Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse.
I entered my classroom at 7am ready with elbow length rubber gloves, bleach-infused cleaner, and a roll of paper towels.
It was time to disinfect and re-claim my desk drawers. I felt like a Bad Ass Martha Stewart.
I removed the drawers, hoisted them onto a front desk, pulled the trash can close by and prepared to remove all rodent feces and urine.
After the first few paper towels, I heard it.
Behind my mini fridge, a brown blur disappeared.
Are you fucking kidding me? Not today, sir, NOT TODAY!
Then it ran behind an empty cardboard box.
Without thinking, I pushed the box against the wall to trap the bastard.
Its little head stuck out from behind the box, its beady eyes watching me.
I was on prep, alone, and shouted for help. And shouted again. And again.
No one came.
I grabbed a hold of my phone with one hand and called the office and my work wife.
“I need you! I have the mouse trapped!”
But when people came, and set up traps on both side of the box, I pulled the box away from the wall, and Dasher fell over sideways. Dead.
And then I cried.
My principal wrapped him in a plastic bag and there were only 8 minutes until my prep was over and classes would begin.
It was the only time I have been grateful for standardized testing because I could get the kids started and just zone out.
I was numb the rest of the day, grossed out, sad, disgusted, panicked, depressed.
I slept horribly that night, but returned the next morning to finish cleaning.
Halfway into it, my arms started burning and a rash appeared.
In exasperation, I trotted to the office to evoke sympathy for my NEW calamity, when our Health Occupations teacher, an RN, took one look and said, “That looks like a strep rash. I’d go get tested.”
I needed no further prodding. I grabbed my stuff, arranged for a sub and left.
Then my brain took its twisted journey into crazy-ville.
What if I have something from inhaling the spores from the shit and piss? Hantavirus– potentially fatal. Leptospirosis. Lasso Fever. Lymphocytic Chorio-Meningitis!!
Maybe I should go to the ER! Maybe I need to call Bill! Am I dying because of mouse shit?
I decided that the normal thing to do was go to urgent care first and then they would probably admit me or send me to the ER to treat me. Wow–thank goodness I was informed about this ahead of time! I could save the doctors all kinds of time by explaining my exposure and symptoms and history and could avoid death!
But this is how the convo went.
Doctor (kind of? I still think he might have been an imposter): Well, you’re not 9 years old, so I don’t think it’s a strep rash and if you’re worried about mouse droppings then you might as well never eat at a restaurant or drink a canned soda or eat canned food because they’ve all been contaminated by mouse droppings, and the only thing you can catch from rodents is the plague, and we wiped that out hundreds of years ago.
Me: (internally shouting) What about hantavirus, huh? What about leptospirosis? (actually verbalized): You’re not helping me by saying that.
“Doctor”: Well, we’ll swab you just to put your mind at ease, but I really think you’re fine.
I got swabbed, but the “test”was complete in less than a minute.
“Doctor”: All normal! Go home and rest.
Me: (embarrassed and ashamed): ok…
I went home exhausted and developed a migraine that put me out for another day.
The only bright spot was that Bill came home with a bag full of presents.