So... remember how I said we went on a long trip? Well we did. We went to Missouri and Illinois. My husband's parents are in Missouri, so it was really fun to visit them! We had such a great time.
My husband's family is so much fun. They have this little family song that they sing and each sibling gets a verse....It's a long song because there are nine siblings! Yet, it's really fun, creative, and cute.
So, Sunday night, we sang the family song to their friends. My brother-in-law's verse has a part that says, "He loves his steaks and his rattlesnakes." Then we went touring that night, and we really did run into a snake.
Here's the story. We enjoyed walking through the woods where my in laws are living now. We even got to the spot that is the geographical center of the United States. That was pretty cool. We also saw some wildlife - well, mostly deer and fireflies. It started to get dark so we were heading back when my father-in-law spotted a snake. He thought it was a rattlesnake. Okay, now you have to understand this family. They grew up catching rattlesnakes. In fact, there are a couple of rattlesnake skins hanging up on the wall right next to me, in my computer room. But that wall will be a whole 'nother blog post...along with the stuffed pheasant, bug collection, and countless skulls. I know one of them was of a badger, but it is gone now. We took it out to my father-in-law on this trip.
Anyway...so they grew up catching rattlesnakes. I'm not sure the reason why. Either it was cool, or they were just out there in the fields and they learned how to do it cause you have to be smarter than a rattlesnake, right? Who knows. Maybe someone can fill me in.
So...we thought we spotted one on the road. Everyone got out to check out the snake. Well, except me and another sister-in-law. I thought they were all crazy.
In all the excitement, they realized that the snake did not have rattles on it. Thus it was probably not a rattlesnake. Someone yelled out, "Oh, it's just a Blowsnake!" And someone else yelled out, "But are you sure! Maybe it still is a rattlesnake?"... "No it's not."...."Hey, don't pick it up!" ...."Why?!.... OUCH!" Or maybe it was something like, "#%!*!!"
Anyway, the brother was bit...twice. It surprised everyone. At least I think. I really don't know why else most of them would be smiling in this picture...
Everyone was yelling, "What is it?! Does it have rattles? Is it poisonous?"
Then it went on to bite my father-in-law's leather boots, so everyone saw it's fang. Oh dear. By this time the brother was already in pain too!
So they caught it like they would a rattlesnake and checked to for rattles. Yes, that would be my husband holding the snake.
None. Interestingly enough, my father-in-law had a pillowcase and put the snake in there......right in the back of the truck by ME! Lovely, huh?
We rushed back to the house, and we actually called 911. We were in an isolated place and did not know where the nearest hospital was. The ambulance came....with the rest of the town following... cause you know, not much else going on in a small town. The EMT's had never treated a snake bit and had no idea what to do. They cut off the head of the snake, so they could take it with them for evidence. Then they made some phone calls, put a pressure cuff on his arm and an IV. They then drove him to the best hospital 70 miles away.
When they got to the hospital, they found out that no one at the hospital had ever treated a snake bite. Amazingly, a doctor from Texas was there and knew what to do. They finally started treating him with anti-venum and pain killers. But it did not take away the pain. Here he is when he said that, on a scale from 1-10, his pain level was an 11.
You might not be able to tell from this picture, but his hand and arm swelled up a ton. So much that they took him in and made incisions the lenth of his finger, on both sides of his finger. I do have a picture of that, but I'm not sure you'd like to see it. It's pretty graphic. They did this because the swelling was going to start cutting off his circulation. They don't stitch it up the incisions either. It has to heal from the inside out. They said if they had not done this proceedure, his whole finger would have been black, just like that blister you can see here.
He ended up being in the hospital for THREE days. Okay, so I knew that getting bit by a poisonous snake was a big deal, and required emergency medical care. But I thought that you ran to the hospital, got your anti-venum, stayed a night so they could monitor you, and then you'd come home to recuperate. But wow. This was a big deal. And my brother-in-law is large in stature - I think 6'4" or something? And this little snake caused all this pain and medical attention. We couldn't believe it.
And you know what he said in the middle of all this? He said, "Oh, I'll still pick up a snake again." :)
Next blog post: "How to skin a copperhead snake."
Yes, I'm serious.