Dave Grissette’s ‘living proof’ that snakes are crawling

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 5, 2002

Features Editor

Dave Grissette is one lucky man and he knows it.

Odds are, when a person is bitten by a poisonous snake, he or she will live to tell about it. However, there will be some miserably sick days before the victim feels like uttering a word.

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But, Grissette is one of the very lucky ones. He was bitten by a poisonous snake and was in and out of the hospital in less than 48 hours. He’s feeling – not great – but fine and he’s able, and willing, to talk about his frightening experience.

All was well for Grissette Tuesday night when he went to the shed to get grain to feed the horses. When he reached inside to turn on the light he felt a sharp, stinging pain in his foot.

He knew he had been bitten, but by what?

He yelled for his wife, Shannon, to bring a flashlight. She came in a flash, hoping against hope, that it was a wasp that had bitten her husband.

"I think I knew all the time it was a snake," Mrs. Grissette said. "I shined the spotlight in the shed and saw the snake moving toward the back of the shed. I saw it was a pilot rattlesnake. I know the difference between a rattlesnake and a chicken or rat snake."

The snake coiled and Mrs. Grissette was afraid it was going to strike again.

"My son tried to get it with stick but it slithered away," she said. "I was telling Dave to get his shoe off so I could see the bite. "

When Grissette removed his shoe, the saw that only one fang had gone into is little toe."

Even though the bite was "only" in Grissette’s toe, his wife knew it could be very serious or even deadly. Time was crucial.

Grissette’s foot had started to swell and the pain was bad, but bearable.

"We live 17 miles from Enterprise and 17 miles from Troy," Mrs. Grissette said. "I pulled sweat pants over my pajamas and headed toward Troy."

"Headed" is not exactly the way Grissette described how his wife transported him "toward Troy." It was more like a ride on a runaway train, he said.

"I was scared about the bite, but I was more afraid of her driving," Grissette said, with a smile. "I didn’t want to die from a snake bite, but I didn’t want to die in a car wreck either."

Mrs. Grissette admitted she was in a near state of panic.

As the couple sped toward Troy on Highway 187, they got behind a slow-poking car. They immediately recognized the occupants as Grissette’s parents.

"I wasn’t going to

take the time to stop and tell them Dave had been bitten," Mrs. Grissette said. "Dave rolled down the window and motioned for them to follow us and we kept going."

So, did Grissette’s parents, who failed to recognize those "crazy acting people" in the car that passed them, and kept on going to Wal-Mart.

Within 30 minutes, Grissette was in the emergency room at Edge Regional Medical

Center where he was given the anit-venom for a rattlesnake, which his wife positively identified as such. He was put in the intensive care unit where he could be watch continually.

"Fortunately, the swelling stopped about four inches above Grissette’s ankle and he didn’t experience any nausea or severe pain. He was out of ICU and into a room and, around noon on Thursday, he was "slowly" on his way home.

The Grissettes know a snake bite is always serious and should be treated as such. They also know Dave Grissette was a lucky man.

"The snake bit Dave through his tennis shoe and that probably kept it from being such a deep puncture," Mrs. Grissette said.

But, a good thing about a bad thing was that Grissette

probably stepped on the snake as it was slithering along the ground.

"Because it wasn’t coiled it didn’t have a lot of force behind it," Grissette said. "It bit me instead of striking and biting me, so I didn’t get the full force of its venom. At least, that’s what we think. But, it was a scary thing to happen and I know from now on, I’ll be watching where I put my feet."

Grissette said this was a warning to him, and he hopes it will be to others, that snakes are crawling and they are an ever present danger, no matter where

one lives.

"You don’t want to take a chance with a snake," he said. "They are hard to see anywhere and you especially need to be careful when you are out at night. Don’t take any chances."