OLD TIMER TANGLES
WITH A RATTLE SNAKE
By Norris Chambers
By Norris Chambers
We had been warned constantly to watch for snakes. We
did watch for them and if I had seen the one that bit me, I would not
have got close enough to get bit. I was five or six years old and one
Without hesitation I started running toward the house.
By the time my dad got there my foot had already started swelling and was turning real red. He got a pan of water and poured chlorine in it, saturated a rag, and placed it over the swelling. That was standard treatment for snake bites in those days. That was before they started cutting the wound open and getting as much blood out as possible. The tourniquet was released and retightened periodically.
I remember hearing my dad say: ďIf he makes it through the night he will live.Ē I donít remember much about that first night, but all night long the antiseptic pads were placed on my leg as the swelling and discoloration advanced toward my hip. I still remember the ugly shade of yellow, green and blue of my leg and the grotesque swelling that accompanied it from my foot to my hip. But I made it though the night and survived! The chlorine pads continued for several days. Even now, if I smell chlorine, I remember those long and painful days on the cot.
I found out later that I lay there about two weeks. I remember
the first day I was allowed to get up and go outside. The first thing I
did was run to the barn and climb up on the roof.
The barn roof was a regular hang-out for
So when we saw a bird nest on the other side of the ditch that might be protected by snakes, I was the one that should take the risk because I had been snake bit! I never found out if I were immune because I was never bitten again. And on the other hand I could have just been lucky.
For many years I have looked back on this ordeal and wondered if there was any way that I could find something of a ďfun natureĒ in it. So far I have failed and have not been able to say that any part of it was fun.
The next day after I was bitten, my brother killed a rattle snake in the vicinity of the old planter and the high grass. Iíll never know if it was the one that bit me. I hope it was.
If this story has a moral it is to just be careful and donít step where you canít see, and if you see a snake, donít step on it or near it! There is just no way to find FUN in a snake bite!