Snake bite progression

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by sniper-66, May 10, 2009.

  1. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Yesterday, I was working down in the woods burning off a batch of scrap lumber. After letting the pile burn down, I went down to check the pile to make sure it was progressing well. Instead of my heavy leather boots that I had been wearing, I wore my low top slip on shoes. First mistake and I knew it when I did it, but being in a hurry allowed me to make a slip in judgement.

    While stoking the fire, I had burnt some magazines that weren't burning well, so I needed some more wood to get some flame going and needed to get some more scrap. I had been digging out of the pile all day and this time as before I had been telling myself each time to watch out for snakes and I did. When I got my board, I turned around and got my foot caught in some rose thorn. I stopped to see which way I needed to move to get out of the vine and realized there was none. That is when I saw the leaves move and while I hate snakes and they scare me, I immediately got pissed at myself for being stupid. I looked down and sure enough, two holes. I got a metal pipe and jammed him behind the head.

    I am fortunate that it was me and not my three year old daughter that was with me. I told her to go tell mommy to get the truck ready to go to the hospital. I got a stick and got the snake in a bucket and headed up to the truck, had o keep telling myself that I needed to stay calm and move slowly. I got the bucket in the truck and we headed off to the hospital.

    We called 911 and told them to notify the hospital that we were inbound with a snake bite, they passed me to the emergency room directly. Lesson number two. When telling a nurse that you have the snake with you and they say they don't need it, you need to ask them, "Is that the doctors wish?" when they say no. It seems that women don't want to see the snake and will tell you that they don't need it before asking. Three nurses said "NO, we don't need it", before asking the doctor who said emphatically, "Yes, I want the snake". Then the fight was on as to who was going to go out and get the thing. Security refused, the nurses were all trying to push it off. My wife finally got irritated and took my three year old out and had to do it herself. When she came back in, a different nurse asked what she had, when my wife said, "The snake" She said that she needed to immediately "get that thing out of here" I was sitting there and promptly chimed in, "I think you need to go gt your doctor as he wants it" So, my wife stood there with it for about five minutes before they figured out what they were going to do with it.

    Once they got me in-processed, they put me in a wheel chair and wheeled me out in the lobby and told me that if I started feeling dizzy or got a metallic taste in my mouth, to say something. I did that for about an hour before they finally wheeled me back to a room. They then put me up on a bed and I laid there for four hours before they finally let me go home.

    At hour three, they finally gave me some pain killers. I asked why no antivenin, seems that the antivenin has it's own problems and since copperheads are not normally fatal, they would rather watch and let your body take care of it naturally if it can. Here is what my foot looked like while waiting. There are two punctures, one looks long like it was torn, and a third puncture.


    This one is of the top of my foot showing the swelling (right foot)


    The doctor was looking for my foot to start turning white, excessive bruising at the bite site, which would show venom injection. It seems that I got some venom injected as I had some bruising and pain.

    Initially, I could feel the fang stick, but no other pain. As we were driving to the hospital, my ankle started getting a dull pain type of soreness, like I sprained my ankle. By the time we got to the hospital, I had some muscle shaking of my leg and right arm that lasted about 45 minutes. After I got back into the room, the dull pain persisted, but then the sharper pain started appearing around the bite site and moving down the outside of my foot to the side of the ball of my foot. By about hour two, they let my wife go get me some food, when it arrived, I swung my foot over the side of the bed to get where I could sit up and eat. Wrong answer, as soon as the blood hit my foot, the pain hit and it was strong. They gave me a Loritab (sp) for the pain, but it did little, it took a second one about an hour later. They did finally put an ice pack on it, but the touch of the pack on my foot hurt more than it helped.
    They finally released me at 0100 in the morning and the getting dress and move to the truck was excruciating. The only thing worse than getting to the truck was the drive home. I had to hold my foot up off the floor for 20 minutes and every bump was like knives in my foot.

    When I got home and finally got my foot elevated, life got much better and I actually slept through the night, Percocet is now my friend. When I got up this morning and put my foot over the side of the bed, I almost whited out from the pain. The only way I could keep the pain to a manageable level was to get on my belly and low crawl to the bathroom. When I got there, then I had to figure out how to get up on the toilet without using my foot. I just had to gut the pain to do it.

    Overall, not the experience that I expected. As my foot progresses, I'll keep this thread updated. As I was laying in the hospital bed, I got to thinking what one would need to do in a survival situation when medical treatment isn't available. I hope this give others a pause for thought.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2015
    Ganado likes this.
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Wow. There is a clear message there to us that wander the woods in moccasins. There are a few rattlers up here. It is particularly important for those of us that have known sensitivities insect venoms.

    Thanks for the post, Sniper, and do keep us in the recovery loop. Here's hoping it is rapid.
  3. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Oh man, I hate to read all of that. I really do hope that you recover quickly, and that the pain and swelling go away as quickly as they came. Snakes are dangerous, keep those feet covered. What advise did the doctors give you? How much longer are you supposed to feel the symptoms? I wonder if ice would help the swelling? It really is good information to have, lots of times these things happen and people are a long ways from the ER.

