The Fine Line Between Fueling Fear and Being Fearlessly Smart

 the photo i took on my iphone moments after this snake bit my left index finger.  From the markings and the tail, I thought it was a rattlesnake.  photo by greg frucci, July 27, 2017..  

the photo i took on my iphone moments after this snake bit my left index finger.  From the markings and the tail, I thought it was a rattlesnake.  photo by greg frucci, July 27, 2017..  

A few nights ago, I was bitten by what looked like a rattlesnake and was told by the Emergency Room at the Outer Banks Hospital in Nags Head, North Carolina that they verified with a NC State agency that the snake was a Timber Rattler.  More on the mystery at bottom of this post - See UPDATE at bottom of post.  I spent most of the night in the Emergency Room.  

Here's how it went down...

Mom and her boyfriend, David invited me over for dinner at David's house. As we were finishing dinner on the back porch, we had a little visitor show up. And I'm glad the little guy waited until we finished our meal since we were all hungry. :)

Mom saw him first and screamed at the top of her lungs, AHHHHH...A SNAKE JUST FELL FROM THE CEILING!!!

Yes, the ceiling.  I later found out that it actually fell from the top of a door frame.  Still weird.

As mom was pulling her legs up into her chair and everyone else was backing away, I saw, what looked like to me, a baby rattlesnake (about a foot long) slithering towards Mom's chair.

snake bite

I had no other choice but to grab the snake and get it away from Mom and everyone else, so I grabbed him by the tail. The snake quickly turned and struck me on my left index finger. It hurt and bled just a little with obvious fang marks. Just a little boo-boo.

I figured since he already bit me and thinking it was a rattlesnake, I'll be going to the ER regardless, so I got him outside and away from everyone and didn't care if he bit me again.

I set him down on the deck. As I was snapping a pic from my iPhone, I heard people screaming at me, What the hell are you doing taking a picture, get your ass to the Emergency Room!

My response was simple, They will need to identify the snake in order to give me the proper anti-venom.

I disposed of the snake in the way everyone wanted me to without argument from me. No questions about that please, let's just leave that between me and the snake.

David's son Karl drove me in my truck 17 miles or so to the ER which began a long night of waiting to see if symptoms developed.

We did stop at an Urgent Care along the way, but they didn't have anti-venom and told us to keep going quickly to the ER. We complied.

The OBX Emergency Room folks were epic and attended to me immediately. The ER Doctor sent my picture off to the State of NC for identification and verification of procedures for whatever kind of snake it turned out to be in reality.

She came back into my room and said, Greg, you are the luckiest person on the Outer Banks tonight since you are not showing any symptoms yet. NC State identified the snake as a Timber Rattlesnake. And because it is a baby, they are potentially the most dangerous since babies have no control over how much venom they send out through their fangs when they strike. Adults have control and will send out less in defensive strikes than in strikes for prey. You should be showing symptoms, but you are not and we do not understand that. The procedure requires us to keep you for at least 6 hours after the strike and test your blood twice during the 6 hours. We will let you know how the blood test results turn out. In the mean time, please let us know if you feel anything. If you do not show symptoms we will not give you the anti-venom.

They took the blood tests and did an X-Ray of my hand. No pain. No symptoms. Both blood tests were perfect. No anti-venom. I was able to catch a cab back to my truck at David's house at 3:00 AM the next morning.

As I was leaving the ER, the doctors and nurses looked at me strangely. Apparently, I am immune to rattlesnake venom...or something.

And on top of all of that...

Last week, I had a small surfing injury to my calf. The hard rail edge of my surfboard slammed into my calf during a wipeout on a tiny wave. No biggie I thought. It hurt and swelled a bit, so I stayed off of it for a day.

I surfed again for a few days after that, but this past Saturday night, my entire leg hurt with swelling all the way down to my ankle. On Sunday it got worse. I googled the symptoms and DVT came up which could lead to a blood clot which to could lead to some bad stuff.

Monday it was even worse so I went to an Urgent Care. Tuesday an Ultrasound was performed on my leg to check for blood clots since I have vein issues in that leg from three previous injury/surgeries (two screws in my ankle from surfing and a new ACL from a Karate sparring injury). I guess they figured I popped one of those veins from the calf injury and the blood pooling in my ankle.

This morning I got the results back and I do not have a blood clot. Sure, the leg still hurts and the veins look all weird, but I'm good.

No blood clot. No rattlesnake venom, or whatever, symtoms. All is well in the world.

Sure, some will say, You're lucky Greg.

I am not a believer in luck. I am a believer in Destiny and I believe the events of this past week were supposed to happen. I was given a Gift...a Lesson. I am still processing what the lesson is exactly but I do Know this:

Our bodies have incredible abilities for healing. We simply can just drop into our hearts and feel the connection to all that Is and heal ourselves.

Or not.
I choose to Heal.

[UPDATE] I got an interesting call from the North Carolina Poison Control Center late the following day [July 28, 2017]. That was one of the labs the ER people sent some of my blood to for analysis. They said they could not find any rattlesnake venom in my blood, but my blood seemed weak to them which could be due to the aspirin I'm taking to thin my blood for the surfing injury to my calf. She did say that there was a different kind of snake venom in my blood and it was that of a baby rat snake. Interesting, since I had no idea non-poisonous snakes had venom...or do they?  I was left confused as she seemed to be.

She kept asking me if I had any swelling or pain or anything else and to please call them if any symptom manifests. Nothing ever did and I feel fantastic to this day.

This all seems to be a bit of a mystery. I have had three different people on top of two different NC Stage agencies all tell me different types of snakes they see in my picture.  I suppose the deciding factor is the venom...or whatever found in my blood by the NC Poison Control Center, (who by the way have never seen the picture), is not life-threatening.  

The person I talked with at the Poison Control Center asked me if I ever saw the snake.  I told her yes and I have a picture.  She asked me how I got the picture and I told her I took it after the snake bit me.  She just laughed.  

I think I'll just leave it there since all is well and a good ending to a wild and bizarre week.  All is well and this just makes for a good story to tell.