May 6, 2020

I survived a Deadly Viper bite – update

Viper bite

A viper similar to the one that bit me

Back in November 2015, I survived a deadly viper bite. A battle I miraculously won after spending 3 nights in intensive care, hanging onto life by a thin thread. The venomous snake took me by surprise, yes, me out of all people, was caught off-guard by this little marvelous creature. It was a little baby Saw scaled viper, the smallest I have seen so far, yet enough to have sent me to the other side. Read all about the details of how it happened in this blog.

In a nutshell, I survived without any damage. Despite the fact that I was totally convinced my arm, or at least my hand will be amputated, assuming I would first survive.

2 days later and my arm is getting back to normal

I am writing this blog today because, after years of thinking I made it without a scratch, I recently discovered otherwise. It all started when I was climbing the infamous mountain Ama Dablam in Nepal in November 2018, and my index finger got swollen. It got so big that I had to take off my glove as it could no longer fit in. I took the situation lightly, I thought I had hit it somehow. There were many things on my mind that day, the death of my partner was one of them, so I didn’t think of it much more.  After all, a swollen finger could be a trapped fart as far as I know.

Viper biteA few weeks later, I started to realize my finger sensation changes every time it is slightly cold. Especially whenever I am at the office typing on my keyboard with the AC on. The sensation was far from pain, but I wish it was. It was this annoying, a mix of itchiness and discomfort, to the point I can no longer type. I bought a snooker glove to keep it warm but to no avail. But again, I thought “this too shall pass”.

Nearly a year later, I went on investigating this recurrence. The first diagnosis I received makes this story a running joke: “imaginary illness”. Lovely! If this was the medieval age, the doctor would have probably requested my death.

I know it is not mainstream to have a patient who survived a snake attack & is now complaining of a finger discomfort. But to simply diagnose it post-trauma depression, is a bit too much.

That was not convincing, duh! So I went on to see another recommended doctor, who was super open and knowledgeable, who helped me understand many things about my trauma and body anatomy. But he in his turn referred me to another specialist who ordered me to get a CT scan. 

Small cyst in my right hand index

Small cyst in my right-hand index

Small cyst in my right hand index

Small cyst in my right-hand index

Boring details made short: the doctor sat me and told me:

“The CT scan shows no problems”, pointing with his index to the paragraph in the report that supports his words.

I was somehow overwhelmed but not convinced, and with a light heart I replied: “amazing”.

Viper bite

Had to raise my arm all the time

“Not so quick”, he said. He continued: “I ordered the CT scan cause I saw something in the x-ray I wasn’t sure of. Do you see this? It is a cyst you have inside of the bone. Close to the joint. I suspect the Snake’s teeth managed to get inside of the bone upon attack.”

The analytical side of me quickly asked: “and how can we get rid of it”.

“We can operate, open the bone, scrape out the cyst, and fill it with pieces of bones from other bones of your body. But I don’t recommend it. You will have very limited movement in the finger”.

Here I was, thinking I have made peace with this accident, for heaven’s sake I even accepted losing my hand or my arm when, and now I am about to burst into tears. But funnily enough, the first thing that comes to my mind is the ice-Climbing trip I am planning in a few months. Argh! “Might as well amputate the finger rather than keeping it for the aesthetics of it,” I said to myself. 

And my next question was: “is it cancerous?”. “We cannot be sure, for now, we will keep monitoring it for further development,” he continued.

Viper bite

Tiny viper teeth that nearly killed me

I left the clinic conflicted. Not because of this news, but between how I had peacefully accepted death on the ICU bed 4 years ago, and now I am feeling angry with having this little cyst! Maybe because for the past years I have lived without any aftermath, and celebrated my rebirth. Probably my ego is just bruised, who knows… all I know is I am tested again, new test in acceptance and patience.

What matters is I survived this ordeal 4 years ago. I walked the one-way death aisle but somehow I escaped it. So I am satisfied with the outcome, and I will not bitch about some really horrible itchiness in the finger. Afterall, it is a reminder of 3 nights I lived in patience and acceptance, staring in the face of death with great abundance and inner peace.

There are so many lessons and takeaways, and will expect more in the future. And as cliche as it sounds, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, this too shall pass”.


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