Saturday, May 19, 2012


“What?” I asked in disbelief.
“Your father was bitten by a snake” repeated clearly by my mother.
“Where?” I asked again.
“At your tita Cora’s place” she replied. She was about to say something when I butted in, and said,
“What?!!I mean where, as in, which part of the body?!!!!!”

The uncertainty of this situation is so incredulous. And although, I have dealt with snakebite cases during my years in training, I was totally unprepared for this freaking moment. I always felt that snakebite belongs to national geographic or discovery channel featured documentary...

What happens when a person gets snakebite?

Pain and swelling occur at site within minutes. As the venom moves towards the heart, swelling and bluish discoloration progresses also. In severe cases, blistering then necrosis or death of the affected area occurs. (Can you imagine if the patient were bitten on the neck?)
The patient may have nausea, vomiting, clammy skin, weakness, tingling sensation, repetitive tiny muscle movements and paralysis of the muscles of breathing.The patient would stop breathing. Bleeding often occurs. Rarely, patients may present in shock with generalized edema or heartbeat problems.

What is the treatment?
Anti Venom specific for the kind of snake, tetanus shots and supportive medical treatment like oxygen inhalation, amputation of the extremity, blood transfusion and other stuffs (whatever it takes!)

What happened to my father?
He was immediately brought to Premiere Medical Center. But because anti venom was not available there, they were sent to the provincial hospital ELJoson hospital where they learned that there was no available anti venom also. They were sent again to yet another hospital DrPJGMedical Center.

At the emergency room, they have learned that there too, NO anti venom was available. My father was observed in the hospital for one hour then was sent home.(Talk about wild goose chase.)

They called me up after their trip to the third hospital. I soon learned that despite their trips to these hospitals, he was not yet given tetanus shots.

Aside from the sting on the site of the bite on his foot, my father feels fine. I had him admitted for observation and blood works. (BTW, He’s pretty terrified of doctors and injections.)

His doctor called me up...he had INSECT BITE not a phone has been ringing like crazy, my mother’s phone has been also been ringing like crazy. My brother and sisters, aunt and uncle have been calling up about father’s snakebite to insect bite.

(The fact that he has driven himself to the four hospitals without any difficulty shows he’s actually okay. ) I’ll bet, my father thinks, I pulled a fast one on him...I had him admitted for work up unrelated to the


What do the kids think when their grandfather had a snakebite?
Actually, they asked me a couple of questions and voiced a few opinions about this.
1. Will he start biting anyone he sees? (or rephrasing it would be...will he bite us when he sees us?)
2. Will Papa become rabid?

3. Will he think like a snake?
4. Will he starts to slither then hiss? Or will he hiss before he slithers?
5. I'd like to see when papa's tongue gets forked!
6. Papa will have fangs too. ( lots of giggles) 

“But anak, papa has dentures...”I said.
”Then he would have to change his dentures when his fangs grow.” they replied bubbly.

Anak, would we love our papa less if those things happened to him?

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