A bulbous black form lumbered in the distance on the path in front of him. “Could be an injured dog,” Bill thought. “Or an oversized cat.” As he got closer, Bill realized it was a raccoon. But why was it out in board daylight, and why was it shifting about as it if was sick.
Then the raccoon saw Bill, and bolted straight toward him. “What is happening?” Bill wondered. A normal raccoon would turn and run the other way when it saw a person.
In less than a moment, it was a few feet away from him. Bill could hear it snarling and snuffling, hissing and growling. It’s teeth were bared and drool was pouring from its mouth.
“Something’s very wrong,” was Bill’s last thought before he turned to run. His heart was pounding hard in his chest and ears as he scrambled to get away.
Bill was able to keep ahead for a short time, but it soon became apparent that the animal’s pursuit would be relentless. It was not going to stop until caught up with him, and it did. Like a rocket it leapt onto his leg. The force of the blow sent Bill tumbling to the ground. The beast sunk its teeth into his thigh immediately drawing blood.
Clearly this was no ordinary raccoon.
The pain snapped Bill into action. He picked up a large rock and smacked the raccoon in the head. It rolled off of his leg shaking its head as if in a daze. Bill had just enough time to pin it to the ground, both hands wrapped around its neck and his knee resting on its belly. The beast struggled and fought to escape his grasp. It’s face was covered in both Bill’s and its own blood.
Somehow, desperately, Bill was able to maneuver his phone from his pocket. Somehow he was able to find his brother’s number. Somehow he was able to push the speaker button and make the call.
“Hello?” his brother’s voice said, muffled.
“Mac! Help!” Bill yelled. “I’m on the road with a rabid raccoon. Bring a gun!”
“What?” Mac’s voice asked, confused. “Who is this?”
“It’s Bill! I’m on the road! I need help killing a rabid raccoon!”
“I can’t hear you…”
Bill noticed that his phone was upside down. As the raccoon battled to slip from his grip, Bill used his remaining leg to turn his phone over so that the speaker was now exposed.
“Dude it’s Bill! I’m on the road with a rabid raccoon! Help me man!”
“Oh shit!” his brother said and the line went dead.
Five minutes later, five minutes that seem a life time, Mac pulled up in his pickup. He jumped out with a large wrench in his hands.
“Hold it still!” he shouted.
“I’m trying!” Bill answered.
Mac whacked the beast directly between the eyes. The raccoon acted as if nothing had happened. Another whack. And another. Five more and still nothing.
“What the hell!?” Bill yelled. He was now fearing for his life.
“Wait,” Mac said. He ran off into the woods and came back with a long thick stick which he place over the beast’s neck. He stood on one end and told Bill to stand on the other. Bill moved quickly, and the raccoon was securely pinned to the ground. Bill’s brother reared back and swung the wrench hard. There as a loud crack. After nearly a dozen direct hits, the beast finally stopped moving.
Mac brought a sack from his truck and used a shovel to scoop the dead raccoon up and drop it in. He threw it into the bed of his truck and helped Bill in the passenger seat. Off they zoomed to the nearest hospital.
“You gotta contact the county health department,” the Doctor told him. “They need to test that raccoon for rabies and give you a shot.”
“But it’s Saturday,” a bewildered Bill said. “They won’t be open until Monday.”
“No need to worry,” the Doctor grinned. “You have 10 to 14 days before you develop the disease.”
“Can’t I just get it now?” Bill said. The thought of rabies coursing threw his body was almost more than he could handle. “Just to be sure.”
“Well that’s not really how it works,” the Doctor’s grin fell. “Just call the Health Department. They’ll get it figured out for you.”
Bill called the Health Department as soon as he got home to leave a message explaining his circumstance. A big part of him hoped they’d call him right back. He did not want to think about the terrible possibility of developing rabies. All he wanted was to get treatment as quickly as possible.
Bill spent an agonizing Sunday waiting for Monday to arrive. What exactly would happen if he didn’t get the treatment? Would he turn into some horrible human monster hell bent on the destruction of his fellow man?
Monday morning finally came and he immediately got a call from the Department of Health.
“The hospital was wrong,” the man on the other end said in a disturbingly matter-of-fact way. “You need to get a shot today or you are in big trouble.”
“But unfortunately, we cannot give you the shot without doing an autopsy on the animal first,” the man continued. “And that will take longer than a day.”
“What should I do??” Bill asked desperately.
“We’ll send you to a hospital where they can take care of you.”
This hospital was several towns away, in a different county. It took over an hour to get there, and it was nearly noon before the nurse told Bill: “I’m sorry, but you have to get treatment in your own county.”
“But this is where they sent me,” a baffled Bill replied. “Please, can’t I just get the shot? I need it today or…” His voice trailed off sadly.
“Let me see what I can do,” the nurse said softly before exiting.
Then the Doctor came in with an odd worried look.
“The problem is it’s a very expensive shot,” The Doctor explained. “And in order to get reimbursed, it has to be done in the proper way.”
“Can’t I just pay for it?” Bill nearly begged.
“Well, it’s over three thousand dollars.”
“Three thousand…” It was like a nightmare. Somehow even worse than the attack and bite itself. Bill was condemned to become a roving manic, and it seemed like no one could do anything to stop it.
But fortunately the story has a happy ending. Bill was whisked away to a hospital in his own county, where he was finally given the treatment. Presumably it was just hours before it would have been too late.
A truly modern day health care scare.