Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Camping Trip Cut Short

We are newly returned from camping.  We decided to go up to Union Valley Reservoir in Eldorado National Forest.  We brought along our friend Joy and our black and tan coonhound Greta.

We camped at a lovely site right across from the lake with views of snow covered peaks.  We settled in and feasted on a camp meal of franks and beans.  Greta proved her camping prowess.  Although technically on a leash she basically ran free and stayed in our campsite.

The next morning we were all about the lake.  Mr. took off to fish and Joy, Greta and I warmed ourselves in the sun so we could endure the cold lake.  Greta finally understood that she could swim and took to it with gusto.  As the afternoon arrived unfortunately so did the clouds.  I suggested a drive up to Loon Lake as we heard it was pretty.  When we arrived after the 45 minute drive, we discovered the $7 entrance fee.  I didn't want to pay, but I was outvoted.  We stopped at a picnic area to get our bearings.  After sitting at the picnic table I decided I needed another layer.  While trying to modestly regarb Mr and Joy approached the car.

Greta had been bit by a rattlesnake lurking under the picnic table we were sitting at. Being fans of Venom ER we had some idea of the implications.  We gently and calmly hustled Greta into the car.  There were a ton of kids playing about so David ran over to warn folks.

Well apparently these folks knew all about rattlesnakes.  This guy went over and pinned the rattlesnake with an oar.  He picked it up and held it for another guy to cut the head off.  They handed the dead snake to us and offered us their snakebite kit.  We declined the kit as we have heard they are ineffective.

Then we were off like the proverbial bat outa hell.  The nearest thing that could be called a town was Pollock Pines and that was over an hour away.  Despite spotty cell reception we managed to locate a vet and inform them we were on the way.  All the way down the mountain, Greta's face began to swell and swell.  She started to resemble an uneven Rottweiller.  She never uttered a peep the whole drive (although I did with Mr.'s Mario Andretti maneovers) and remained upright and alert.

At the vet we were greeted with this display.  I'm thinking "I know I know".  The vet was kind but sort of circumspect and I was in full panic mode by now.  Eventually it became clear that "protocol" dictated $600 worth of antivenom, but the vet having experience in these matters felt he could treat Greta without it since she was still standing after an hour.

We pulled out our "dead" rattlesnake for ID and darned if the dang headless thing didn't move.

We opted for the non-venom treatment and after 2 hours and much medicine she was released.

She was dopey as hell and I think she might have been hallucinating.  She was looking at me like I had 2 heads and would not lie down even though she was wobbling like crazy.  She seemed utterly spooked and had her tail firmly tucked against her tummy.  We decided to let her recover at home so we re-packed the car full of stuff that Joy and I had tossed in willy nilly while David had waited at the vet and headed home.

I am happy to say she has made a full recovery.  I'm not so sure I have.  24 hours after the bite, we took out the snake to inspect,  and darned if it didn't wiggle it's headless body.