An Old Lady And A Snake

An Old Lady And A Snake

A Story by texasjane

A diamond back rattle snake and me.

When one reaches a certain age they look at things as either a nightmare or an adventure.  What happens when it is both?

It all started when I heard the dogs barking outside.  It was a different kind of bark.  Not the someone just crossed the street bark but a someone is in the yard bark.  Our recent yard parties with a raccoon made me go to the yard to check.  Once we even had a stray dog get in the yard so this was a necessary trip.  My portable oxygen machine was not working so I had been restricted to the house for some time.  Venturing out into the yard without oxygen might prove disastrous.  Little did I know... disaster is exactly what was waiting for me.

The dogs were both barking at the opening that leads under the house.  I really thought it must be another raccoon.  I could not see inside so I slowly got down on the ground on my hands and knees.  This is a wonder in itself because I had convinced myself this was something I could not do.  Getting on all fours with two hip implants and the two knees that did not work well.  I had to check anyway.  I had no idea I knew how to do what I did.  

I put my left hand just inside the opening so I could lower my head and peek inside.  Yikes, instant pain as I jerked my hand back.  It was like someone had taken a small wire and heated it red hot and just stuck it on my wrist.  The was a small snake now attached to my wrist.

I was instantly angry, in extreme pain, and in shock all at the same time.  I let fear take over for me.  I amazed myself.  I pinched the snake just behind its head and got up, holding it up so the dogs would not snatch it.  I carried it into the house and opened a pillow case and lowered it inside.  I twisted the case.  I then screamed my head off.  I could not breath, I was huffing and puffing and actually saying words I did not know I even knew.  It was definitely "Son of a Siberian Sea Cook" time.  I scrambled around to find my cell phone.  I called 911 for help.

The pain kept the tears running down my face so I could not see very well.  While waiting for the ambulance I changed my underwear, because that is what ladies do before they go out, and filled up the dog's water bowl, made sure there was enough food, and started looking for my teeth.  Never did find them.  I did make myself go to the kitchen and take the blade out of my box cutter and cut the two fang marks deeper so it would bleed better...I did a good job on that one.  I was bleeding all over the place.

The EMS got there.  I had a make shift mask on as I opened the front door.  I was huffing and puffing holding my hand up.  They instantly go for the oxygen.  I wave my arm and wrist in their face and the guy actually moved it out of his way to put a proper mask on me.  I am trying to catch my breath and talk at the same time.  The other attendant said, there was a call about a snake bite not respiratory arrest.  I once again waved my hand.

I think that young people conclude that the minute the hair starts turning white... the brains start leaking out.  He said with a smirk (not expecting an answer) and asked what kind of snake.  I had an instant flashback.  I almost went into orbit when I realized I had gotten up off the ground, with a snake in my fingers and made it into the house.  I had not fallen, I had not stumbled, all I did was string along every curse word I ever heard into one long whisper.  I yelled for help but whispered the curse words.  I had to laugh at myself... this is one time it would be okay not to be such a lady but ... what the Hell, some habits can't be broken.  

I held up my wrist and shook it at the attendant who was trying to tighten my face mask.  I held up one finger.  I got up went into my bedroom, got the pillow case, and returned to my two guests.   They could hear the rattle.  I grinned ...they looked at one another and decided maybe the old broad ain't lost it all yet.  I lowered my masked and I grinned before I realized I had not put my teeth in.  I thought to myself, "Boy, that must have been real pretty."  

The attendant went into instant panic as he started taking off the blood soaked paper towel around my wrist.  I could talk by then but wanted him to concentrate on what he was doing.  For once in my life... I shut up.  I guess this was my new experience for the; that would have to be the snake bite.  The ride to the hospital was fairly quiet, with the rattle snake, still in the pillow case played its song.

We go to the hospital.  Everyone is running around dressed like they are ready to hold up the next stage coach.  (I watch a lot of Westerns).  The pain was getting much worse.  It took my breath away.  I had tears coming down my face I could not stop.  I could feel my skin on fire and getting more intense by the minute.

