A Maryland woman who had a deep fear of being bitten by a snake woke up to her worst nightmare on May 30. When severe pain in her left hand roused her from slumber, Christie Kelly realized that a copperhead had crawled into her bed and bit her twice.
“I leapt out of my bed and turned on my light,” Christie told the Washington Post. “There was this huge snake in my bed.”
The bites were so bad, the venom had spread to Kelly’s shoulder and she needed immediate medical attention to prevent having her arm amputated, WJZ reported.
Kelly, 24, a yoga instructor. Her screams woke her parents, and her father disposed of the reptile while her mother rushed her to the hospital, WJZ reported.
“It was the most painful thing I’ve experienced,” Kelly told the Post.
Copperheads are common to the eastern and central United States. Ryan Butler, a wildlife ecologist, said copperheads are not normally aggressive toward people.
“They want to stay out of sight, out of mind,” he told the Post, “but they will strike if threatened or stepped on.”
Or, in Kelly’s case, rolled on.
By the time Kelly had the first of four anti-venom treatments, the swelling had spread to her shoulder, the Post reported. Her blood circulation had been impeded and she was suffering from compartment syndrome.
“When the hand surgeon met with me, he said, ‘We need to perform surgery now. If we wait any longer, we’re going to have to amputate.’”
Three surgeries later, Kelly is recovering nicely. But the six-month recuperation period will play havoc with her role as a yoga instructor.
“I have to walk on my hands for a living,” she told the Post.
And if she needs a reminder of the snakebite, Kelly can always look at her left arm.
The dozens of stitches there are in the shape of a snake.
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