    Good luck, we will say a few prayers for speedy recovery.
  4. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Thanks guys, not much change as of yet. I was reading the paperwork that they sent home with me and it says do not put ice on it as ice will speed the damage of the venom.
    One positive out of all this. I was on Doxycycline for a staph infection and so, I don't have to worry about a secondary infection from the bacteria in it's mouth.
    As for what the doc said, it wasn't much as he said all people react differently based on body size, where the bite site is, and how much venom is injected. He didn't even give an expected recovery time. I'm hoping it's by Friday as I have a militaria show in KC this next weekend! Snake Bite Kit: Health & Personal Care
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2015
  5. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I was laying here watching the tube and the foot was starting to tingle. Threw the covers back and noticed that the foot is starting to swell now. The bite site is beginning to itch, but scratching it doesn't do anything and it hurts to do so, so now I'm just enduring the annoying itch. [​IMG]
  6. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    Owww, man; feel sorry for you! that's looking uncomfortable.
  7. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Been working on any military top secret gamma ray classified stuff? The way that leg is swelling............let us know if you start turning green.
  8. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    [rofllmao] SM's Very Own Hulk.
  9. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Trust me, if I start turning green, there will be :sick:following it.

    This afternoon, the swelling continued up the pack of my leg and the pain got worse. The original sheet they sent home said that if anything changed for the worse, to call. I did and they said to come back in. I sat in the waiting room for a couple hours and then they took me back, doc said it was what he would expect, so this time, I asked what to expect further, and asked specifically why I didn't get antivenin.

    He said that antivenin is usually made with horse serum and that while the antivenin is good at breaking down the venom, the body sees the serum that is used as the base, as a foreign body. Within a couple weeks, you will get flu like sick as the body begins to attack the serum and sometimes it can be quite harsh.
    The swelling is to be expected for the next 24 to 36 hours and then I should be able to start putting weight on my foot. The venom is breaking down the tissue so that the snake can more easily digest my foot should he try to eat it (don't think he will be in the mood to eat anything as it will just fall out his neck hole!). That breakdown of the tissue and the blood flow to repair it is why the pain feels like a sprained ankle.

    The swelling in my foot prohibits my toes from moving right now. More bruising is evident, and nothing is expected to go above my knee.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2015
  10. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    Copperheads are the most common snake around my neck of the woods. I know several people who have been bitten by them. All of them had the swelling and pain but it subsided after a few days and they were no worse for wear. I only know of one guy who was hospitalized and he had a severe allergic reaction to the venom. Hang in there, it'll pass.
    BTW, I first read this around noon when I came in the house for lunch. When I went back out to finish yard work I was extra careful where I put my hands!
  11. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    I hope it gets better soon for ya, we only have one and it has a rattle....
  12. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member


    Well, the bruising is now at it's worst. You can see the original bite site and down the foot. Most of the pain today is up in my lower shin area. Hopefully, this will be the start of the end of this. Not as dramatic as a necratising spider bite, but to me, the progression is facinating none the less.
  13. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Dang! I hope you're up and about (pain free) soon!

    Certainly food for thought. I really like the progression information. Good to know. Thank you for sharing this with us!!
  14. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Yep....everything Tracy said!

    Hoping you're 100% again, soon.....
  15. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Sniper66 is the ultimate tester. First we wondered what life in New Orleans was like after Katrina so he flew down there and told us about it. Then we wondered what it was really like over in the sandbox........he obliged......Now that we were really wondering what to do if you get bit by a snake.....well our bud once again stepped up to the plate.

    Speaking of, I have another question that I don't think has been posed. Did the doctors tell you to keep your elevated up above your heart to reduce swelling, or did they tell you to keep it lower to reduce the chance of the venom flowing further and causing more damage? Hope you heal quick!
  16. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    You forgot about the Vest-O-Truth! You know me, I'll do anything once, so listen up on the snake bite info because I won't be doing this twice!

    I kept my leg below my heart on the way in. While in the ER, they kept it even or lower, but when they sent me home, they told me to elevate it. I asked about that and they said that if there was venom in my blood, it has already made it through my heart. If I keep it above my heart, the swelling goes down and it looks pretty good, but as soon as I put it down, I can feel the blood rush in, pulsate, and get all blue.

    Today, the bite area is yellow and green. The only blue area is the top of my foot. The most swelling is on the top of the foot and I think that is what is causing my inability to walk on it yet. The swelling is stressing my tendons, making them tender. I'm getting off the Percocet and going to start some Naproxen to help get the swelling down. I finally got the ice pack out, I'm thinking that the venom has done all the work it is going to do, so some ice to help gt the swelling down won't hurt.
  17. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Well, I don't know about that. The bomb release musta stuck on the pass over Monkeyman's place --

  18. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Ground fire jambed the rack!
  19. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I was finally able to get up and around today, so I went out and got a picture of the rat bastard that got me. Here he is in the bottom of the 5 gallon bucket.



    The swelling was starting to go down and the amount of bruising was beginning to diminish and what was there was starting to turn green and yellow, so a good sign. I got off the Percocet and started on Naproxen to help with the swelling. I also started using ice packs.
    By last night, the swelling was down enough that I could put my foot down and it didn't hurt, so I got up and rested my foot on the ground and it could take some weight. I ended up walking on the foot, hurt some but was bearable. This morning, I was able to walk on it at first, but it started swelling again, so more Naproxen and ice pack and able to walk on it some more. I'm thinking by tomorrow, I should be able to walk without problem. Tempted to go down and look at the crime scene, shotgun in hand and boots on of course. I also have to take the snake down the road and get rid of him as he is starting to get a little stinkie.
  20. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    You should skin him and make a pair of boots out of the bastard! Teach the others not to mess with you...

    Just kidding. We have Copperheads in our neck of the woods, but I have yet to see one that big! He sure does have some venom pits on the sides of his head. I didn't know, but after looking them up, Copperheads are pit-vipers. I guess I won't be so lax about them anymore.
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