I got bit by a dog once. It was siesta-time in Spain, and I had gone with a group of friends to a small town outside of Madrid. My friend and I were playing kick the can, when a stray dog rushed out and randomly bit me on the right butt cheek. The bite was deep enough that it ripped my jeans and broke the skin.
We found a doctor, who sleepily examined the wound, then strongly suggested a trip to the emergency room when I got back to Madrid. He also gave me a prescription, which couldn’t be filled in the town, for there was no pharmacy.
Now I couldn’t see the wound, but I could feel it and I did not like the swelling or heat coming off that general area. My friends were in no shape to drive me back to Madrid and I didn’t want to break up their fun. So I hopped on a bus, visions of the old woman from Candide playing through my mind as I sat gingerly on one cheek.
Too bad it was a Sunday afternoon and we got stuck in traffic. I got back to Madrid about nine that night, and decided I would just go to bed. The next morning, I called in late to work and I went to fill the prescription. I was handed a set of three syringes and three small glass bottles.
“Excuse me, please, but how am I to administer these shots?”
“Well, señorita, if you do not know how, you may go to the convent on the corner. One of the little nuns can do it for you.”
“Oh, why, thank you, thank you very much.” I suddenly felt like I had spiked a fever.
In the convent’s infirmary, the little nun (la monjita) told me prepare for a three part tetanus shot. Fair enough. I rolled up my left sleeve.
“Not in your arm, hija…” and she indicated to my bottom and made a pulling down motion.
“Oh, no,” I smiled. “Tetanus shots go in the arm.” I nodded reassuringly.
“No, no, hija, they go here….” And she indicated my buttock.
My derriere had had enough trouble, but I unbuttoned my jeans, rolled them down, and leaned over the counter. The monjita was tiny, fully earning her “ita” status. She was efficient and her dispensary was immaculate. I focused on the glass containers full of cotton, the wooden handles of the cotton swabs…I felt the cool of the alcohol prep on my backside. Then a burning sensation like someone ripping off a top layer of skin.
“¡Ay! ¡Ay!” I exclaimed and gripped the counter’s edge.
“Relax, there are only two more.”
I rolled my eyes in around their sockets and braced myself. Alcohol prep on the other side, smooth shot in, and then back to the fireballed side. Three. Done. I started to button up my jeans when I heard la monjita mutter, “Oh, dear, me. How absentminded of me….”
I looked at her and she held up a small glass bottle of vaccine and shook it lightly at me.
“This is your last dose; I must have given you something else by mistake. Here, just drop your jeans and I’ll administer this last one.”
“Um, what did you put in…I mean that first shot hurt quite a bit…” I asked warily.
“Oh, sweetheart, now, don’t worry. Come along, we both have things to do. Let’s get this over with.”
I nodded and offered up my backside to her once more.
I hurried home and called my father. “I don’t know WHAT she gave me but I have big red welt going up from the shot.”
“My, my! A welt, you say? I would just rest for the remainder of the day and see how you feel. Who knows? You could have an immunization against something quite interesting….”
Some doctors have a terrible bedside manner – especially when they are your father.