 02:46 AM
Look, at the very least, take the cat and have him tested. Yeah, it'll kill him, but better him then you.

It's more the thought of what this is going to likely cost me, financially, that is making me sick right now.

But I'm starting to lean towards going...

ShadowBall
12-15-2011, 02:53 AM
That sounds very similar to a cat bite I got a few years ago. The local thrift store had a stray they let in during the winter and he was just as sweet as pie, loved to be petted and would do laps around your legs, but he hated his belly being touched. I found that out the hard way when he sunk his teeth into my hand - not breaking the skin, but leaving me a few bruised tooth indents in my hand. I never went to the doctor because it never broke the skin. Rabies has to get into the blood or something mucousy, so there was no cause for concern when I was not bleeding.

My hand hurt for a few days - it was like someone poked me really hard with a dull pencil a few times. But I was fine in a couple days - no scarring, nada.

The cat was not rabid - he looked quite healthy for a stray. Nothing ever happened to me. Sadly, the cat bit someone else who was less tolerant and he got put down.

I don't blame you for not wanting to go - ER visits are bloody expensive and unfortunately you go to collections if you just let the hospital eat the bill. I don't think it's always terribly bad to feed stray cats - it's just some get really bitchy if you handle them in certain ways. I've been scratched and bitten all my life by strays and never once got sick.

Amethyst Hunter
12-15-2011, 03:13 AM
I'm caving. I'll go right now to the ER (after I stop off at mallwart and buy another phone card, because I have a feeling I'll be eating up my minutes).

I just...the possibility of it is scaring me shitless. I can't risk it, however small it is.

I feel so sick right now over what this is going to cost me. I'm going to be in debt for the rest of my life. And I will probably be responsible for the death of a poor animal.

I have truly failed life. :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

Will update when I can.

Seshat
12-15-2011, 04:29 AM
No you haven't. Circumstances can be tough, that's all.

If it weren't for rabies, I would be saying you can treat it like other wounds: keep it clean, watch for signs of infection, see a pharmacist if it shows minor infection, see a doctor for anything more serious.
Cat-scratch fever is to be taken seriously, yes: but it does give (some) warning.


Unfortunately, rabies - as others have said here - gives no warning. Once you know you have it, it's too late.

You are simply doing what has to be done. That this has horrible consequences is <political opinion elided>.

Amethyst Hunter
12-15-2011, 06:42 PM
All right, so I caved and went to the ER last night. I now have a new depression that stems from an epiphany, but for now, here's how it went:

First I tried to catch the cat again, since he was at my place, but just as I figured, he did NOT want to go back inside the carrier (not that I blame him, poor cat). I then tried cutting up an old plastic tub of mine to put him in, but that also met with failure. It's amazing how strong animals can be when they don't want to go somewhere. After about twenty minutes of this I conceded defeat and went then to the gas station, hoping to get what I wanted (a phone card and some more canned food to use as bait, just in case for the future), and I did. My poor checking account is as bruised as I am now.

I then went to the ER. Since it was so late by then (after midnight) the traffic was nonexistent. It's weird down here, how during the daytime it's so congested but then around 10, 11 at night, everybody suddenly vanishes and the streets are literally empty. I kind of like it like that, and it's easier to blow through the stoplights since they don't change as often.

Finding the hospital itself wasn't hard, I pass by it all the time if I'm going a certain direction on my way to the Mallwart. Finding the actual ER entrance itself, though, was a different story. That was due mainly to my own stupidity. I ended up walking a HUGE circle all around the grounds in order to get to it, only to find out after the visit that it was, ironically, not very far from where I'd parked. Yes, I am a moron. As you can imagine that in itself was freaking me out pretty badly.

Also due to the late hour, there was no waiting. I'd brought a book (Harry Potter, Deathly Hallows - oh, irony) just in case but never needed it. I signed in and they took all my vitals and information. My temperature was about normal (98.1) but I think my blood pressure was around 147/97. Normally it's around 120/80ish. I chalk this up to my long walk and general upset.

