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Brave Teen Remembers Training, Saves Her Own Life After Being Bit by Rattlesnake

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In her 1955 short story “The Life You Save May Be Your Own,” southern gothic author Flannery O’Connor told a tale about an unscrupulous conman who tries to help a young runaway and ironically ignores the advice he himself gives. One brave Colorado teen, though, took her own counsel to heart, and it ended up saving her life.

This June, Kendal Vandenhoek of Monument, Colorado, was simply standing outside of her home when it happened. She felt something on her ankle and looked down to see what everyone in the American West fears: a rattlesnake.



“I felt sort of a prick inside my ankle,” she explained to CBS Denver. “I turn back, there’s a snake there.

“I just scared him. He scared me.”

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The pain was so brief that Kendal didn’t know for sure if the serpent had bitten her. Still, she knew what to do in case of a snake bite and decided to follow her training to the letter.

“I just felt like I stepped on a thumbtack at first,” she told Inside Edition. “The only sensation I felt was an achy feeling or a tingling numbness all the way up to my knee.”

All the same, she stayed calm and applied pressure to her ankle. Those are exactly the steps professionals recommend to slow the spreading of venom.

The Mayo Clinic also recommends removing any jewelry or constricting clothing so that the don’t cause problems if a limb begins to swell. However, keeping one’s equilibrium matters the most since a racing heartbeat can swiftly spread life-threatening venom throughout the body.



In turned out that the rattler had indeed struck Kendal. It left one of its fangs in her shoe, but the other had found its way into the flesh of her ankle.

Doctors ended up administering 10 vials of antivenom to the teen and said her cool under pressure probably saved her life. Despite the rattlesnake’s deadliness, though, it’s worth remembering that they aren’t our enemies.

“[They] do a great job with rodent control and with two big diseases: [bubonic] plague and hantavirus,” said Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald of Alameda East Veterinary Hospital said. “We can interact with wildlife, and I think we have to do it in a safe manner.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Education
Wheaton College
Location
Florida
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel




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