Sunday, March 22, 2009

Up Close and Personal

Happy Sunday, y'all! It is just absolutely gorgeous here today! The sun is out. The temps are rising, and the flowers are starting to bloom. The lovely SC weather that we look forward to! And where am I? Inside with my leg propped up on several pillows for elevation. I would rather be running.

Yesterday started out as a typical Saturday around our house. I got ready to go for a run on the trails with some friends. Hubby got ready to cycle, and the boys were sound asleep! I was out the door first. We live near a beautiful park with mountains where we enjoy running trails. Cheri and I have run these trails for years. Heather, a newbie trail runner, was with us on our long run for the week.

Thirty minutes into the run, we had completed the toughest part of the trail--mostly rocky and not very runnable. We connected with another trail toward the ridge. We had been running this trail maybe five or so minutes when we spotted movement out of the corner of our eyes. We quickly stopped and were very quiet. It appeared to be a dog that had gotten ahead of his owner. Then we realized there was no one behind him. The dog went down the embankment and out of view for a minute. We all blurted out about the same time, "What is that?" We knew it wasn't a fox, and then it clicked...a coyote! In South Carolina!!!!! Well, it hopped back on the trail, and Cheri took a picture of it because we knew that no one would believe us! Snakes, deer, turtles, and skunks, yes! But a coyote?? No way! We were up close and personal with wildlife!

Then, Mr. or Mrs. Coyote started toward us! We were frozen in our tracks not uttering a sound. I did say a quick prayer out loud! "Oh Lord, put a hedge of protection around us!" The coyote went to Cheri--who was in the front, and smelled her. Then, he/she went to Heather and smelled her. Then, it was my turn. It smelled my legs. Then, the coyote licked my legs. Y'all, I was trying so hard to remain calm in all of this! Next, it did open its mouth and gently closed it on my leg. My eyes were closed, but I felt it It stepped back and so did I--only one step. I was so so trying not to be fearful because I knew that it could smell the fear. Cheri was quietly telling me to relax....and I really was trying to! Pinky promise! The next thing I knew, the coyote grabbed my leg's muzzle spread over the front of my calf area. I felt the teeth pierce my skin! It released my leg, and the emotions set in!!!! I took the same leg that it had bitten and kicked that animal in the chest area as hard as I could. Then, Heather came to life (ya'll, she is only 24, and this was just her 2nd trail run!! She was so scared, but she was also very brave at the same time!). She started yelling at the coyote, as did I, to get it to go away. Then, Cheri picked up a rock and began throwing it at the animal. Heather and I followed suit. Obviously, NONE of us played softball growing up because none of us could hit the animal!! It got the message, and ran down the trail away from us! Praise God!

It was over. I did not cry. I did not get hysterical. I think I was simply shocked! It happened SO incredibly fast! Cheri and Heather and I assessed my leg, and Cheri pulled out her handy dandy cell phone and called her hubby. He in turn, called the park ranger station. There would be a car at the top of the trail waiting for us...a road to a watershed was on the other side of a locked gate at the lake on top of the mountain. So, we began to walk at a fast pace away from where this entire incident occurred. I didn't run, but I wanted to! The calf was throbbing with pain, but it did subside. We had no other options. So, we walked a few more miles and waited for the ranger. And waited for the ranger...and did I mention that it was still pretty cold?? Y'all we were freezing! We had stopped running so our body temp had dropped. Our clothes were wet from sweat, and the wind was quite brisk.

Hours later in the ER (yes, I had to go there!!!) I was told that I would need a tetanus shot and the rabies shots!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rabies is extremely dangerous, and even though this coyote was probably not rabid, I couldn't take a chance. The symptoms don't show up in humans until months afterwards. Even though the shots were not pleasant, it had to be done. Y'all, the folks in charge of all of this --from the park rangers, DHEC, DNR, Home Health, ER, and my own family doctor were wonderful!!!! (As were Cheri and Heather) They showed compassion and GRACE. Within 24 hours, I had everything that I needed medical wise to begin treatments. I have taken the first ones...the ones where you say "owie!!" I will go back on Wednesday for round 2 out of 5. They are not as bad as they used to be. I now know more about rabies than I ever wanted to know!! Just ask me a question!! Just NO jokes about werewolves or foaming at the mouth or howling at the moon! Those have already been done...thank you very much!! :) My hubby and boys were great and very sweet about the entire episode. Hubby accompanied me to the ER and the doctor's office today--he is a precious man!

I really want to keep this quiet...I told no one at church today. Just you all! Eventually, it will come out. I'm terrified that the local news will drive up in my yard and start taking pictures and ask all kinds of crazy stuff! This is what they feed on! (And if I offend anyone, I am sorry! That is my personal opinion!) Apparently, there are more coyotes roaming around closer to home than we realize. A child in the next county was attacked by a coyote at a bus stop in January. It was a really ugly attack, and the coyote was rabid. I did nothing to provoke the incident except to run on a trail made for people. But this trail belongs in the habitat of wild animals. What did I learn? To yell at the animal and scare it away next time. To buy mace to spray in the animal's face. To still enjoy the mountains and woods that God created. I will go back. I don't know when, but I always go back to the trails where I am closer to God.

