I Am Not Okay

Y’all mind if I use you for a free therapy session? Great, thanks.


And I am not okay.

This very specific thing has been a weird fear of mine for years. Weird, but strong. Like, I’ve been telling everyone it’s a ‘top five fear’ but I’ve been thinking about it and I honestly can’t think of another four fears that even match this. And I’m afraid of a lot. I’m not so much a human as I am a high-functioning bag of screaming cats, and most days I spend at least an hour worrying about one thing or another. There’s a lot to choose from, right?

But none of it compares to my fear of, and I cannot stress this enough, the exact fucking scenario that happened to me over the weekend.

I guess what makes it so bad is that, even though I was afraid of it, I still thought it wasn’t really going to happen? Like, I was afraid of it like I’m afraid of the Yellowstone Caldera blowing up. Less an actual fear I can take steps toward managing and more a wild plaything I pull out and fascinate over when I should be trying to go to sleep. Which made sense when I was living in the suburbs, or the city.

But guess what? I live in the fucking woods. Do you have any idea how many animals I’ve seen directly out of my own windows? I’ll tell you: deer, elk, turkeys, foxes, rabbits, bobcats, and a fucking bear. Close neighbors have reported seeing mountain lions. I’m basically living in West Mountain Bumfuck and was still in this fantasy headspace where my fear of a bat getting into my house while I sleep was just some horror movie that could never actually happen to me.

It fucking happened to me.

And in the most horror movie way possible. Jordan Peele couldn’t have done it better. I get woken up out of a deep sleep by…this sound. I can’t even describe it properly. Chirping. Beeping. Pinging. Fast and high pitched and it sounds sort of like an electronic alarm but its coming through the open door to my bathroom and there’s nothing in there that should be making that sound and I’m still half asleep and I stumble around the bed and look into the bathroom and I can make out…shapes.

One shape is my cat, Bruce. He is nothing more than a dark shape even in broad daylight, so at this moment I only recognize it’s him because he meows at me.

The other shape is on the floor next to him, about six inches across and oblong, and is making the weird pinging noises.

At this point I know what has happened. But I don’t want to know – and I certainly don’t want it to be true – so I deny it to myself as I frantically try to get Bruce out of the fucking bathroom. This other shape is his new best friend so of course he doesn’t budge, and continues to sit over this beeping thing.

I go to get my glasses. My husband is finally awake and aware that A Situation Is Happening. The sounds haven’t stopped and also I am starting to freak the fuck out.

In order to see what the shape is I have to turn the bathroom light on. And to turn the bathroom light on, I have to go past and around the shape.

Because I am still convincing myself that what I know to be true is wrong, I manage to do it, all the while the shape is still beeping it’s head off.

Lights on.

Motherfucking bat.

On its back, wings out wide, beep beep beeping away.

My brain sets itself on fire. I scream, it’s a bat! and run out of the bathroom as fast as possible.

Thank God my husband can keep his shit together. He manages to trap the bat in a trash bin without touching it. I would have picked up cat, slammed the door shut, and called it a day.

So now it’s two in the morning and I’m trying to figure out who to call about the actual God Damned Bat in my fucking bathroom.

Actually, up until this point in my life I wasn’t afraid of bats. I am now, obviously, but my very specific fear wasn’t just the bat. It was the bat, in my bedroom (or adjoined bathroom with the door open) at night, while I was asleep, and then the bat bites me but I don’t know the bat bit me, and then I get rabies.

Oh, did you not know this is a thing that can happen? Turns out a lot of people don’t. Every official and doctor I’ve had to talk to in the past few days has been some varying degree of surprised that I knew, sort of, what to do.

It’s not common. There’s an average of three cases of human rabies reported in the US every year. Three. Not three hundred, or even thirty. Three. For a couple of years recently there were zero, and when there were five in 2021 health officials were sort of freaking out. But death by rabies is so incredibly horrible that the very second your chances of contracting it is a non-zero number it is highly fucking recommended you start getting rabies vaccine shots.

Being asleep in the same room as an untested bat puts you in that non-zero category.

I have a tendency to freak out about a lot of small things (flashback to me crying in front of the broken furnace on New Year’s Day because I’d called three separate companies and no one would come on a holiday) so even my husband didn’t understand we were in Big Deal territory until he overheard the dude at the health department on the phone at two in the morning treat my story as serious as a car crash. Animal control was at the house before noon to take the bat. Results on the rabies testing wasn’t going to be back until Tuesday, so everyone – and I mean everyone – that we talked to about this told us to start getting shots right the fuck now go go go why aren’t you going.

So, instead of the lazy Sunday we were looking forward to, we ended up at the local ER.

I’m only able to write about this at all because the bat tested negative yesterday. And I’ve still got this lingering, irrational fear that Animal Control will call me back and tell me they were wrong.

Fucking Little House on the Prairie. And Reddit, man. Fuck Reddit.

So, anyway, that’s where I’m at mentally. And physically. My husband and I decided to keep on with the rabies vaccine shots so if this happens again – I LIVE IN THE FUCKING WOODS, THIS COULD HAPPEN AGAIN, OH MY GOD – we’re at least protected.

Now I need to stop writing because just thinking about this for too long gets me paranoid again.

Anyway, if a bat gets into your house while you’re asleep and you can’t say with one hundred percent certainty that you didn’t get bit, you need to trap the bat so animal control can test it for rabies. If the bat gets away, you need to start rabies shots.

I need a drink.

2 thoughts on “I Am Not Okay

  1. I live in the woods as well. A million years ago when I was smoking, i stepped outside the house and lit a cigarette. I had it up to my lips when a bat snatched it out of my fingers and flew off with it. I watched the lit end go flying away into the night. Still remember that to this day.


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