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Readers bite after run-in with snake hits paper
In the aftermath of the snake attack, thanks for the calls, e-mails and concerns

Date published: 9/4/2009

By Cathy Dyson

IWANT TO THANK all of you for your thoughts, well-wishes and concerns for my daughter after her battle with a copperhead.

It's unreal how many calls, e-mails and comments I've gotten since I shared my family's story of when nature attacks.

My daughter, Diana, 27, was in the driveway of her home in Madison County when the poisonous snake lunged out and bit her on the heel. Her fiance, AJ, killed it and put it in a Glad storage container, which Diana took with her to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

More than three weeks after the bite, Diana still has pain in the joints of the affected leg. Her family doctor told her, in a follow-up visit a week after the bite, that she could be hurting for up to a year.

All the dizziness and lightheadedness she was feeling was probably caused by the antivenin, the doctor said. That's some nasty stuff, too.

So, as you can imagine, Diana is pretty bummed out by the whole ordeal. She hasn't gotten any bills or information from her insurance company about how much she'll have to pay.

The element of the story that many of you keyed in on was the outrageous price of the antivenin to treat the bite. The doctor warned us it was rather expensive, and when we asked how much, said, "Oh, about $10,000."

My favorite comment came from a man who said the cost of treatment--for a common snake found in anyone's backyard--was nothing short of "legal extortion."

"That would be a crazy price even if was a rare snake from Africa or Asia," he wrote in an e-mail.

I can't say that I've enjoyed the snake pictures that folks have sent me, but I do appreciate the effort.

The one of the 10-foot rattlesnake killed in Texas was the stuff of nightmares. I took one glimpse at it, closed the file and haven't opened it since.

Closer to home, a Fredericksburg-area man sent images of a parent and child copperhead with heads that were much flatter than normal. They met up with a shovel as they slithered in a garden--right next to the man's wife, who was picking tomatoes.

One of my favorites came from a woman whose "beautiful little Bichon, Gordon," was bitten as the two took their nightly walk.

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