Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Around The Homestead - Tetanus Shot

Last night, I was working on a shelving project in our garage. During this time, I went out to work barefoot (I really like the freeing feeling of not wearing shoes) and was working fine for about an hour. I got to a part of the project that needed a drill, so I leaned over a storage bin to plug my drill in and when I leaned back, my left foot caught the edge of a 4" metal bracket that was laying randomly on the garage floor and cut the sole of my foot.

After getting the cut, I immediately went in the house to wash the wound out and apply an anti-biotic and bandage. Hey, I was foolish enough to get cut, but I was not going to get an infection as well.

When my wife saw me walking on the side of my foot through the living room, the first thing that she asked me was, “Have you had a tetanus shot in the last 10 years?”  I thought and I thought, thinking back to projects that both ended well and had a Tim Allen-like result and I couldn't remember. "I don't think so," I replied and really didn't think much about it until this morning.

Around mid-morning, my curiosity got the best of me as to what *may* happen if I got tetanus. What I read wasn't pretty. I went from not really giving the matter too much thought to thinking about and hoping that I wouldn't die of suffocation (see next paragraph)... OK, enough drama :)

For those wondering what tetanus is...

Tetanus is a serious and potentially fatal infection caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria that enters the body through cuts, deep puncture wounds, insect bites, burns or possibly any breaks in the skin.  The bacteria produces a toxin that affects the nervous system and brain, beginning with stiffness of the muscles and jaw, thus the term “lockjaw.”  The stiffness can initially lead to difficulty swallowing, spasms, leading to the more serious complications such as suffocation, heart attack, blood poisoning and death.

Today after calling around and hoping that I wasn't going to have to pay $100.00 for a shot caused by my stupidity, I contacted my insurance company who informed my that tetanus shots are 100% covered if I hadn't had one it the past 10 years.  I set up the appointment with my regular doctor and was in and out in less that 10 minutes, still leaving time for lunch.

For those wondering, yes, there were lessons learned:
  1. Make sure that your work area is clear of any obstacles.
  2. Take the time to wear protective gear, if appropriate. A pair of shoes would've lessened the likelihood that I would have gotten cut, although increased the chances that bacteria would've made it into the wound. (With 4 children you pick up little gems like this from the doctors in the emergency room)
Would I get another tetanus shot when the time comes?  Yes, absolutely! Especially with the the uncertainties in life right now, you never really know what is going to happen. I always tell my children to "Expect the best, but prepare for the worst." The tetanus shot gives me a 10 year window of one less thing to worry about in homesteading and prepping.

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