Yesterday was so wild, that I didn't have time to sit down and pray after the fact. I was simply exhausted by the time my head hit the pillow. This morning, though, I really thought about what had happened. I questioned my awesome God. Why did He not answer my quick prayer for protection? Where was He during all of this? Then, He suddenly answered me. I had to be still and listen which I had not yet done! I did not believe Him on Saturday after the incident. I know now that He sent His angels to protect us. They covered Cheri, and Heather, and me. The bite could have been more severe. The coyote could have jumped us. The animal could have continued to attack over and over. But our God was there. I talked with Cheri this afternoon, and we both came to the same conclusion. His Grace and Mercy were surrounding us in the midst of the mountain. I just didn't see it yesterday because of the drama around me. Oh, I asked His forgiveness today...of my lack of trust and belief! Then, a verse came to me from Him. I've shared this with you all before. It's Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God which transcends all understanding....." All understanding. That's who gave me the peace when my friends asked me how I could be so calm. That's why the ER doctor kept saying what a great attitude I had. It was not me. It was my God! My awesome God who does answer prayer in a timely and perfect manner which will bring Him honor and glory! I might not understand it, but that's not my always understand Him. I simply have to trust and obey.

I would rather be running this beautiful afternoon, but, I am praising God for His mercies instead! I would so appreciate your prayers for healing and for my sanity...I cannot run for an entire week!!!!

Many Blessings!


Wendy said...

Girl! As soon as I started to read the Coyote's approach I was thinking YELL at it. YELL, Susan. Throw something. LOL! Like I'm watching a movie or something.

I can't believe this!! That is crazy. All I can say is go buy a lottery ticket, you're beating some crazy odds. Huh? And next time you go running don't use that steak scented lotion, okay?? (sorry, coudn't help it)

We'll pray for your healing and pain. And we look forward to the day that we hear about your running up there again.

Love ya!

Cheri said...

What were we thinking not yelling? Duh!! At least my phone has proof that it was a coyote. You're right in saying that the Lord did protect us that day. It could've been SOOO much worse. We will hit the trails again, soon.
Happy trails. Cheri

Kimberly said...

Oh, sweet friend! I am SOOOOOO glad that it was not any worse, and I praise God that you are alright. I am so sorry that you are hurt at all, though, and I will be praying for a speedy recovery!

That coyote just knew how sweet you are and wanted a nibble. I'm so glad you all scared him off before he could get more than a nibble!!!

Just let me know if you need me to bring you some Zaxby's! ;)

Hugs and prayers,

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

Oh my - I can't believe this story is real! I'm glad you are OK and hope your "treatments" go good this week. I left you something on my blog

AnooCre8ion said...

Hi Susan, sorry about the coyote's attack on you, but so glad and thanking God that you are ok.

That was definitely a bit scary, but a great opportunity to prove God.


Melanie Dorsey said...

Oh my goodness! I've never been bitten by any of the neighborhood dogs while out running but one ran with me for awhile!
So sorry this happened but God is good, isn't He.
We've had coyote sightings in our neighborhood recently. One was near our front yard a few weeks ago.
A stray pitbull w/o a collar attacked our little dog who was on a leash in our front yard last Sunday afternoon.
I think Mace is a good idea.
Hoping you recover soon!

Empty Nest Full Life said...

Oh my goodness! Who would have ever thought that would happen. I would have thought that it would have been afraid of you. I will pray that the shots will not be bad and that you have quick healing this week. Maybe the coyote felt you were easy prey since you weren't moving. God definitely was protecting all of you. What a surreal experience. Jackie

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

That is scary, Susan. Oh my goodness! I can hear the coyotes in our back trees (a far distance away); still and yet, I know they are there and try to be mindful when I'm out.

Yes, it could have been much worse. God bless you brave warrior! I'm saying a special prayer for you today; that there would be no fear for your next adventure and that you will know the healing presence of God in this time of suffering.

Yes, get some spray. Mine is strapped on with me everytime I go out. I've had to use it a couple of times on some vicious dogs.


Yolanda said...

Wow, I had to read part of this to my hubs, as we have tons of coyotes at home. At night, when we take the trash to the dumpster, they are howling. At times it is so eery to me, and I'm fearful of them. Strange, I grew up in the country 40 of my 43 years of life, and I would absolutely loose it if that had happened to me. I also grasp the grace of Christ & if it did happen to me, I pray that He takes over!!!

I love ya, and will be praying for your speedy recovery and no nightmares from after effects.


Lysa TerKeurst said...

Oh my stars, I feel like I just lived through a scene of a really scarey movie with you.

I was sending you mental messages--- yell Susan YELL!!!

