Friday, July 19, 2013


Final Update, 3:00 pm Sunday:  She's home and in good spirits. Her hand and arm are still swollen and discolored, and it hurts her if she bumps it or picks up heavy things (so stop doing that!) but otherwise she is in fine form and will likely go to church tomorrow.

Thanks to one and all for kind thoughts and prayers!

Penultimate Update, 8:30 pm Eastern:  Saw mom at the hospital tonight. She's doing a lot better and we expect her home tomorrow (Saturday). Want to see pictures of the snakebite?

Update 3, 1:15 pm Eastern:  Thank you everyone for the prayers and well-wished.  People have asked how it happened, so here's the sequence of events:
  • Mom is out in the garden, pulling weeds. 
  • Her left hand gets too close to a pygmy rattlesnake that is hiding nearby. 
  • It bites her just below the knuckle of her left little finger. 
  • Fortunately, the snake is small and only gets her with one fang, so she didn't get a LOT of venom. But she was still obviously poisoned. 
  • She pounded on my door, then got the shears and killed it. This is partially for antivenom purposes, partially for revenge, and partially because she didn't want it to bite me or any of the dogs later. Pygmies are small, but aggressive little bastards. I've actually seen them pursue humans. 

If anyone has experience with antivenom and allergic reactions thereto, please leave a comment on the blog. I'm not sure if being on the AV for 45ish minutes is enough to neutralize it, and if I should be more worried about the allergic reaction.

I also hope she doesn't sustain damage to her hand. She's left-handed, and that would really REALLY suck. Please set my mind at ease.

Update 2, 12:48 Eastern: Mom called to let me know that she had an allergic reaction to the antivenom and they're moving her to the ICU for the night. Now I am starting to get concerned.

Update, 12:00 Eastern:  She's still in the ER but they've moved her from the immediate treatment room to one of the patient rooms near the nurses' station. She's now on antivenom, as the swelling had gotten past her hand (which is big and puffy and tight) and into her arm. The doctor is looking in on her regularly (probably checking for allergic reactions), and they are keeping her until at least 5:00 pm.

Original Post, 11 am-ish: At about 8:30 this morning, mom woke me up by pounding on the door and saying she'd been bitten.

As I shoulder-rolled out of bed  (it would have been damn tactical, too, had it not been for the fact that I left my glasses on the nightstand and was fumbling around going "What what what?"), my first thought was that one of the dogs had accidentally nipped her and that she needed help putting on a bandage.

Nope. Turns out she'd been bitten by a pygmy rattlesnake while gardening.

While I was throwing clothes on so I could drive her to the Emergency Room, she got a set of pruning shears and cut the little bastard in half. Not to be trifled with, my mother.

So, a couple fun facts:
  • I can dress for the ER in about 10 seconds: tee, shorts, ballcap, slip-on shoes and grab my wallet. 
  • In an emergency, I can be up and moving before my conscious mind fully comprehends what is going on. 
  • I still had enough presence of mind to bring the body of the snake and my Kindle Fire. 
  • I can make it to the hospital in 15 minutes, and I was only lightly speeding. 
I got her checked in being tended to by nurses. The doctor said they would keep her for observation for 6 hours -- by then her hand (she'd been bitten on the knuckle of her left pinkie) was visibly swelling. They might give her antivenom; but they might not need to, since it was a small snake and it only got her with one fang. 

She sent me home to look after the dogs and get breakfast. I will keep everyone updated. Right now, I am 99% confident everything will be fine. 

Prayers and well-wishes gratefully accepted.


  1. Best wishes to your Mom, Erin

  2. Damn. Good job on getting her to the ER and bringing the snake. And your mom was badass with that snake.

    Allergic reaction to the anti-venom... that can't be good. Best wishes and prayers.

  3. Good luck, keep us posted. I'll pray for you guys. Also hopefully in the not too distant future you'll be able to joke that your mom is allergic to ANTI-POISON.

  4. Evyl Robot MichaelJuly 19, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    OMIGOSH! Prayers sent. I'm no expert, but from what little I understand, antivenin allergies are not at all uncommon.

  5. Good grief!! Very good thinking on her part. Prayers being sent!!

  6. ICU is probably the best place to closely monitor an allergic reaction, better than most ERs. Godspeed and good luck.

  7. hope she feels better.

  8. Keeping you and your Mom in my thoughts. I hope that she makes a full recovery with no lasting damage to her hand.

  9. Scary. Hope it works out for her. Take care.

  10. And people say Australia is dangerous :-/
    Sending prayers and best wishes to your badass mum, hope she's out of hospital and back with you soon.

  11. Good job on taking care of her and not freaking out.


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