Jackie: "Hey, Mama, you've got to come check out the snake that bit me!"
That's what I heard as soon as I pulled into the driveway coming home from horseback riding.
Jackie told me that he was out on his bike when he saw this cute little baby snake and thought he'd bring it home to show me. Sure, I've told him tens of times that I wouldn't BUY him a snake, but he thought that just maybe if he caught it would be OK to keep his little pet. So he grabbed the snake and rode home on his bike.
After playing with it for about 10 minutes, it got tired of all the fun and bit him. Jackie, my guy with a very high pain tolerance and not enough fear for an eight-year-old, just kept holding him until he noticed that his thumb was bleeding pretty badly and that it was starting to look like a plump Ball Park frank.
So, he put Baby Sammy the Snake (if it has a name, Mama will be far less likely to make you put it back, right?) down on the driveway and put a plastic bowl over the top. That's about the time that I drove up. Now, we've had our share of accidents, cuts, bumps, bruises and ouchies, and I tend to be the calm parent in emergency situations so I didn't really worry much at first. Not until I noticed that the cute little baby snake was shaking its little snakey bootie did I get concerned. Oh my, it just happened to be a rattlesnake.
A venomous rattlesnake.
And Jackie's thumbdog had become a Michelin Man hand. It's a good thing we have a fire department just across the road because after calling 911 they made record time arriving in less than 3 minutes. My helper, Rosie, stayed with the other four kids and Jackie and I hopped into the back of the ambulance and off we raced to the ER with the lights and siren blazing.
The EMTs told us that baby rattlers are actually far more dangerous because they've not yet learned how to release their venom in bursts, so they just inject their whole load at once.
That's why they were preparing the defribillation paddles just in case Jackie went into cardiac arrest.
And, that's why they were ready to intubate him in case his air passage closed up.
So, when we arrived in the ambulance at St. Joe's/ CHOC there was quite a crowd of doctors and nurses (around 35) who were very anxious to attend to Jackie. By the time they got him started on an IV push and anti-venom the swelling was up to his elbow and his lips were ringed in white and felt tingly. That would be from, you know, the deadly poison.
Thank Jesus, after entertaining all the doctors and nurses and staff in the ER joking about charging $1 to see his snake, whose head by the way had been smashed by a fireman and yet it still writhed around disgustingly for a long time -- Ick! Just the thought gives me the shivvers! -- Jackie started responding to the anti-venom. The swelling started to go down and his normal coloring came back.
We still had to spend the night, but the ICU had very cool games and decent pizza so he was pretty happy. The therapy dog, Duke, visited which was super fun. His nurse was very nice and pretty. Even though he had to have his IV moved 4 times, he handled it all very well.
Yes, I took its picture but in my defense,
that was before I noticed the little yellow rattle-bud shaking.
We're so glad Snakebite lived to tell the tale.