Yesterday morning, it actually happened to My Sweet Husband (MSH). A copperhead snake bit him on his left index finger. If you’re unfamiliar with copperhead snakes, Google them. They aren’t nice. They're not usually deadly. Not as fatal or harmful as rattlesnakes or water moccasins. But they’re mean, scary and painful. For a small child? They’d be unbelievably horrific.
MSH had been out at walking Buddy Boo Bear when he saw a copperhead curled up near our outdoor kitchen. He came running in to get a gun to shoot it—hoping it didn't slither off. He got it. A couple of hours later, he decided it was time to clear out the ivy in the garden near our bedroom door. He knows I love my ivy. It is, however, a safe haven for those evil serpents. Our bedroom is on the side of the house where six other copperheads have decided—in the past three years—to live. (They've ultimately paid the price for choosing our home to be their place of residence. Sorry. We simply cannot let them stay. Not with grandkids running around. And Senior Citizens. And everyone in between.)
Because MSH does 98% of our outdoor work—mowing, weedeating, plowing, trimming, clearing, planting, watering, etc.—he wears “snake guards” most of the time. These go on his shins and are good protection against snakes—especially when used in conjunction with jeans, heavy socks and boots. He had his snake guards and leather gloves on yesterday as he worked. He’d been at it for almost two hours when it happened. Just a few minutes before the attack, I’d stuck my head out our door, before getting into the shower, to check on him. He’d said he was nearly finished.
As I emerged from the shower and was beginning to put a little makeup on, I heard our door open and this: “I’ve been bit by a copperhead.”
ELC (as I ran out of our bathroom and entered our bedroom): NO. NO. NO. NO. Tell me you’re kidding.
MSH: I’m not. I’ve been bit. Call the ER and ask them what we should do before we head that way.
He then got his gun and went back out the door. I heard two shots as I was trying to look up the hospital phone number in our kitchen. I was shaking so much I could barely turn the phonebook pages.
I got a recording. They were going to answer calls in the order in which they came. Uh, NOPE. I hung up and dialed 911. The nice young woman talked to me as I dressed and told me we should ice the bite and MSH should elevate his hand above his heart. She asked me for a phone number. (I thought I was giving her my cell number.)
MSH’s heart. Oh, my. He had his second heart attack in two years this past March. It was beyond frightening for him, me and all of our family. Now I was worried about his heart and blood pressure. I quickly finished dressing (let me tell Y'all I looked lovely and, of course, I'm being sarcastic) and we raced out the door. MSH stayed calm. He even joked a little as I drove 90 miles an hour down the highway to our hospital—seventeen miles south—with my flashers on. Five miles down the road his phone rang. (I’d given the 911 Operator his cell number!). He answered. She told MSH he should NOT ice it or elevate it. He said: “Okay! Thank you so very much!”
We love our ER. We were extremely lucky as a doctor we’ve known for over thirty years was there yesterday. She knows us. She knows snake bites. She said MSH was lucky he had gloves on. He did get venom—because there was significant swelling in his finger, his knuckles and a small amount to his wrist. His blood pressure went from 220 down to 170 back to 200 down to 180 back to 200 for the first three hours. Then it settled at 170. We had a precious nurse who took good care of him. She gave him an antibiotic, some meds for his stomach—in case he started feeling sick—and measured his finger and hand every twenty minutes to monitor the swelling. The doctor decided he wouldn’t need the anti-venom—not unless his finger took a turn for the worse over the next few hours or days. She told us what to watch out for and sent us home. MSH was happy happy HAPPY.
On the way home, I called our Sheriff’s Office and asked the lady that answered the phone to tell the 911 operator we’d both talked to that MSH was fine! That her calm and encouraging help had been a blessing to us and we’d always be grateful to her for her kindness. The lady answering the phone said it was “Amy” and Amy'd be thrilled I’d called back. That they seldom ever knew what happened to most people after the initial 911 call. What would we do without these dedicated people?
MSH wasn’t ever in too much pain. He slept fairly well last night and has had a good day. He has strict orders to stay quiet and cool for the rest of the week. He knows he’ll be answering to TLC if he wavers from his orders. He’s much more afraid of her than moi!
I am considering the possibility of putting MSH up for adoption. (Buddy Boo Bear will have to be part of the package—since he adores MSH and only likes me when MSH isn’t around.) I told MSH I could not take another ER trip, on his behalf, for another year. Or two. Or three. He’s going to make me have a heart attack or stroke. Sheesh.
Living out here, in the sticks, we’re used to seeing lots of God’s creatures. Armadillos. Scorpions. Centipedes. Hundreds of spiders. Big spiders. Foxes. Bobcats. Coyotes. Raccoons. Possums. Skunks. I’m pretty sure I’d take any of these creatures over even the smallest garden snake. Copperheads? I want them banished from our country casa and place. Forever. PLEASE.
Wishing Y’all a week that is SNAKE-