We’re joking about this now because it all ended happily. In fact, Randy came up with the Harry Potter “parseltongue” joke himself! But for a while there, there was nothing to laugh about. Because last Saturday RANDY THE PERFEKT HUSBAND WAS BITTEN BY A RATTLESNAKE!
We were on our weekly family hike in one of the canyons in our valley. We’re fairly experienced hikers – enough to know to have a healthy fear of respect for nature. We stick to the trails, minding our own beeswax. And that’s exactly what we were doing.
But then Randy went over to the edge of the trail to look at some flowers appreciate nature in some manly way. When suddenly his sock was caught on a low-lying branch. He tripped and fell into the tall brush over to the side where there just happened to be a NEST OF RATTLERS! What dumb, rotten luck!
We didn’t see the snakes, but he felt them slither and we heard them. No single rattle, but a LOUD CHORUS of VERY UNHAPPY RATTLESNAKES! He jumped up, moving faster than I’ve ever seen him move (except for the time post baby when I came home and told him I got the okay from my ObGyn to resume “relations”).
“THERE ARE RATTLESNAKES IN THERE!” I yelled, proclaiming the obvious.
“It’s okay. I’m fine,” Randy assured me in that tone men take on when trying to save face after doing something dumb calm hysterical women.
And then I saw them. Two perfect puncture wounds on the back of his upper leg. I knew it was a snake bite because there was no sign of that pasty-faced pretty boy emo vampire Edward from that “Twilight” movie that has all the 14 year-old girls (and a couple of 30-something moms I know) all hot and bothered.
Suddenly I panicked sprang into action! “WE’VE GOT TO GET YOU TO A DOCTOR!” I screamed in horror said with a calm urgency.
He agreed and calmly (for real, calmly) started walking back down the trail.
“SIT DOWN!, ” I hyperventilated commanded. “DON’T YOU KNOW YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO MOVE!?” Luckily Julia and I had recently watched an episode on the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake on the Discovery Channel. I know, it’s nerdy. But so is Bill Gates and well, ’nuff said! Anyway, I knew EXACTLY what to do.
1) DON’T PANIC! -or the adrenalin will pump the venom more quickly through your system. (This only goes for the victim. The victim’s wife can do whatever the hell she wants…and did).
2) SIT STILL, keeping your head above your heart. (My head was barely above my heart as my heart was in my throat! But again, I wasn’t the victim).
3) NO TOURNIQUETS (I have no smart ass comment to make about this).
4) NO CUTTING AND SUCKING (no this isn’t a Lindsay Lohan reference. It’s an FYI that your old Boy Scout manuals were DEAD WRONG!)
5) DON’T TOUCH THE WOUND in any way as it will release the venom into your skin and blood stream.
6) CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY!
Randy DID NOT want me to call 911. He insisted out of some misguided machismo, that he could walk back to the car and drive to the ER.
Fortunately, I’m not used to listening to him. So I ignored him as usual and dialed. They confirmed what Discovery Channel had taught me that night when I was too lazy tired to read to Julia and sent an ambulance. But because they didn’t know what trail we were on, I had to run over a mile back to the car to meet them.
Julia, so brave, walked her dad to a shade tree and stayed with him while I hobbled pathetically tore down the path. I heard after the fact that when an irritated Randy told her that he wished I would calm down already she said,” Shut up. Mom knows what she’s doing.” It’s the only time she’s ever used the “s” word. And I’m not going to punish her because well, she used it properly.
The EMTs were there in 15 minutes. Randy was in the ER in 30. And on the anti-venom pretty quickly after that. Which was good since the venom was already producing involuntary spasms of all his muscles and numbness of his face and tongue. (And while there have been times I have wished his tongue would go numb, this was not one of them!) He spent a night in ICU and two in a carefully monitored ward. He was lucky. Luckier than the two other snakebite victims still in ICU: one battling to keep his leg and the other at risk of losing his arm. Randy’s looking at 100% recovery!
Now Randy’s home. And he’s crediting Julia and me for saving his life. We’re so grateful he’s alive, we’re giddy! IT’S A LOVE FEST! And truly one of those things that brings a family closer together. It’ll be at least a week before I go back to nagging him because he watches too much basketball or he grills me accusatorily about the disappearance of his socks. Oh, and before the insurance nightmare begins. A week of heavenly bliss….
We LOVE YOU, RANDY! And Julia wants to know, can you speak Parseltongue?