As I was running outside, just before the door slammed shut, the last words I heard Aunt Myree say to me were, “Jon Howard, you be careful and don’t play with that dog!” That dog in question was a terrier mix and my aunt and uncle, Myree and A.C. Turner, had put it on a leash attached to a clothesline in their backyard because it had been acting kinda’ funny. Their backyard was in Huntsville, Texas, one block off of old Highway 75 and my mom, dad and I had gone up to spend a spring weekend with them and their two, young sons, Bill and Roy Peyton, better known then as “Bubba”.
Once outside, being 5 years old, the first thing I did was go right up to the dog and try to play with it and it responded, not very playfully, by jumping up on my chest and biting me! Inside I ran bleeding and crying, impervious to all of the “we told you so’s”.
This event occurred on a Saturday morning and the first thing Monday the dog was killed and Uncle A.C. took its head to Austin and sure enough, the dog was rabid. My family got the results on Thursday and Friday morning found me along with my mom and dad in Dr. Talley’s offices, in the old Medical Arts Building, in downtown Houston, for the first of 22 rabies shots, spaced around my navel, timed every other day. It was the biggest needle I had ever seen, and thinking back, it must have held an ounce or 2 of an unpleasant looking, green serum.
The shots saved my life, but by the third morning, I resisted the shot so bad, that before it could be administered, it took 4 adults to hold me down. This went on for the next 19 shots and scarred me forever. Now, whenever I go into a doctor’s office, I have a terrible case of “white fright”. My blood pressure goes up 20 to 30 points and my heart rate up 20 beats or more per minute. In the past, I have fainted getting a shot in my arm.
Some how, I’ve survived for more years than I can count, survived 3 knee operations and a heart ablation which was very successful, another knee surgery is scheduled for May 15th of this year. I hope the doc doesn’t have to hold me down for this one!