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Dangerous Effects of Rabies


I actually managed to stay on my feet until my third year of vet school. I had secured a great job at the Department of Animal Resources caring for many of the animals used by the school. I was thrilled to finally be earning money for working with animals. That is until about a month into the job when the department decided that all employees had to get a prophylactic rabies vaccine. Remember that list of things I’m not too fond of, as in scared to death of? Remember what was at the top of the list? Yeah, that’s right. Needles. I generally avoid them at all cost, but I liked the job and I really needed the money.


So, I joined the entire Department of Animal Resources in traipsing across campus to the Student Health Center. This was the late 1960s, so I expected passersby to start walking with us, assuming we were leading some sort of protest march. In my head, I was protesting vociferously? the idea of getting this shot. I trailed along at the back of the group with the vain hope that they’d run out of serum before it was my turn. No such luck.


When it was my turn, I hesitantly sat in the sterile-looking, white plastic chair and stretched out my arm. I immediately started feeling warm. My temperature continued rising as the nurse rolled up my sleeve, and ?I was literally sweating by the time she swabbed my arm with?alcohol (which did nothing to relieve the heat I was feeling). The prick of the needle piercing my skin was the end; I fainted.


The nurses were terrific. They gave me orange juice and lots of TLC. Everyone else went back to work, but I had to stay at the Health Center until the nurses?were assured I had completely recovered. Fortunately, nobody at Animal Resources had been in my first-year physiology class so they weren’t aware of my history of fainting. I was teased of course, but only mildly.


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