05 January 2007

The Dread Pink Eye, or Unusual and Gross Hazards of My Workplace

Around 6AM yesterday, as my shift at work was winding down, I noticed that my right eye was hurting a bit. As it didn't seem likely to be transient after a few minutes, I looked in the mirror and saw this:

010507Pink_eye

As if all the snot and bubbling sinuses and coughing from my Christmas cold weren't enough.

Now, I know most people associate this with unsanitary children rubbing their grubby little hands in one another's eyes, but I don't generally have a lot of interaction with children in my line of work and I certainly don't let them rub their hands in my eyes. Aside from that, I wash my hands about every five minutes over the course of my fifteen hour shifts, so "grubby" certainly doesn't apply to me. So WTF?

Of course, I do deal with animals, who are almost as dirty a group as children*. Still, it wasn't initially apparent to me what had most likely happened, but as I pondered the answer finally came clear. Several hours prior to the onset of symptoms - in fact, pretty much exactly the length of time a bacterial infection would need to take hold - I had seen a young pit bull bitch who was rather inclined to bite and in need of chemical restraint to enable me to evaluate and treat her heavily bleeding leg.

In the course of restraining her in order to administer a sufficient dose of a morphine/tranquilizer cocktail to ensure everyone's safety, she released a considerable amount of bodily fluids. I won't elaborate, but suffice to say that some of them became airborne and some were apparently aerosolized sufficiently to bypass my glasses and land in my eye without my noticing it.

Aren't you jealous that you don't have such glamour in your career?

*Some of you may protest this assertion. I'm sure many of you are grasping your chair screaming, "Animals are not as dirty as children, you #*&%)*$&^!" I assure you, though, I have spent plenty of time around both and the matter is very, very debatable.

11 comments:

Sean said...

sooo sorry my friend. Just make sure to get the drops in stead of the ointment. The ointment is just gross.

Carol said...

I hope it clears up soon. And that it doesn't interfere with your knitting!

As for children vs. animals, let me simply say that Charcoal the bunny was a hell of a lot easier to potty train than my kids. And unlike them, he always smells like a stuffed animal. ;)

Cheryl said...

Wow, nothing that exciting happens at my office. Although that morphine/tranquilizer cocktail would work very nicely on some of my employees. Perhaps I could get some from you. . .

Norma said...

Cracking up at your asterisked explanation.

And as a side topic: Am I the only one who believes pit bulls should be outlawed and wiped off the face of the earth? (ah, there I go, showing my nasty side again)

SamD said...

I have three kids; I don't need that much glamour in my career! Youngest recently gave us back her chocolate milk and pizza...the smell was _staggering_ (and I'm a pathologist!)

Hope the eye clears right up with some antibiotic...

TheBunny said...

Poor pookie must have been terrified to have released her bodily fluids. But I'm sorry you had to work in it and even more sorry it got in your eye!

Now Norma, I've met more nice pitbulls than cocker spaniels. The only time I've ever been bitten have been by cockers. But don't get me started on Chows. THEY are scary! Just sayin' (he he)

Mel, time to get the groovy goggle/shade things. You can paint eyebrows on them or something.

knitnzu said...

You poor guy! I love my creatures, but they ARE dirty! Especially with this extended mud season. So, speaking of WTF and contagious things...I got chicken pox when I was 33 and had ZERO contact with any children. Took a couple of days and 4 or more pox to start to figure it all out. I called the dr from the university...they said come straight here don't stop don't stop at reception and then just GO HOME. My friends had a good laugh about my being quarantined...though they could all visit. And chuckle.

Sheepish Annie said...

OH, you poor thing! Pink eye went around my classroom not too long ago. I trembled!

Take care of yourself. Maybe you'll get to wear a patch! It is fun to play "Pirate!"

Franklin said...

Oh dear. I'm so, so sorry. I hope it clears up post haste.

On the other hand, ever since I visited your clinic and realized that you spend your days helping sick animals while I spend mine waiting on spoiled rich people, I've felt terribly envious of your career.

This helps a little bit.

Sean said...

Poor baby. Is the eye doing better?

Sean said...

OK...how did I catch your pink-eye! LOL