On June 20th, I was bitten by one of these:
A lot, it seems, has happened since then. I’m finished with my summer class, my new job doesn’t start until the 16th and I’m still immobilized. I have a lot of free time, little to do and little that I’m able to do, so I might as well write about what happened.
June 20th – One week after my 22nd birthday. My mom, who had driven up from Round Rock to Denton, had spent the day helping my grandmother at a rehab facility in Corinth. That evening she and I went to Wal Mart and then were going to get something to eat on The Square in downtown Denton. We left Wal Mart and went to my grandmother’s condo, where my mom was staying, to drop off some stuff. By this time it was around 10 pm.
I left the condo and was walking on the sidewalk to get to the parking lot. I was about halfway there when the snake bit me.
On the right side of my right foot, I felt a sharp, searing pain. At first, I thought maybe I had stepped on something sharp – like some nails or thumbtacks on the ground. But after the initial bite, the pain intensified. The best way I can think to describe it is a stinging and burning.
This whole sequence of events is a blur, so I don’t remember what happened very well. At that point I think I screamed and looked down. It was dark and the area was poorly-lit, so I couldn’t see very well whatever it was that I stepped on. I did however see something on the ground moving, and somehow it occurred to me that it must have been a snake that bit me.
My mom, who was several feet behind me, immediately became worried and asked me what happened. I think we had an exchange that went something like this:
Me: “There’s a snake!”
Mom: Did it bite you?”
I remember my mom asking “Did it bite you?” but I don’t remember what I said to prompt her saying this.
Mom: ‘OH MY GOD GET IN THE CAR WE’RE GOING TO THE ER!”
We both ran to the car, and once my mom buckled herself in she practically floored the gas pedal to get me to the hospital. I asked my mom to slow down her driving because I didn’t want us to get in a wreck on the way there.
At this point I was trying really hard to just keep calm. The pain had spread from the bite and my entire foot was throbbing with a stinging sensation. I looked down to where I had felt my skin punctured, and sure enough there were two fang marks.
My mom asked me what the snake that bit me looked like. I had only looked down for a second and there was barely any lighting, but for some reason I had the image in my head that the snake was small and green. I learned later that this could not have been right – most small, green snakes in the North Texas area are garden snakes, which are not venomous. Bites from non-venomous snakes are not nearly as painful, and the pain does not last as long as bites from venomous snakes.
I realized that I only saw the snake for one second and couldn’t be sure my memory was accurate – so I started worrying about the kind of snake that bit me. Anxious thoughts flooded my head – Would I die? (with the amount of pain I was in, this seemed like a valid concern) Would my foot or leg be amputated? What if I passed out on the way to the ER? I feared going unconscious and not knowing what was happening to me.
I called Daniel and let him know what was going on. Although I tried to keep myself together, I started crying as I explained to him what happened. I was really scared about the potential damage that the bite could do, and by this point my pain was off the charts. Daniel tried to calm me down and told me he would meet my mom and I at the ER.
In about 15 minutes (around 10:20 pm or so), we made it to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. It calmed me down to make it there, but I became a bit worried when I saw the packed waiting room. I limped over to a chair and waited while my mom spoke with the receptionist. My mom asked if I could have an ice pack for my foot while I waited to be seen. When the receptionist learned that I had a snake bite, I was immediately taken into the examination room. (thus, I learned that snake bites, along with chest pain, gun shot wounds and a few other ailments will get you automatic access to the ER).
I will continue the story in another installment. Next, I’ll write about my crazy first night at the ER.