Friday, September 21, 2012


Copperhead Snake - this is not a picture of the snake that bit me.
On September 18th we made our second trip to the emergency room this month. This time it was for a snake bite. We got home from town at about 8 pm and I stepped out of the car and opened the door behind me to get Ava. All of a sudden there was a searing pain in my left big toe. I screamed. I looked down. There was nothing there but severe pain. I ran into the house screaming and got a cold wet rag from the sink, sat on the floor and held my toe for dear life. Donald thought I was playing a joke. This was no joke. He manage to get Ava and Jaina out of the car and then went to look for whatever it was that bit me. I hollered at him to get the neighbor as he went out the door. The neighbors came over and I heard the man say, "Oh yeah, that's a copperhead." I screamed some more. I thought I was dying. The lady told me that I had 12 hours to get to the hospital. 12 hours!?! Is this a matter of life or death?? I was shocked. She offered to take the girls while we went to the hospital so Ava stayed with them. I didn't get to see the snake before we left for the hospital because it took all I could give to just get to the car. By the time we got to the hospital I had calmed down quite a bit but upon arriving and the unknowns of what was going to happen, I cried again. Donald went to park the car and a man walking out asked me if I was ok. He walked me to my seat and brought my paper to fill out. Then he said, "Ma'am, I'm gonna go out a smoke a cigarette and I'll be back to help you." I couldn't form the thoughts in my brain to fill out my name and birthday. Finally I managed and the man's son brought it back to the counter for me. The man came back, bent down in front of me and said, "Ma'am, you gotta calm down. You just gotta calm down. I know it hurts but you gotta just calm down." Yeah right. I was going to throw up...Donald got me the garbage can. Nothing happened. I was going to pass out. My head dropped to the back of the chair and I laid there and listened to the voices in the distance. Triage asked me on a scale of 1 to 10, at what level was my pain. I said 20. They got me in right away. The nurse came in a took my blood. The Dr. came in drew lines on my foot. They told me they would monitor the bite for awhile. Phone calls to friends and family helped to keep my mind off of the pain. They finally gave me ibuprofen for pain and a prescription for Clindamycin.
At 11:45 the nurse came back, gave me a tetanus shot and my release papers. I hobbled out. The pain was so severe that the air blowing from the vent in the car hurt it. We got home just a bit after midnight and picked up Ava. So thankful for good neighbors. By the time we got home, the fire ants had eaten most of the snake so I never go to see the bugger that bit me!
I've spent the past 3 days in bed. Donald has been running the house. :) The pressure from the swelling is intense.
I tried to release the pressure. Probably not a good idea. I sent a picture to Uncle Rob last night because I was getting a little worried. He kindly sent me a response that set my mind at ease. 
"What I see in the picture is very typical, the hemorrhagic blister is normal after a snake bite. So I am not worried about that. The severe pain is also typical. You should try to elevate the foot above your heart as much as possible. Prop it up on some pillows. Take ibuprofen 600 mg (3 otc tabs) every 6 hours. They also recommend that you wrap some gauze padding around the toes to cushion it from touching anything. Don't pop the blister. Watch for spreading redness up your foot that could indicate a secondary bacterial infection although this is unlikely after a snake bite. I assume your tetanus immunization is up to date. If you have a doctor you could ask him for some stronger pain medications; the elevation and ibuprofen should help."
I'm so glad the snake didn't get Ava. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. I know that this is mild compared to what other people go through but it's a first (and hopefully a last) for me. We've learned that Copperheads give live birth during the first two weeks of September. As the nights cool down, they come out and lay on warm rocks and cement. That would probably explain why there was a snake on our driveway. It wasn't a big snake...Donald said it was about 10 inches. We're looking forward to October when snakes go into hibernation...In the meantime, I have a pair of cowgirl boots all picked out. :)

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