Everything we do has consequences. I think most people grasp that, and generally try to take later possibilities into account when decision-making. But sometimes an ill-considered or spur-of-the-moment action has consequences far beyond what we might consider at the time, more serious and far-reaching.
Yesterday at work, in the course of his duties, my husband was bitten by a woman. Ow, you might think, or, How weird. Ow indeed. Here is something you might not know: when a person is bitten by another person, the victim is immediately assumed at risk of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Tetanus, and a range of other diseases transmitted by bodily fluids or close contact.
Here’s something else you might not know: the incubation period for some of these diseases is as long as sixty days.
That means that the victim – my husband – can’t be certain if he’s contracted a disease until a test is conducted at least sixty days from the date of the bite.
It follows that, for that sixty day period, he has to be exceedingly cautious around people if he should happen to get so much as a minor graze; any blood could potentially carry infection to somebody else. It also follows that we have to be cautious in our personal relations; a cut in his mouth would mean we couldn’t kiss, and obviously other precautions need to be taken too.
Fortunately in my husband’s case, as the bite did not actually break his skin, the risk is extremely minimal, and we are not overly worried about the long term. But the risk is still there, and we are still taking all possible precautions, preferring to be more careful than necessary rather than risk anything being transmitted to either myself or our daughters.
I very much doubt the biting woman considered the effects she might have on our family when she clamped her jaws around my husband’s wrist. She acted in passion, without consideration, and all of our family and friends now pay for her thoughtlessness with sixty days of pain-in-the-arse precautions, and the fortunately remote possibility of much more serious consequences. I can only be glad that her teeth weren’t sharper, or her jaw stronger. If she’d succeeded in her aim, we’d be in a right pickle and no mistake.