One minute we were floating leisurely down the river and the next we were paddling like crazy to take get our boy to the ER. The kids were sliding down a muddy bank into the water. Our friend called out that Sam had been bitten by a snake. We think now, he kicked the snake as he tried to climb the bank and it retaliated.
There was initial confusion about whether it was a poisonous snake. One of our friends killed the snake with an oar and we put it in a plastic bag. We asked several people on the river to identify it and they all said it was a Copperhead — definitely venomous. Our cell phones were out of range and there was no civilization for a couple of miles. Meanwhile, we were paddling a big raft moving at a snail’s pace. We decided to put the other kids in our friends’ rafts so we could paddle faster.
My friend, a nurse, had been told we had one hour to get him to a hospital. I was panicking because I knew we’d never make it in time (we didn’t). Fortunately, Sam felt fine the whole time. We switched from a raft to a canoe with some nice people and made much better time. A police officer in an SUV came and took us to a camp store. Shortly thereafter an ambulance arrived and took Sam and I to the hospital.
The short version of the story is he was in the hospital for 4.5 hours and received antivenom and is doing very well. His foot is too sore to walk on, however, and Mom is off the charts on the stress scale.