09 March 2014

The Snake Story

During the summer after my first year of college I worked in the Emergency Room.  If I were trying to have a controversial, socially relevant, or In any way serious blog this would be a post about how it is possible to get a degree without student loans.  Instead my goal is to have a largely frivolous blog.  For the purposes of this post the point of bringing up the job is that strange things happen in the Emergency Room.

My job was not medically related at all.  I was the annoying person who insisted on seeing insurance information and identification.  It was also my job to ask parents to sign a mountain of paperwork before their child's broken arm could be set.  However, the ER staff was aware that I was also completing my EMT training, and they were very supportive.  I was occasionally invited back from the registration desk to see what was going on.  If there was anything particularly interesting happening I usually got to be a part of it.  The doctors and nurses were always happy to answer any of my questions.  I learned a lot.  Unfortunately, the most exciting stuff always seemed to happen on my day off.

The best Emergency Room story I have is one that I did not participate in at all.  A member of my EMT class was part of the crew that brought the woman in, and she was treated at the hospital where I worked.  I heard multiple times about all the excitement that I missed.  I am fully aware that it is entirely possible that most of the story is exaggerated or fabricated, but it is such a great story that I have decided to retell it here.

A woman (whose name I never knew.  Confidentiality laws and all that...) had a very large pet snake.  When she opened the cage to feed it, the snake grabbed both the food being offered and the woman's hand.  I dislike snakes and know very little about them.  I do know two things: a snake's teeth are angled toward the back of the mouth, and snakes apparently have no gag reflex.  These two things meant that this woman's hand was very stuck inside her pet.  The more she tried to pull her hand out, the further the teeth dug into her.  She used her free hand to call 911.

Somewhere between the end of the emergency call, but before the ambulance arrived, she thought that it would be a good idea to put her free hand into the snake's cage to try to pull her first hand out.  By the time paramedics arrived both hands were stuck inside the snake.  The first responder to arrive looked at her, swore, and said "I don't do snakes."  Then he walked out.  Fortunately for the woman, he was part of a larger group; some of whom were willing to deal with snakes.

I have no idea what exactly they did.  I do know that she was very concerned that they might hurt the snake that was eating her.  I also know that by the time she arrived in the emergency room her hands were no longer inside a snake.

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