Sven Sundgaard talks about his rabies scare
His post-injection bandages visible, Sven says this is the only way he could ride home without extreme discomfort following his first round of rabies shots.
On Sunday morning, KARE 11 meteorologist Sven Sundgaard woke up with a bat on his face.
Sundgaard was enjoying a weekend at his family's cabin near Lake Mille Lacs when his rude awakening happened. But he says he "didn't feel a bite, and I chased the thing out of the cabin and thought, no big deal." At it turned out, it was kinda a big deal after all.
When he returned to work and told co-workers about what happened, one explained to him that bats transmit rabies to humans more often than any other animal and advised him to consult a doctor.
"So I called a doctor, and he said, 'You should get the shots.' I was like, 'What, really?' Then I got a second opinion and they said the same thing," Sundgaard told City Pages.
Though the odds of contracting rabies from a bat bite are extremely slim, the disease is almost 100 percent fatal for humans, and by the time symptoms develop, it's too late. Furthermore, bat bites can be almost imperceptible, so the only way for someone in Sven's situation to make sure he doesn't have rabies without getting the shots is to catch the bat and send it to a lab for a brain biopsy.
Of course, Sven didn't know that at the time he let the bat out of the cabin.
"I guess the moral of the story is, catch it and save yourself time and money," Sundgaard said.
Speaking of money, rabies shots aren't cheap. In fact, they set Sven back a couple grand.
In total, Sundgaard said the four installments of shots cost about $3,500, but because he has "crappy, high deductible insurance," he's paying about $2,000 out of pocket.
Sundgaard went in for his first round of rabies shots on Tuesday afternoon. He received four big injections, one in each butt cheek and one in each arm. The photo at the top of this post shows the aftermath -- Sundgaard was so sore that he had to ride home sprawled stomach-down across the backseat of a co-worker's car.
He'll go in for more arm injections tomorrow, next Tuesday, and then finally, a week from next Tuesday.
Sundgaard was too sore to work Wednesday morning -- "doing 20 different spots during the morning show with a sore behind wasn't going to be easy," he said -- but doesn't plan to miss any additional days. Thankfully, the first round of rabies shots is far worse than the last three, so Sven should be able to ride home sitting shotgun following his next three trips to the doctor.
And while shelling out $2,000 for a round of shots that leaves a person too sore to sit is no laughing matter, Sven said he and his KARE 11 co-workers are having fun with the situation.
As word of his cabin misadventure spread throughout the KARE studio, Sundgaard said his fellow meteorologist Jerrid Sebesta ribbed him, "Sven Sundgaard has rabies -- you can't make it up!" But thanks to the shots, don't expect to see Sven foaming at the mouth while delivering the weather forecast anytime soon.
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