A few weeks ago, Catherine's minivan got stolen. (A 93 minivan? not worth stealing!) When the cops found it and returned it to us, they warned us that among the open bottles, cans, cigarette butts, used underwear, and other detritus, they'd found some hypodermic needles. These guys had a rolling crack den for a week and a half.
So we cleaned it out and went over it twice just to make sure everything was okay. Then, yesterday, we took it to be detailed: every surface scrubbed, vacuumed, shampooed, whatever you could do.
Today, Catherine felt a sharpness in her rear and — sure enough — it was a hypodermic needle. Just the tiny, broken-off half-inch tip.
So we swung into action.
Several hours later, we're back from the clinic with a few more pokes in Catherine, some medicine, and some appointments for next week, next month, and six months from now.
The chances of her having contracted HIV are slimmer than slim. The virus dies when outside the human body for more than a few days, and we've had the car back for almost three weeks. Furthermore, the broken-off needle Catherine sat on wasn't in active use: she wasn't shooting up with it, thus sending fluids through the needle to pick up whatever else was residing in it — she just sat on it. And of course we don't even know what ailments the user had had to begin with. Even if she'd just shot up immediately after someone who was definitely HIV-positive, her chances would be one in two hundred fifty. Nevertheless, it's always safe to check.
As for hepatitis, she'd been inoculated for A and B before our honeymoon. There is, though, no vaccine for hep-C, which is the main one we'd be concerned about. There's also no cure once you're positive. You just live with it, and give it to everyone you share fluids with. So, if
she's got it, and that's a big if, then it's no direct sexual contact, of any kind, forever. It's certainly none for the near future. So, please be in prayer.
Also, we learned something that turned out not to matter that much, but could have: You have a two-hour window of time, once you've been stuck, to get a prophylactic HIV inoculation. That would have, in other circumstances, been of incredible value to know. Starting from moments after it happened, we talked with several health-care professionals — family friends, the 911 people, Catherine's physician — and not one of them seemed to know that important fact. So, there you have it. If you get stuck with a suspicious needle, you have two hours to get the HIV inoculation.
Meanwhile, we'll be doing lots of snuggling, lots of praying, and as little worrying as possible. This is a remote possibility, but a possibility nonetheless. Thanks for your prayers.