I was then led into a room by a nice guy whose name was Julian, I think. He was a cat lover too and showed me his big scar that wrapped around his forearm and wrist. His cat had been in heat, he wanted her to move off the bed so he tried picking her up, and boom, she lost it. Ouch. (His was considerably worse-looking than mine.)

Next came a nurse named Lisa. I repeated my story as I'd done with the others (I think I explained the whole thing about 5 or 6 times total, all these people) who'd seen me. She took a look and said that it didn't look bad at all (and really, it doesn't - I'll try to post pictures later when I'm at home) and she didn't think it was infected - or that there was much risk of rabies. (You have no idea how relieved I was to hear that.) She took down more information from me and then the doctor, whose badge read Physician Assistant, showed up. He also looked at it and corroborated the nurse's diagnosis. He said that if it had been a bat, skunk or raccoon, it would have been a different story and I'd probably have had to go the prophylaxis route (which is HELLA expensive, judging from what I've read/heard).

Both the doctor and Nurse Lisa agreed though that I should update my tetanus shot as a precaution, to which I readily agreed. Beats getting shot up for rabies, that's for damn sure. Evidently the recommendation for the tetanus vaccine is now once every 5 years, rather than the old standard of 5 - 10 years. Last time I got a shot for that was in October of 2005 when I got nipped by a dog at my then-job.

By now I'd calmed down (if the pros weren't worried, I figured that was a good sign, yes? I'd even shown them all the picture I'd taken of the cat earlier that day) and Nurse Lisa came back with the shot. Tetanus shots, for those who've not had them, really don't hurt. They're a very tiny needle. But it's only the next day that you really start feeling it - your whole arm hurts like a sumbitch and it's hard to lift it beyond waist-level. I remembered that from 2005 and figured it was the lesser of two evils, I could deal. It takes several days for that discomfort to wear off. Right now, my arm is okay - I can lift it, move it around - but the injection site is sore and I can feel it if I accidentally brush against something. Maybe they've improved on the things since 2005. (Wouldn't surprise me, seeing how fast technology moves anymore)

Next came a lady from the office who took down still more of my information, mostly contact and financial stuff. She mentioned that I'm probably eligible for a discount on the bill since I have no insurance and work retail, but since I just had to pay $45 for the antibiotic they prescribed me, I'm not holding my breath. I still expect the bill to be horrendous.

Nurse Lisa came back in again with a big pill called Augmentin, the antibiotic, another precaution. I downed it in one swig of water and drank the rest while the office lady finished grilling me and then I waited about ten minutes while they processed all the paperwork. Then Nurse Lisa came in and said I could go home.

Evidently they'll be sending me the bill, so I didn't immediately have to plop down any money that night, but it's only bad news delayed. Anybody want to guess what this is going to run me? I think I'll bet around $1200. My pet store one was about $800 or 900, so the price has probably shot up since then. Yay eternal debt!

That was when I left the building and discovered my parking error that caused me to walk all the way around the building when I could have just gone to my left and gone right into the ER. Me dumb. Anyhoo when I got home after 2 am kitty cat was there waiting for me as usual. I petted him and he seemed all right, so I went inside. But shortly after I came home, I was feeling nausea and I figured it had to be that damn antibiotic pill. I should mention that I'd had almost no food to eat that day as a result of being so stressed out, so maybe I need to take these pills with food to avoid barfing. I had one a while ago with a Subway sandwich and don't feel anything yet, so hopefully that works. But yeah, sure enough I puked up a light yellowish-green stream, but no pill, so I wonder if it managed to dissolve and get into my system in time. I have to take these pills twice a day.

After barfing I felt a lot better, so I brushed my teeth and went to sleep. Now begins the watch to see how the wound progresses. I slapped some Polysporin and a band-aid on it this morning, figuring that'll keep it protected while I'm at work later on. The doctor said it looked more like the teeth had just gouged a small furrow instead of actually puncturing, and today when I examined it, that sounds about right. So, a shallow wound instead of a deeper one.

