Bitten By a Rattlesnake, Part 1: He Bit Me Before He Rattled

7 years ago
Eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Croatalus adamanteus), ready to strike, Kentucky

How far does a girl have to go to get face time with her friends?

Dinner parties are great, but you are always busy feeding everyone.
Coffee is great, but everyone comes and goes and it’s loud. Bars are crazy; you can’t really have a conversation when you’re surfing.

So, I decided to try something new last Wednesday. I stepped on a snake, a rattlesnake -— a four-foot long rattlesnake with a big mouth.
I have spent more quality face-to-face time with my friends in the past three days than I have all year.

Here’s the story:
I took two of my girlfriend's daughters for a walk, along with my dog and a neighbor’s dog. I was taking pictures of wildflowers for my blog, the girls were chatting about horses and well up ahead of me on the trail, and the dogs were cavorting through the brush.

The girls rounded the big oak tree up ahead of me and walked back towards me. They stopped and asked if they could run ahead to the horse barn about a quarter mile back to the trailhead without me, and I said "yes."

This was one of the best decisions I had made all day.

As I watched them run, I noticed they ran by a beautiful little patch of lupin flowers. I had been taking long shots of wild flowers and no close-ups. I slowly started to move toward the patch of flowers as I looked down to adjust my camera lens.

I took one more step without looking up and wham! I heard a weird whipping noise, and I felt a violent jab to my leg that felt like two white-hot nails being driven into my ankle with quite some force.

For a split second I thought I had stepped on a piece of debris with a sharp object attached.

Then I heard the rattle. That is right, the snake didn’t rattle until after I stepped on it. How unfair is that? Of course when I heard the rattle, I knew what had happened.

I stepped back to see a large rattlesnake coiling away from me. It was rattling up a storm. The snake made a run for it across the trail rattling all the way. My neighbor’s dog ran after it. I grabbed him and walked down the trail a bit until the dogs weren’t interested any more in the snake. I plopped myself on the ground, pulled out my cell phone and called my girlfriend whose house was at the trailhead and told her to call 911 -- first because I didn’t know her address, which is where they would dispatch the call, and second because it is a lot faster to get emergency services from a land line.

I started to slowly walk toward the trailhead.

I was already feeling the affects of the venom.

Every inch of my body was vibrating, the sensation of Novocaine wearing off —- only about 10 times stronger.

My lips, my mouth and my tongue had that buzzing sensation also, but more intense. My tongue felt big and fuzzy, and my mouth was dry and had a terrible metallic taste.

Soon I heard the children’s voices; three of the neighbor kids were running toward me to help. This was to be one of the many highlights of my snakebite adventure.

“Chigiy, are you O.K.? Did you get bit? How can we help?”

I was quite impressed. I handed the dogs off to them as my friend Nihal approached.

As he approached, I could hear sirens in the distance getting closer.

He helped me to walk a bit toward the gate. It was getting a little too painful to walk, so Nihal just let me hold onto him and stand. I couldn’t remember what to do. I thought I was supposed to lie down and relax but I couldn’t figure out how the ambulance was going to get to me.

At some point I could tell by the sound that the ambulance had missed the private road to the trail where I was located.

To be continued. Be sure to read part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6.

Chigiy blogs at The Gardeners Anonymous.

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