Last Tuesday, my brother, who owns a pool maintenance company, stopped at a house north of town in the desert to work on a customer’s pool. It was post-lunch, and he’d been working since 5 AM. He’d gone home midday for food and a 100º+ temperature break, and when he returned to his schedule, he wore his flipflops not his close-toed shoes. At his first stop,
and with no rattle,
Fangs embedded into the top of my brother’s foot –
My brother was bitten by a rattlesnake!
He looked down and saw the 5-foot rattler @ his feet. My brother immediately drove himself 20-minutes to the closest ER; leaving his work truck parked and idling in the ER’s entrance drive as he admitted himself into the hospital.
After an examination, the doctor determined the snake had bitten my brother on the top of his foot –
His foot swelled beyond recognition and turned a greenish-blue. The pain in his foot and leg was excruciating. The venom, the poison, pushed its way through his veins; radiating pain from the puncture wounds and causing him to scream out in pain.
Admitted to the ICU for three days, he received six vials of antivenom (at $2400/vial.) His bill at discharge, $200K. gasp! He still can’t put weight on his foot, so he uses crutches, and he’s unable to work for at least two weeks.
A costly lesson to remind us that we’re guests in the desert where we’re awestruck by the desert’s beauty – its play with the sunlight and its rare and impressive terrain, but at times, oblivious to its torturous conditions and its acclimated inhabitants.
The desert demands respect for its uniqueness, and unfortunately, sometimes, we discover firsthand an appreciation of its dangers. Warnings may or may not happen. The sun doesn’t tell us that it’s taking our water, the cactus doesn’t ask us to keep our hands off and a snake may or may not rattle before it strikes.
Through witnessing my brother’s recovery, I’ve been bitten by the harsh reality:
We can’t let down our guard when infringing on this rugged territory.
Respect the earth. Respect others. Respect the desert. And unlike most good guests, never take your shoes off when entering.
“Be Our Guest”