*sigh* The irony is that I came down here to make money. But all I've done since I got here was lose it. *headshake*

But that's where I am now. Likely no rabies, just have to watch for infection, and for sure I'll be keeping an eye on the cat just in case. I plan to dig up this number for a woman who does low-cost spay/neuter and see if I can get him neutered, assuming he turns out okay.

I still feel exhausted from all this insanity. :p

Dasota
12-15-2011, 08:25 PM
My cat bit my once after I had given her a bath and had accidently trapped her in the towel. I went to Urgent Care and they perscribed me the same thing, I ended up going back to them that same day to get a different perscription, turns out I'm allergic to Augmentin, which means I can't take penicillian drugs again which perturbs me that I now have an allergy that affects so many other things medically

AnaKhouri
12-15-2011, 09:22 PM
Geez, what a pain for you. And the antibiotic probably did make you nauseous, so don't worry you're getting sick- I learned the hard way that Augmentin says to take it with food for a very good reason.

Hope things look up soon. I wish I was rich so i could just help all the people on this board who are having hard financial times!

Kaylyn
12-15-2011, 10:46 PM
I've been keeping an eye on the thread, and I for one am glad you went, even though it's probably fine.

I saw one of those vet shows on Animal Planet once where a woman had to lift her cat off an iron gate (it had fallen and gotten impaled), and naturally the cat was QUITE upset about its predicament. Wound up biting her in the process and puncturing the skin. The woman was a professional pianist or organist, I can't remember which, and she wound up nearly losing her hand to the bite, simply due to the amount of bacteria in a cat's mouth, which is much worse than a dog's. She kept saying during the first visit that she was sure it would be fine, that the swelling that was happening was just a normal reaction to a bite. Next visit she had her hand all stitched up, where they actually had to remove some skin and infected tissue. Doctors said if she'd waited much longer the whole hand might have been lost, or at least major function of it.

That story is why I don't mess around with cat bites. I'm thrilled the doctor seems to think you'll be fine, but I'm very glad you went to get it checked. And good luck on getting that discount; I know it'll ease your mind quite a bit.

Seshat
12-15-2011, 11:52 PM
Agreed.

I get cat scratches fairly often (I don't often get bitten, but I do get scratched). And me being me, they get slightly red and swollen as my immune system deals with the broken skin.

As long as that's all that happens, I just clean them, pour iodine on them, and cover them with spray bandaid. (medical-grade cyano-acrelate. A variant of superglue.)

But:
1. We don't have rabies in Aussieland (yet).
2. It's my own kitties scratching me, and neither of them has anything unusual for cats, and I've lived with them for so long that I figure my system has antibodies for whatever they have.
3. I monitor the wounds anyway. Any abnormal reaction and I'll be off to the doctor/late-hour clinic/ER.

MoonCat
12-16-2011, 02:43 AM
I'm so glad you went to the ER! I've been worried. I know getting hit with a huge bill is bad. I just really didn't want to see you end up really sick from that bite. And that would have cost even more money, in the end.

Der Cute
12-16-2011, 04:00 AM
hey. Putting my 2.5 cents in.
A few years ago I had to have an emergency gallbladder removal. It was mass pain to ER to Surgery to Home Next Day.
I got the bill in the mail, and it was 39K.
I about shat my pants.
Then I called billing, asked if there was a way to get this reduced or erased. Yes, there was!!! I was told to prove my income and expenses for the last 3 months, to show there was no way in hell I could afford it.
I did prove it, went back 6 months! Paystub copies, bank statement copies, all that crap. Took some legwork, but it got done. And all the cost was washed. Done.

There is nothing wrong with going to the ER when it's an emergency. Don't stop yourself from living if you don't know about paying the bill. That's cutting your nose off to spite your face.
I kind of didn't want to go to the ER myself but I was in so much pain I had to. After I got fixed up, THEN I dealt with the money part. And it worked out. I did use some faith in this one - I didn't know what was going to happen, honestly; I just believed it, and it worked.

Next time you're needing medical attention, GO. Just go.

Mytical
12-16-2011, 04:52 AM
First, emergency rooms will treat anybody regardless of if they are able to pay or not. Those who wish to pay can make arrangements with the hospital to pay..and they will take whatever amount a month that you can afford. There is no interest, so just pay what you can when you can.

