hindsight is always so 20/20, or, shut up & don’t tempt fate.
i was doing routine semiannual physical exams yesterday at work with the tech & the caretaker responsible for that couple of rooms’ worth of animals. the caretaker, who’s worked before in a vet clinic and has several crazy dog bite stories, asks me if i’ve ever been bitten by a monkey. “nope,” i said, “though i did put a needle right through my thumb once during surgery. not a massive wound, and not high risk, but it was a rhesus, so that was my “exposure moment”. my mom freaked out real good an asked if i was going to die, but it ended up no biggie.”
the difference, i explain, is that dogs fool you that way. someone will always tell you that fluffy’s totally safe, would never bite anyone. and you trust fluffy’s sweet face and domesticated big brown eyes, right up until fluffy takes your hand off. but the monkeys, of course, are wild animals, and we always assume that they’re unpredictable, and we act accordingly.
the weather was rather crappy, with lots of “wintry mix” icing over the roads, so everyone was released from work 2 hrs early. i was just finishing up a few small things and about to roll out, when one of our techs asked me to come look at a chimp with her. he’d been sedated earlier in the day, and had been awake as normal afterwards, but was acting sleepy now. we looked in on him, and sure enough, he was napping soundly, and appeared to just be re-narc’ed (a phenomenon that can happen with some types of anesthetics wherein you wake up and then konk back out as residual drug is released from body fat). but ya gotta check on ’em, right? we suit up and head on in there, and he sits up a bit and lets the enrichment tech play with him like usual. i want to get a look at his face, make sure he has happy oxygenated pink little gums and all, and as soon as i get halfway to him, he’s *poof* not sleepy anymore, wakes right up, and bites the crap out of my hand. all my gloves are intact, so i’m fine, but damn, my middle finger (on my right hand, of course) hurts like hell, and is charmingly bruised/swollen today. conveniently, as soon as he was done with that, he did a big open-mouth threat display, revealing all those healthy pink mucous membranes i’d wanted to see. and yes, he’s perfectly fine today, grinning devilishly at us all.
note to self: do not claim to be so clever as to avoid being stupid, or you will promptly be shown how clever you really are.