I was officially labeled "food" today. It was quite interesting. Apparently I tasted good--so good that the class pet did not want to give me up.
It was around 8AM, and my student and I entered the classroom to find a substitute teacher. He was kind of cute, so I decided to show off by taking out the class pet, Monty, a California King Snake. Now, I've done this dozens of times throughout the year, so I didn't think twice when I opened his cage. The only time I got that wonderful, "this was a bad idea" feeling was when he lunged for my knuckle.
This was certainly not the sort of attention I had aimed to receive, so I wasn't quite sure how to react. He coiled around my hand, as if to crush the mouse he thought I was.
>>Remain Calm<< My head told me, and, surprisingly I did. Even as he encompassed my wrist with his death-grasp, I stayed cool, calm, and collective. I tried to pull him off, but he didn't want to let go. The most I could do was unwrap him and hope he'd give up.
"Uhm, I need a little help over here." I said softly; no one heard me. Everyone was on the other side of the room talking about the day's agenda. "Guys?" I called again; eventually they caught on. I was so embarrassed I stared at the ground, but I wish I could have seen their reactions--half of them feared the snake. No, more than half. Most of them feared the snake. All but 2, and me, the lunch meat.
A few of them came over to me, my student included. She took charge of the situation like a pro. "Could you call the nurse?" She asked the sub, and started squishing the snake's head hoping he'd release me. I didn't want him to get hurt, though. He squeezed tighter, too, irritated by our plans to interfere with his breakfast. Eventually the nurse was called, and everyone stood around me thoughtless. I felt my legs start to wobble a little, but laughed when the sub told me how calm I was.
Honestly, I thought the snake was never going to let go. He was hungry, and he had his little snake brain set on a nice, big, "hand-mouse." I knew his teeth were in me, and I didn't know they'd be removed. I was afraid they'd have to kill the snake. Then I got the genius idea to run my hand under the sink. The nurse showed up on my way over.
"He's still attached??" She said alarmed. Great. Another ophidophobic person.
I ran my hand under the sink, careful to make sure the water wasn't hot. Then I debated on turning the water hot. Then I decided my idea was stupid.
A student who'd run to talk to the snake owner said to put my hand under water and pry him off with a knife. I was sure I'd lose my finger then, but it's good the class had plastic silverware.
I put my hand under the water, the nurse got tongs and a knife. It worked like a charm, but felt weird as his fangs left me. I threw a paper towel over my injury and watched the snake angrily slither around the counter. My student still had his tail, the nurse still had the knife, but no one wanted to touch him! Upon his release, he'd tried snapping at me, or so I was told. I was just glad to have my hand back to myself. I told the nurse to hold his head down with the knife and I'd grab him. She looked at me like I was crazy. "You're going to touch him again?" She said surprised. I shrugged. No one else was going to. It wasn't a big deal either.
I grabbed him and my student and I put him, tail end, back into his tank. I was quick to put the top on, too, and clamp it into place. It was over, or so I thought. The nurse made me go to some ER clinic for precautionary reasons. Not a big deal except I absolutely HATE missing work. I also am not too keen on city driving, but my GPS saved my life. (Though it did want me to get on the freeway; hell no!) I made it back eventually, with antibiotics and a sore arm. They gave me a tetnus shot, also precautionary.
It was funny; the secretaries teased me and said they'd never seen a snake bite before. I felt horrible, too, because some guy came in with a hole in his skull; they made me switch rooms because they needed to stitch him up. I passed him on the way out; he had a napkin to the left of his skull. I had 4 fangmarks and a little bacteria.
Got lost trying to find the supermarket to fill my prescription. Found my way back to work eventually, and treated myself to Tim Horton's just because I deserved it!
This entire incident has been portrayed in two different ways, which I find interesting. The kids say I was completely freaked, and that my legs were wobbling. I'd say that was an exaggeration. They shook a little, but they only knew about it because I said so. And there wasn't as much blood and drama as they claimed. It was pretty hush hush, IMHO.
The other story describes me as a hero--they say I was so calm and cool with it--when they themselves would have screamed and flung it against the wall. I've been trying to cover for Monty's digression. Truth is, I feel bad for him. I think he's being evicted from his home because of this whole situation. They say they have to get rid of him, because he is a liability. I understand the point, but it's sad when "no pets [are] allowed."
Today is now Thursday and I have a check-in back over at the clinic. Feels like such a waste. Waste of gas, waste of time, waste of money. I'm fine. My finger is still attached, I haven't turned into a snake (though my colleagues now refer to me as Medusa). Maybe I should call and cancel? I don't know. I just know
I volunteered to help clean Monty's cage, and, of course, by "clean" I mean hold him for an hour and watch. It seems stupid, but I'm hoping that by showing that I am not afraid and that his little tirade was just an accident, people will get over the whole incident. They seem to think he is a rabid animal that needs to be put to sleep, when really he was just hungry.
I hate that they are taking away the class pet, and I hate that it is basically my fault. That's all I have to say.