A Snake Bite

Well I know it has been quite a while since we've updated you on our travels! We have temporarily relocated back to the US for a month-long R&R. Because of that, this blog may be a little neglected, as we are catching up with friends and family and traveling a bit. But never fear, we will return. In fact, I wanted to leave you with a quick story about our friend who was bitten by a snake about a week before we left. And yes, it was poisonous and it was my first snake bite patient. Yikes!

He called me for advice after seeing a doctor. I couldn't give him much, since I'd never cared for someone with a snake bite before. You can tell a bit in the photo that his left arm is starting to swell. When I saw him, it was literally twice that size, which (I must admit) freaked me out a little bit. He ended up going to the hospital on my advice and staying a week. 

After a few days, his arm turned rich colors of yellow and purple - bruising from broken blood vessels, ruptured by the snake venom. The doctors monitored him in the hospital, gave him unidentified medications (at least the nurses couldn't identify the medicine they were giving him!) and sent him home after a week (which yes, is a really long time to be in the hospital!). One concern with snake bites is that kidney damage can happen several days after the bite, after the body processes the poison and sends it to the kidneys for disposal via the urine. 

Cambodia is always teaching me about new things. I've been telling a lot of stories to all my nursing/medical friends while I've been back, and I've been reminded again of how crazy life is there. But, although I struggle with feeling inadequate sometimes (snake bite?!? what to do?!?), I'm so thankful for the chance to learn and hopefully help people however I can! 

Oh, and I must say on a side note, one more thing I learned about snake bites from a physician I spoke with about this problem was that a tourniquet is not recommended for a snake bite. So yeah, all those Western movies where the grizzly cowboy ties his own tourniquet and sucks the poison out of the bite? Totally not what you are supposed to do. Just so you know, next time you run into a poisonous snake.