Everyone has  four words to say.  What kind of snake?  You would think they would talk to each other.  Finally someone came in who knew what kind of snake it was.  The shot was as painful as the snake bite.  I did have a transfusion.  I had lost a little too much blood.  (I told you it was a mess.)  My vital signs were coming back to normal.

Finally, they going to let me go back home.  I had no car, no one to call, and no ride home.  What was I going to do?  I thought about it while they were getting my paperwork together.  I had one person after another come in and chat with me.  It turned into quiet a fun visit.  I started telling funny stories and gave each visitor at least one giggle before they left.  I told them I would not stay in there overnight.  I had been virus free all this time I was not going to press my luck.  I was more afraid of the virus than anything else at this point.  My wrist had swollen and I was in extreme, intense pain.

The last time I came to an ER I had my lap top and was able to read stories to the other patients in the Critical Care section.  This time everyone looked like bandits and you could not tell if someone was smiling without watching their eyes.  That is okay, they could not tell how many chins I had with the neck piece I had on either.  They could not tell if my teeth were in or not so I think all in all it was a good thing.

Finally, a little ole gal came in to once again check my vitals. I decided I needed to add some laughter to my disaster.  I started telling one line jokes.  The nurse laughed.   I got her laughing about one of my Hamlet stories and found out she lived just down the road from were I lived.  I told her about my problem with getting a ride home.  She volunteered her services.  Her shift was almost over.  I got my ride home.  How did I know that this was just the first half of my adventure? 

The wild life department had been called and the neighborhood was swarming with people looking under and in the vacant houses in the neighborhood for rattle snakes.  This is not something common for this area of East Texas.  The question came up of how they got there.  I watched in amazement as cloth sacks were being carried everywhere.  I had been bitten by a diamond back rattler almost 3 feet long with three rattles.

They did find several more at other houses.  They found a six foot snake in the commode of one of the houses... Yikes,  how would you like to sit on that one?  Another was found inside one of the bath tubs.  They come up through the pipes.  That is why they came to the surface of course to mate.  It was the season.

I did find out how they ended up in the neighborhood.  A kid, the one that wanted to mow my grass, the grand son of the town gossip, the lady Tattle Tales is about.  He had two pet rattle snakes that had the fangs removed. That was fine, but when they got out and were no longer kept separate.... they had babies all over the place.   The babies had all the necessary equipment to be deadly.

Snakes eat rodents.  Anyway, I am sure they were also after the baby raccoon that had been out.  The kid thought there would be no problem since they had no fangs. The one I got was almost 3 feet long and had three rattles.  That means it had shed its skin three times.  It has nothing to do with age since a snake sheds its skin several times a year.  They come out in the spring to mate and have more babies by summer when it is hot.  Every year in Texas we have the big rattle snake round up but it is usually done in West Texas were it is hotter and has more snakes.  The authorities said they will be around once a month to double check to make sure no one laid (they bury them) eggs.  We don't need a new batch popping up.  The smaller snakes or younger snakes has a more concentrated venom so that is one reason it was so painful.

I was exhausted with pain.   I could not get comfortable or sleep.  I watched TV as best I could.  I tried to read but the constant tearing kept me from being able to focus.

I had almost become accustomed to the intense pain in my hand and arm.  I had been up all night.  A storm started coming through the neighborhood.  I had thought how wonderful we had the snake round up before the storm.  The mud would have made finding them almost impossible.  Sweet Pea was hiding her head under the bed (only her head) and Precious was very close to me.  She still was upset about me being out of sight for so long.

My hand and arm were killing me.  The pain was almost unbearable.  I could not help but cry.  The burning, stinging and in ability to really move my arm much made it all worse.  I could not eat because the anti venom made me sick at my stomach.  I was very unhappy and in a great deal of pain.  I could not sleep.  I could not type or play on the computer.  I got the TV going and it helped a little.  I was up all night but exhausted from the pain the lack of sleep.

