Squawk Radio

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Ssssss....Geralyn Dawson is ba-ack!

Y'all missed me, didn't you?

I have another story to tell, so Christina invited me back to blog it here on SR. Now, it's hard to follow up a swimsuit story (check the May archives, y'all) but I have one that's kinda ssssssssscary.

Last night around ten p.m. the phone rings. My 21 year old son is calling from College Station where he's attending summer school, three hours away from home. His voice is shaking with fear as he says, " Mom? Oh, God, Mom."

My first thought was that he'd been in a wreck and killed someone. I've never heard him so scared.

Then he continues, "Mom, I've been bitten by a snake."

He was leaving his apartment (to go drink beer with his friends at 10:00 p.m. the night before a major exam, but that's another story.) As he stepped onto the front porch, he felt the bite, looked down, and saw that a 2 1/2 to 3 foot long snake had hold of his toe. He shouted a loud obscenity, shook off the snake, went back into his apartment, and called good old mom.

His voice is quaking. The bite starts burning. He describes two puncture wounds. Definitely fangs. I tell him to call 911. Macho man decides to drive himself to the ER, about ten minutes away. I tell him to keep me on the line, he hangs up to call his roommate. I call him back, he stays on the line until he gets to the hospital. I'm on the net looking up first aid for snake bites. He's breathing like a race horse. The ER waiting room has forty people in it. My husband gets on the extension, and using rather salty language instructs our son to explain to the nurse that he needs to see a doctor immediately (visions of the recent four hour ER wait with my mom dancing in our heads.)

They actually take him right in--a good thing or we'd have been calling 911 for a heart attack at our house. The nurse makes him hang up the phone. We wait and wait and wait. I go to my research book shelves and find my copy of Texas Snakes and learn that based on the bite marks, yes, it probably was poisonous.

So then I start reading about antivenom on the internet and get scared all over again.

The kid finally calls. The doctor calling in a snake specialist since John didn't get a good look at the snake in the dark. The doctor thinks it's a copperhead bite, maybe a cottonmouth. A rattlesnake would have him made him much sicker by now.

Specialist comes in says yes, definitely a viper bite, but then tells my son that only twenty percent of bites on humans by a venomous snake actually include the release of venom. The boy shows no sign of venom in his system. Apparently, snakes have a limited amount so they're careful with it. The first strike is actually often a warning. When they recognize their prey is too big to kill, they withdraw without releasing the venom. Or, they strike again and shoot the stuff.

Nice thing to know, isn't it?

Anyway, the snake doctor then spent ten minutes telling him about all the nasty infections snakes carry. Often, the problems humans get from venomous snake bites aren't from the venom, but from infections that develop from the bite. The doc scared my son and gave him a strong antibiotic--the same one, it turns out, that once sent his sister to the hospital with an allergic reaction. (I'm just waiting for another call about that.)

I talked to him a few minutes ago and asked him if he was scared going back to his apartment last night. "No," he said. "My roommates (the ones who'd been out drinking) got flashlights, a pistol, and a golf club and went snake hunting before I got home. (at two a.m.) Didn't see a single snake."

One roommate is in med school. The other is majoring in aerospace engineering.

Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy about the future, doesn't it.
Geralyn, 6:09 PM