That Which Does Not Kill You Makes Them Laugh at You in the Break Room
Have you ever called Poison Control?
When I was pregnant with our first baby, we called. Did I ingest Lysol? Was I overcome with ammonia fumes? Did I take too many prenatal vitamins? No. I ate an apple.
In the process of apple-eating, I accidently bit into several little black seeds which were clustered together. They were bitter and I tried to spit out the acrid taste. The word ARSENIC suddenly sprang to mind. Don’t apple seeds harbor arsenic, the same stuff Cary Grant’s ancient lace-wearing aunts used to put lonely men out of their misery? My unborn baby was inside. I could see the arsenic absorbing into my bloodstream. I envisioned it coursing through my body and into the umbilical cord of my baby. I told hubby what I had done—ingested apple seeds! He seemed unimpressed until I reminded him how apple seeds are little miniature bombs, loaded with nature’s own chemical warfare. I started sobbing.
He still wasn’t properly concerned, until I hysterically demanded he call Poison Control to see what the next step should be. He dialed. I curled into a ball on the couch, convinced I had done something horrible.
I have no idea what the person on the other end of the line looked like. I am pretty sure he or she was digging fingernails into his or her thigh to stop themselves from erupting into convulsive laughter at my expense. The Poison Controller assured hubby that all was well and I hadn’t just poisoned my baby or myself with apple seeds. I don’t think I quite believed it, but eventually I calmed down enough to give birth to her several months later, no harm done.
We called Poison Control for our dog about a year ago. I did not know you could call them regarding animals. While my husband dialed, I felt a little like we were calling 911 to report the shameless jaywalking of a grown adult—overreacting and wasting their time.
Our dog ate an ant poison spike, which had been shoved into the ground under a bush against the side of our house. We found the chewed up and empty spike in the yard. Our first call was to the vetrinarian, who was completely clueless—”Never heard of that poison!” Phone call #2 was to Poison Control. After giving pertinent information like her name (Junie), her weight (20 pounds), and her breed (aussie/dachshund mix), the operator looked up the name of the poison. It was called Avermectin.
It turns out that Avermectin is used in and on dogs to kill worms and fleas. Our dog ate such a small dose she would be fine. The disturbing thing is that her vet did not know this. To us, it would be like calling the pediatrician to report our child took too much Amoxicillin, only to be asked, “Amox-i-what?”
Poison Control is a critically important resource. I wanted to pass this along so others would realize Poison Control is quite knowledgable about animals and poisons, too. Pets aren’t known for having fabulous, keenly sharp discernment about what they eat and get into, so it is nice to go into the future knowing help is just a phone call away.