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 again....it'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 purpose...to 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!!!!