I finally turned off the TV and thought I could at least read stuff on the computer.  I came in the computer room about 7AM.  It was thundering outside so I thought I might lose my Internet any time.  I kept going trying to read emails, etc.  Suddenly, at 7:14AM the power went out.  The entire house went blank.  This has happened before so, I did not worry.  I went back in the bedroom to open the curtains to let some day light in. I talked to the dogs for a while.  I waited, I waited, and I waited.  When I got through I waited, I waited, and I waited some more.  I finally decided to look outside.  I glanced at the motel behind my's lights were on.  I went out on the front porch and glanced down the street.  The signal light at the intersection a block away was working and the gas station on the corner had their lights working.  I thought, 'Why me?'.  I turned while standing on my front porch.  I glanced at my back yard.  OMG!!!

I quickly went back into the house.  I was beginning to get winded.  It was almost ten o'clock now.  I had been without oxygen since 7:14.  I made my way into the laundry room and out onto the back porch.  I looked up just in time.  A huge tree had its trunk split and half of it was laying across my power line.  When I looked up I saw sparks flying off of it.  I went into instant panic.

 I quickly shewed the dogs back into the house and block off the doggy door.  I went back in the house. Who do I call, how do I call?  My land line went out with the electricity.  My head was getting lighter.  My hand was killing me.  I suddenly remembered my cell phone. I raced into where I had left it and yeah!! it was working.  I called a friend first who was not answering but I left a message.  I stood there on the porch and watched as the sparks shot out from the power line.  I just knew my little frame house was going to catch on fire.

My fingers knew what to do.  I left my little finger in charge since it seemed to be the only one with any good control.  It dialed 911 and put the phone on speaker.  I had to talk fast because this phone does not like me and hangs up on people.  I gave them my address told them about the power line and the sparks.  They asked me the name of my electric company.  I did not know.  Over a year ago I set it up on auto pay... I had no idea who they were. About ten of the longest minutes went by.  The police showed up.. I thought to myself that the officer was here to 1) make sure I was not nuts, 2) arrest the tree, 3) show the electric company where I lived, or 4) see if he could help.  It turned out to be 4.  When he got to the porch the electric company arrived, by the time they made it to the driveway, my meals on wheels people arrived with my lunch.  Yes, it is now close to noon.  I have been without oxygen since 7:14AM.  I had been sitting on a chair on the front porch waiting for help to arrive.  I started to get up to greet the officer and fell backwards.  I caught myself but I scared him.  He started to ask about my left hand bundled all up and I said, "You should have seen the other guy."  We both laughed.  I started making jokes about inviting him to a dance and him discovering he was not the only one I had invited.  Within a few minutes two more officers showed along with the fire department.  Now, I had a whole yard full of people.  The barking from the front window drew everyone's attention to Precious.

Precious is a 125 pound pit bull.  She was a gift from the Chief of Police shortly after I moved into my home.  That is another story all together.  She was standing with her back feet on a bed but her front feet were on the top of the window ac unit.  The police, fireman, and electric company guys could not see that part.  All they saw was a window from bottom to top... DOG!!  A HUGE BARKING, SNARLING, BARKING, GROWL, BARKING DOG!  She got bigger when I called her name.  She got excited then.  She started jumping at the window.  She acted like she wanted to eat the first person through the door.

My breathing had gotten so bad the officer called the ambulance.  Within minutes the party had changed.  Now, we had even more (2 more) afraid of Precious.  I tried to tell them it was all show.  Precious was more convincing than I was.  The ER people check my blood pressure was off the charts.  My oxygen level was extremely low.  I told them where my portable oxygen unit was.  It was in the room with Precious... Right.  They started asking me then the name of the president, my birthday, what day it was?  I think it is a problem with all medical people.  You would think they would write the answers down.  Everyone of them ask the same questions.  Not only that... in a minute or two they ask all over again.  I was doing fine till we got to my social security number.  I told the guy he was getting too personal.  I had been cracking jokes and making light of the whole thing to keep the party going.  I mean just look at it.  I am a 69 year old woman sitting on a front porch with one had bound up like a boxing glove, no teeth in and I have 3 police officers, 3 from the fire department, 3 from the electric company and 2 from the emergency services to entertain.  I had to entertain ten men and one other woman.  I had no power so offering them refreshments was no good.  Besides I did not have that many cups or glasses.  I did not have enough of anything else to share so... I had to rely on my stash of giggles.

