by Pa Rock
The local news media reported that four people in the Phoenix area were bitten by rattlesnakes last weekend. One was a child who didn't know enough to back away. Another was a fellow who stepped off of his porch and was bitten on the heel by a rattler who was snoozing in the shade and awoke just as he was about to be stepped on. A local hospital reported that one man was bitten on the hand after he tried to pet a rattlesnake. It was discovered, to the surprise of no one, that he had been drinking prior to the incident. (Doctors at that same hospital stated that they had previously encountered people who were bitten as they had tried to kiss a rattlesnake. I wonder what drugs they were taking?)
Local doctors gave the press some pointers about snake bites to share with the public. They said not to use a tourniquet to impede the blood flow, not to cut into the bite and try to suction out the poison, and definitely not to catch the snake and bring it to the hospital. Treating the snake bite does not require the presence of the snake.
Some of my co-workers feel that snakes pose no serious threat to those of us residing within the city limits, but I know better. It's all desert. It's their home, and we are the intruders. This week I saw a roadrunner speed across the intersection of Litchfield and McDowell - a very busy place. (The roadrunner made it safely across the intersection, but the coyote who was chasing him was hit by five cars, a fat kid on a skateboard, and an anvil falling from the sky!) I know for certain that the scorpions don't turn around at the city limits sign, and I'm doubtful that the rattlers do either.
I think that being stung by a scorpion (3 times!) has hardened me as a desert dweller. That hurt more than anything I have ever encountered in life - and I lived to tell the tale. The guy who survives a scorpion probably has little to fear from a rattler. If some of those bad boys slither over my way, I may just wind up with a new pair of boots!