Don't let that thing near you- don't let it lick you. KICK THE MESS OUT OF IT!!!

Oh my stars, oh my stars, oh my stars--- someone help her!!!!

Girl, girl, girl, I can't believe that happened to you!!!


Have mercy.

I am praying for you right now.

Hugs to you. I'm so glad you are okay.


Gotta Run said...

I still do not know what to say.... MY WORD.... even after talking with you I can not beleive it.

The stories you will one day be able to share with your grandchildren.... lol!

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Wow, how awful. You know I can't stop thinking of what you said about God's protection. He did protect you all, yet He allowed a certain amount (small) enter your gates. I believe He allowed the small amount of harm (bit) so that He would get the praise. So that you three gals and many others (like me) would see that He does protect us even when we think He's protection should be more, or this or that. Our level of protection is not His. We can sometimes be wimpty saying but why didn't you...But He did. He saved you from the bigger harms yet allowing a small harm allows us to praise Him all the more. Does any of this make sense? Without this incidence, without the close encounter, without the bite, we wouldn't praise Him as much or for as much.

Chatty Kelly said...

I am so thankful that you are okay! So thankful! When you said the part about pryaing for protection, then the coyote's bite, I was wondering what you were thinking.

I remember a Christian song from a while back, the lyrics said "sometimes He calms the storm, with a whisper 'peace by still' He can settle any sea, but that doesn't mean He will. Sometimes He holds us close and let's the wind and waves go by. Sometimes He calms the storm, but other times He calms His child.

I'm glad that although He didn't calm this storm, He did calm you, His precious child.

Teresa said...

Oh my! Oh my! OH MY GOODNESS!
Susan, how dangerous...we have coyote here in West TN and they sound like demons at night...

I will be praying for you and I am thanking my Lord you are ok...

ps: Sure wish we lived close and I would bring you chicken poppy seed casserole, and a homemade chocolate cake..:)

Kelley said...

HOLY COW or should I say HOLY COYOTE?! What a story Susan!! I don't even know what to say except that I am so glad you are OK! I will pray that the coyote attacks end there and that you recover quickly and painlessly. Take care my friend and for heaven's sake, BE CAREFUL!! :)

Becky said...

I just had a minute to check in on your blog...I am sooo glad that you are ok. God is so good! Praying for a speedy recovery!

:) Becky

Leebird said...

For ever more!!! You could knock me over with a feather right now!!!

Thank you, Lord, for saving my Susan and her friends!

I'll be calling you tomorrow missy!

LynnSC said...

No wonder I don't run! Actually, I just wish that were the reason.

Jump on over to my blog... I left you something.

Carolina Mama said...

Bless your heart. Thank God He did ultimately protect you well. That sounded so scary. Glad you're okay and the week will hopefully whiz by.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

A coyote! oh my goodness!

And YES on mixing toile with the zebra, I think it will work great. The scale is a little bigger on the zebra prints and I see them working well together. Just make sure the whites are the same tone in each fabric.

Misti of Studio M Designs said...

I think he wanted the phone! Sorry, this story had me laughing out loud! I cannot believe he bit you! And you were not alone...that joker had a lot of nerve! Glad you are ok. I like the mace idea, that should do the trick!

Oh, and I agree with adding toile in your office with the animal prints. GO for it!

Kimberly said...

I am so are going to be right in my neck of the woods (woods with no coyotes, though) and I won't be able to see you!

If you are ever in B. Springs area again, let me know! And yes, we will have to plan another lunch!

Blessings! Hope you are resting and being a good patient! :)

Lelia Chealey said...

Okay Susan no more trail runs for you!!! Oh my goodness. I was on the phone last night with Kelley & she told me about your post. You are so much braver than her..she only runs in Kansas City and comes across dogs! LOL...
So glad you are safe,but more trails!
love ya,

BECKY said...

Wow, Susan...what an amazing story. God truly was there with you. I praise Him that you and your friends are ok!! Standing there while he bit you took nerves of steel, girl!! I think that can of pepper spray is a worthy investment!!

I'll be praying that God will give you the peace of mind to be able to enjoy His amazing creation with your friends again soon!! He has not given us a spirit of fear...but a sound mind!

Blessings sweetie...aka braveheart!!

Michael at 45 said...

WOW, I thought you girls just saw a coyote, as much as we have run that place, and the times we've run it alone, without a cell phone.

Glad to hear your ok.

See you on the trails.


KelliGirl said...

Oh my gosh! I cannot believe your experience. I've encountered bears (off the trail a bit) while hiking and know how scary that was. I can't imagine how scared you must have been. And to have the coyote approach you all and then bite you! Oh, you poor thing.

I know rabies shots are no fun. I pray that you heal well and are out running again in no time.


Joyful said...

Trying to catch up on a little reading tonight. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! Scary!!!! So thankful you are OK. The Lord was watching over you.

Be safe my friend.