I had everyone laughing until finally they decided someone was going to have to introduce themselves to Precious.  The police decided the female fire fighter would have the best chance.  She was able to retrieve the portable unit.  It was drained and had dead batteries.  The oxygen bottle (another trip into the room with Precious) was empty.  It was decided that I was in respiratory distress so we had to leave.  Another trip inside the house to get my wallet.  The third trip was the winner.  The female officer came out covered in muddy paw prints all over her nice clean uniform.  She was wiping her face to get the dog drool off.  She announced to the big brave men.. that Precious was harmless as long as you stand still and let her just love you.  I looked at the guys and said, "See, I told ya.  She is a great watch dog.  She will watch you do anything you want."

I was then put into an ambulance leaving the fire department, the electric company and the police in charge.  I was on my way to the ER... again.

One thing for sure about medical people.  None of them seem to know who the president is.  It is amazing.  I had answered the question so many times I started making jokes about it.  "Well, the jury is still out.. some think it should be Hilary."  I got a good laugh out of that one.  I told one guy it was "Bush."  His face told me he did not appreciate the joke.  No one at the hospital reads either.  Everyone wanted to know my birthday.  I would give them the numbers and then follow up with,,, "That is almost ten years in dog years."  I even told one guy I was old enough to know better but too young to care.  One thing is for sure.. none of them knew what day of the week it was.  I finally told them to just pick one.  My hand was hurting so badly.  This was a different hospital but the questions were the same.  My blood pressure was off the charts, my breathing was very shallow, and all I could think about was the throbbing in my hand.  Someone finally asked why my hand was bandaged.  I told them about the snake bite.  Their eyes got wide as if in disbelief.

I begged one of the nurses to give me something for the pain but she said she could not give me anything since they did not know yet if I would need some sort of treatment.  OMG!!!   Not even a bit of water.  I could not stand it any more.  I started unwrapping my other hand.  I sat there with the bandages all over my lap when the next attendant came through the door.  One look at my swollen wrist and hand told them I was in trouble.

The bite affects the nervous system of the victim and can paralyses you and kills the tissue around the bite.  I still had a little in me.  That is why my lungs were shutting down on me.  A second group of anti venom shots followed.  A crazy mix up got me a ride home.

I did not get back home until almost midnight.  It had been one heck of a twenty four hour period.  Then I played the "What If" game.

What if I had not been bitten?  The neighborhood would have had all those snakes going into pipes to get out of the excess water from the storm.  What if if the storm had not happened?  I would not have known about the split tree being so close to my power line.  What if the power had not gotten shut off?  My house could have burned down.  What if my portable oxygen machine had been working?  The EMS would not have taken me to the hospital the second time.  If I had not gone to the hospital the second time I would be dead because I needed a second dose of the anti venom.  When the last EMS guy (who gave me my second ride home) hugged me and thanked me.  He had come to work depressed that day wondering if God was really there.

When we got home the electric company had not turned on the power.  The  parametric called them and had them come out.  They could not fix the problem the first time they came out because Sweet Pea had hidden under the back porch and barked at them.  Their policy not to enter a yard with a barking dog prevented them from doing anything else.  So, they had turned the power off to the line and left. 

The attendant and I had a chance to chat while we waited for them to fix my power.  I was able to give him a run down of my day starting with the snake bite.  What if he had not been the one called to give me a ride home?  So many blessings in a 24 hours period... starting with a 3 foot rattle snake.  What if?

I realized that all the "What Ifs" had started me listing my -EST moments.

I thought I was going to add something to the "sweet" column of my "EST" listings. I had added a few after getting home from the er and getting my electric back on and of course the snake round up. Then I glance over as I hear Sweet Pea coming into the office. I spot Oscar scampering in behind her.

