DOUGLAS, Ala. (WHNT)- Barbara Gilliland says if not for her nieces insistence, she could likely be dead right now.
"I don't think I would have found the bat if it hadn't been for my niece," Gilliland said.
Two weeks ago Gilliland was taking clothes down that had been hanging in front of her house from a weekend yard sale.
"I just gathered up a few hangers in my hand, laid them over my arm and I felt something prick me and I screamed 'oh, something's bit me.'"
Gilliland says she figured it was a pin. Her niece decided to have a closer look and found a bat inside a sweater. Gilliland says her niece insisted she go to the hospital. They also secured the bat so it could be tested.
She says the doctor told her she made the right decision because only a handful of people have ever survived having rabies. They started the shots right away and the bat was dropped off at the Marshall County Health Department.
"The next day they called and said the bat did have rabies."
She says she feels she likely would have died if she hadn't taken her nieces advice.
" I feel sure if I hadn't started the shots, you know. The doctor said that I probably would have had I not come on."
Gilliland's niece is also taking rabies shots because doctors say since she handled the clothing, it's possible the bat's saliva could have infected her.
Gilliland will have to take a total of five shots. She has one more to go in about two weeks.