Home > Biking, The Accident > About Getting Bit By A Dog on A Bike

About Getting Bit By A Dog on A Bike

In the prologue of my new book, The Accident:  A Bike, A Truck, and A Train, I briefly described how a dog bit me when I was riding my bike, which resulted in me having to get rabies shots.  Some people have asked, “How in the world did that happen?”  Well, let me tell you about that as well as the day I got my first round of shots.

In my defense, the dog biting incident happened five or six years ago.  I may have weighed ten to fifteen pounds more.  I was riding a heavy aluminum road bike (rather than a sleek, expensive and light weight carbon fiber road bike).  It was cold and windy.  Although there was no snow, I was going uphill.

I was trying, unsuccessfully, to catch a group of riders in front of me.  Perhaps they didn’t want me to catch them and that’s why they doused this dog with water.  Or they might have known that squirting a chasing dog with water from a water bottle usually turns them back.  I didn’t know that then.  Squirting a chasing dog does turn them back, but it also ticks them off.  As I soon discovered.

I moved over to the center of the road, but that wasn’t good enough for her.  I huffed and puffed and tried to go faster up the hill.  Just as I was about to break free from her chase, she made one final lunge at me.

I thought I’d gotten away.  When I got to the top of the hill, I noticed a small piece of fabric from my leg warmers fluttering in the wind.  I never felt any pain, so I never even considered the thought that she’d bitten me.  I figured she’d ripped my leg warmers.

As I mention in the book, it was only when I stopped a few miles down the road that I realized I’d been nicked.  The bite was minimal, barely even breaking the skin, not hurting at all.

That night, I was reassured by a doc in a box that I had nothing to worry about.

“It’s a million to one chance that you’ll actually get rabies.”

When a highly agitated employee from the Department of Health and Human Services called me on Monday and scared the life out of me, I re-examined the situation, unsuccessfully trying to find that dog and then making an appointment with my doctor.

The next morning, the nurse examined the wound as I laid on an examination table.  She couldn’t tell if the dog had broken the skin.

“I don’t know,” she said.

So one doc in a box and one nurse had concluded that I might not need to worry about this anymore, but one clerk at the Department of Health and Human Services, who’d never even seen the wound, had me freaked out.  I reported what the clerk had said.

The nurse took another look at the wound.  “Well, do you want the doctor to look at this?”

“Yes.”  I thought that’s what the appointment was for.

The doctor entered the room fifteen minutes later and took one look my ankle.  “You need rabies shots.”

I was ready to roll over, bend over, take off my shirt, whatever it took to get the shot or shots.  It wasn’t that easy.  Not even close.

“The state of Texas doesn’t allow us or even pharmacies to carry this medicine.  You’ll have to get it directly from the Department of Health and Human Services.  I’ll write you a prescription and once you get it from them, bring it back here for the injections.”

Living in Arlington, I envisioned that I’d have to drive to their office in downtown Fort Worth, hassle with parking, and then wait hours and hours to get this prescription filled.

I followed the doctor to her nurse’s station.  “We haven’t had to do this in a long time.  Here’s two phone numbers.  I think they’re still good.  Call them and they’ll tell you how to make arrangements to pick up the medicine.”  She smiled as she handed me the piece of paper.  “We’ll see you later today.  Hopefully.”

I walked out to my car and called my office.  I explained that I wouldn’t be in today.  I’d already spent two hours at the doctors and I wasn’t done.  This might take all day.  I hoped I’d get this done today.

My phone rang and the caller id showed a number for David, a friend of mine from San Antonio.

“Dude, what’s up?” he said.

“You’ll never believe me.”

“I’m flying into Dallas in about an hour.  How about we get some lunch?”

I laughed.  “I would love to, but I got bit by a dog and have to get rabies shots.”  I then explained the entire story to him.  “Next time.  I promise.”

I started driving while I called the first number the doctor gave me.  Disconnected.  Great.  Just great.

I called the second number which went to an individual’s voice mail.  I wasn’t sure if this was the person I needed to speak with so I left a message.  As soon as I finished, I called her number back, pressed zero for the operator and spent the next twenty minutes getting passed from person to person.  Eventually, I made it back to the person I’d called in the first place, who hadn’t bothered to return my message in those twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, I was driving in circles in Arlington, hoping that I’d be somewhat close to the place where I needed to be even though I didn’t know where that was.

“Well,” she said, “we’re getting ready to leave for lunch.”  It was eleven twenty-five.  “We should be back by one.”

She then told me I needed to bring proof of insurance as well as a cooler with ice in it.  “The vaccine needs to be kept in a cool place.”

I went home, filled Angela in on my day, found a cooler and filled it with ice.  I was too anxious to eat anything.  I might have had a Dr. Pepper.  This was back when I used to drink Dr. Pepper’s.

At one o’clock, I arrived at the Department of Health and Human Services and was ushered into this woman’s office.  She took the cooler while I filled out a bunch of paperwork.  My eyes locked in on the price:  $2,000.00

I gulped.  My insurance plan was a high deductible plan and I hadn’t been to the doctor all year.  I was going to have to pay this out of pocket.  And the stupid dog had barely broken the skin.  Barely!

I breathed a sigh of relief when the government worker didn’t make me write a check on the spot.  (About six months later, after much back and forth between myself, my insurance company, and the state of Texas, I only had to pay $700.00)

I rushed back to the doctor’s office with my cooler.  The nurse ushered me into an examination room.  While I waited they brought me the waivers that were included with the vaccine, telling me all the things that might happen to me because of taking these shots.  Of course, not taking the vaccine could result in death.  (I did experience one side-effect, headaches that lasted for about a day.)

While I waited, I heard the doctor and nurse outside the examination room.

“I haven’t done this in years,” the doctor said.

“We have the instructions right here.  All we have to do is follow them.”

“I don’t know.  They don’t make any sense to me.”

Perhaps they realized I could hear them, because I couldn’t make out what they were saying next but I could tell that they were continuing to argue.

Finally, the doctor entered the room with a smile on her face.  “I believe we’re all set,” she said.  She explained that I would be getting one shot in the wound, which turned out to be seven or eight shots.  (Because there was no flesh around the ankle, she had to inject, withdraw, and re-inject to make the sure medicine went in).  Then I got one shot in my arm and one shot on each side of my rear end.  I would then have to come back four more times for additional shots.

I walked out of the doctor’s office at four-fifteen that afternoon.

“I can’t believe the day I’ve had,” I muttered to myself.  I didn’t care if anyone thought I was crazy for talking to myself.  They hadn’t experienced my day.  I then drove to Dairy Queen and ordered a large Blizzard with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Finally, something good that day.

Categories: Biking, The Accident
  1. Nancy Wilkerson
    February 6, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Thanks for the info on the ‘dog bite’. I so enjoyed your book. Had no idea you were such a good writer. I love to read your blogs also. I’m sure we will be reading much more of writings.
    Take care.

    Haven’t gotten any pictures to look at in a long time. Does Angela still put them out there to be checked out? Your dad used to forward them to me also.

    Have a wonderful week,

    • February 7, 2012 at 8:46 am

      Thank you so much. Glad you enjoyed the book!

      Yes, she still puts them on snapfish. I’ll have her add you to her list.


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