For those completely unable to pay anything, and yes I know this is going to get me lined up for a firing squad here, it does not affect your credit. If you absolutely can not pay..do not stress out. You might keep getting bills, and calls, but they can not get blood from a stone.

If you need to go, go. That is what they are there for.

Seshat
12-16-2011, 05:00 AM
My rant about this was going to become political, but it seems like all the for- and againsts- are being covered in this fratching thread (http://www.fratching.com/showthread.php?t=5412).

I'm just furious that a first world country has people who are afraid to go to the ER because of costs! I cannot, CANNOT, understand it.

(If you want to explain, please go to the fratching thread or start a new one, rather than making this thread political. </mod>)

PhiSigGirl1988
12-16-2011, 06:30 AM
I was just on Augmentin last month for a sinus infection. I think the side effects from the meds were worse than the actual infection. I was fatigued, dizzy, nauseous, and I had muscle soreness. It's meant to be taken with food, which is why you felt sick most likely. I'm glad they don't think you're at risk for rabies though.

EDIT: Also, make sure to have lots of fluids with Augmentin. It has a side effect that will dehydrate you.

fireheart
12-16-2011, 07:00 AM
Agreed.

I get cat scratches fairly often (I don't often get bitten, but I do get scratched). And me being me, they get slightly red and swollen as my immune system deals with the broken skin.

As long as that's all that happens, I just clean them, pour iodine on them, and cover them with spray bandaid. (medical-grade cyano-acrelate. A variant of superglue.)

But:
1. We don't have rabies in Aussieland (yet).
2. It's my own kitties scratching me, and neither of them has anything unusual for cats, and I've lived with them for so long that I figure my system has antibodies for whatever they have.
3. I monitor the wounds anyway. Any abnormal reaction and I'll be off to the doctor/late-hour clinic/ER.

Most non-stray cats are vaccinated for rabies.

Mum accidentally had one of our boycats bite her (she was teasing him with a bit of palm leaf and he tried to bite the palm-leaf, missed and bit her finger by mistake) and her finger started to swell up HEAPS. She was fine otherwise though. One trip to the hospital and being pumped full of antibiotics for two weeks and she was fine. Although when the swelling started to go down, she said that she was so happy to see wrinkles for once! :lol:

Amethyst Hunter
12-16-2011, 08:28 AM
And I have discovered another lovely side effect of my new fun pill: It's prone to causing, shall we say, bathroom issues. :rolleyes:

Came home from work tonight and saw the cat curled up napping right on my top step. Little bugger. I did notice that he has a small wound on top of his head, near the ear, so it looks like he's been fighting (probably with the other stray that comes around). Tomorrow is my free day so I'm going looking for this spay/neuter group, gonna put a stop to that nonsense real quick.

PhiSigGirl1988
12-16-2011, 09:30 PM
And I have discovered another lovely side effect of my new fun pill: It's prone to causing, shall we say, bathroom issues.

Yep. That's the side effect I was referring to. Just make sure to keep yourself hydrated.

jedimaster91
12-16-2011, 10:06 PM
I puked up a light yellowish-green stream

That's bile, which aids in the digestive process. I get the dry heaves when I haven't eaten in awhile and sometimes end up vomiting bile. Sounds like that's what happened to you.

I'm very glad you got checked out and everything seems to be fine. :)

blas
12-17-2011, 05:05 AM
Normally, I feel the same way about going to the ER or just the doc in general. I have insurance, but it's $100 to go to ER (and that doesn't count what else they try to charge you for there, they claim the copay covers most of it but that's bullshit) and it's $20-$30 copay for a doctor visit (once again, they sneak in other charges for instruments or procedures, some that are even "preventive" and are supposed to be covered at 100%), but after what happened to my brother, you can't always take the chance.

My little brother almost died because his appendix ruptured, and he didn't want to go to the doctor and he kept working and living life like normal for a WEEK after that happened, and finally went to the ER when he couldn't move anymore. He is lucky he didn't get blood poisoning and die.