Sweet Pea stopped just before coming through the door. She lowered her long gray hound snout to the floor. Oscar jumped on and scampered up her nose to the top of her head then Sweet Pea came in the door. Oscar then settled in to ride on Sweet Pea's back. I had seen them riding together before but had never witnessed the mounting so to speak. Sweet Pea is so gentle it is amazing. Sweet Pea comes further into the room and nudges me at my computer chair. Oscar is now standing on Sweet Pea's back waving his hands at me chatting up a storm. This means.... "get up and do something Marshall Dillion... we need you." I learned a long time ago that the dear heaven father sometimes communicates with fur people when he needs to get our attention.

I get up and wave my hands towards the door which is sign language for ''Show me." Sweet Pea turns and guides me through the door. Oscar is riding sitting up with his tail flickering. We get to the doggy door.  Sweet Peas stops, lowers her head.  Oscar scampers down her nose to the floor.  They go through the doggy door one at a time. You would think Sweet Pea was born with a squirrel on her back.  I decided it would be okay if I used the Marshall's door.

I am scared because I think it might be another snake so I stop and grabbed a pillow case on the way past the dryer. Then I thought I might need a weapon so I stop again to snatched the hammer on the tool shelf. I opened the back door. My two guides are waiting for me at the base of the steps. Oscar is jumping up and down chattering... "What took you so long?" I am sure I got that right... it seemed to fit. Anyway, I continue to follow them.

They were headed for the fallen tree trunk. This is the one that was on my power line. The electric company had sawed off the branches that had held it there and it had fallen here in the yard. The power line was working and all looked fine. I continued to follow. Oscar suddenly jumped from Sweet Pea's back to the sawed off branch. He scampers towards the end and starts chattering and waving his hands. I can't see at first then I hear squeals. I look and the branch had fallen and another branch that was on it had broken and landed just right to block off the hole in the fallen trunk. From what I could see it looked like three little squirrels were trapped inside. Marshall Dillon went to work. It is my job to protect Dodge City... also known as Jane's backyard. I do not own a saw. I find a large flat headed screw driver.

I start chipping away at the broken branch with the screw driver and the hammer. Just as I start getting to the point where I can finish the brake and pull the branch out I spotted the body of a dead snake. I gasp.. when I first saw it then sighed when I realized it was dead. I snapped the last piece of the broken branch and out they came. It was like watching the tiny car at the circus... the one with all the clowns in it. Squirrels kept coming out.

On my way back into the house I thought again about the snake. The tree had fallen on the snake that means it was out here after the snake round up earlier that day. The tree was not freed from the power line until almost midnight when I had returned from the ER. I thought it would be a good idea to just check. I called the electric company. It took me over an hour to track down the name of the guy who came out that night to cut the tree down and restore my power. I asked if he was on duty anywhere and was told he was in the hospital. I asked it he was being treated for a snake bite?

A lot of phone conversations later I was able to talk to a nurse working on his case. I told her that a rattle snake was found where the man had been around midnight that night. She gasp. He had been very sick and his organs were shutting down but they had no known reason why. I told her it was a diamond back rattle snake. They checked his ankles and found the bite marks. They gave him snake bite treatments and his improvement started within the hour. He was going to live. I also notified the game and wildlife people to let them know we needed another round up. I think back on the What If list I had made. Breathing a little slower I decided I could add this to one of the what if's. If I had not listened to Oscar.... Did you read what I said... listened to Oscar. Oscar is a squirrel!! One of these days I will have to tell him that. This still has to be on my EST listing.

I look down now at Oscar and Sweet Pea napping together and think... I have been through several "sad-est", "funni-est", "hungri-est", "long-est", "short-est" and even "crazi-est" times in my "est" listing. What I am looking at right now has to be at the top of my "Oscar-est". Sweet Pea-est? Cutest?'' Take your pick. I know I have been through one of my: "Scari-est" times to get to one of the "Sweet-est". What is at the top of your "EST" listing?

© 2021 texasjane

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Added on April 17, 2021
Last Updated on April 17, 2021
Tags: Snakes, Humor, Squirrels, Dogs, Love



Hawkins, TX

I a retired Texas widow. I live alone with two dogs. I love to look for the humor in almost everything. I like to pass along a giggle when I can. Wisdom is also fun to pass along. I like to pro.. more..

My Hamlet My Hamlet

A Story by texasjane