Along the Natchez Trace

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Third Finger, Left Hand

What the heck is THIS all about?

There was a song (by Martha & the Vandellas) popular in 1967 with that name....  I don't remember it at all... probably too busy raising kids at the time.

There was a movie, in fact a classic movie, by that name out in 1940, starring Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas.  Don't remember that one either...  wasn't born yet...

So...  Why the picture of my hand with a wedding ring?

In July of 1991, the hospital where I worked was on strike.  I was the payroll person there, so while I was salaried, I really wasn't "management" as such...  so I was working.

It was a Tuesday...  we paid on Friday...  and I had just got the payroll updated, ready to pull checks the next day.  Bill and I had a small organic farm where we grew veggies for the local farmer's market.  I left work as usual, went home...  and as always happens on a farm... things needed done.  Tonight the strawberries needed picked.

We had put a netting over the strawberry patch to keep the birds out of the ripe berries.  I rolled back the net, got down on my knees and proceded to pick berries.  I don't remember exactly how far along the row I got but I know I was bracing myself with my left hand while moving along.  Suddenly I had the most excrutiating pain in my hand...  it felt like someone had taken a pair of those funny shaped pliers and had the web between my ring and pinky fingers in their grasp and was squeezing with all their might.

I lifted up my hand...  and...  a very angry copperhead snake was hanging on, no doubt injecting venom for all he was worth.  I shook him loose and started screaming for Bill. We lived about 7 miles from the hospital but I doubt if it took Bill long to get us there.

We went zooming through the picket line....  but since I knew most of those employees, when they saw the terror on my face, they didn't say a word.

Now...  a lot of the nursing staff were out on strike...  this meant that a lot of management was working the ER.  I don't remember what doctor was on duty, but I seem to remember a few phone calls to that center for poison control down in Atlanta. 

One thing I'll NEVER forget...  I asked (jokingly...  yeah... right)... "I'm not going to die, am I?".  Lil, one of the management's best (?)...  hesitated...  (way too long)...  and said...  "I don't think so).   (Shall we discuss "bedside manner" here?)

The "treatment" was interesting...  they put my hand in a pan of saline solution.  Every so many minutes they'd use a ball point pen and mark the line of swelling on my arm... and the time.  I guess they were seeing how quickly the poison was going up my arm...  and to my heart!  Yikes! 

I did not get the anti-venon serum...  but I was given something for pain and I suppose an antibiotic.  I was admitted...  and within a short time looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.  In fact, the lab girls couldn't find a vein for an IV and they had to use my ankle. 

As it happened, I was allergic to whatever pain stuff they gave me and the reaction to that was so bad I wasn't released for 3 days.  AND...  Bill had to bring me loose sweats to wear home because nothing I had would fit.  It took me over 2 weeks to finally get rid of the water retention.

That was in 1991.  For years the nerve damage in my pinky and ring finger of my left hand created problems.  Even slightly cold weather would cause my hand to feel like it was frozen.  I had some problems with dexterity.  And.... I couldn't wear rings.  Just the slightest pressure was too much.

Every now and then I'd try on my wedding ring....  and put it back away.  This went on for... let's see.... almost 21 years.

Bill and I celeberated our 30th anniversary in January.  Out came the ring...  hmmmm...  I'll be darned... 

I'm healed!!!!

That's All for Today...


  1. Oww, don't like snakes. Good that you can wear your ring again.

  2. What an amazing story. Glad you made it our alive!!! And glad you got your ring back on ♥

  3. Sharon I think that is a great story. I am glad the outcome was positive...all is well that ends well!

    Just BS!(Bob and Sue)

  4. That was riveting, seriously. I haven't heard talk of copperheads since I was a little girl in Ohio. Wow, how scary, and to have MANAGEMENT off all people attending to your care.

    Glad to hear of your spontaneous 21 year recovery!

    The Good Luck Duck