Also, Portland demonstrates that Tanya Harding was not our only idiot cracker:
which might only work for 14 days, as the s.o.b.'s think we should have to pay for anything older than 14 days.
Article excerpted without permission because the paid-archive policy is onerous and obnoxious, and also trying to sign up for the paid-archive doesn't work half the time.
Way to go Oregonian. Anyway if you do read this, please go to their site and read an advertisement, so your internet karma stays clean.
Snake stunt leaves guy a bit tongue-tied
Oops - Why would a man put a rattler in his mouth? Might've been the beer, he says
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
MICHAEL ROLLINS and NOELLE CROMBIE
The Oregonian Staff
In early August, snake collector Matt Wilkinson of Southeast Portland grabbed a 20-inch rattler off the highway near Maupin.
Three weeks afterward, in a show of daring for an ex-girlfriend, Wilkinson stuck the snake in his mouth.
A short time later, he was near death with a tongue swollen to the point it blocked his throat when emergency room and trauma surgeons at OHSU Hospital saved his life.
The 23-year-old became a celebrity of sorts Tuesday when broadcast and cable news all over the country learned about his story. On the phone, still out of sorts with sore muscles and nerves from the venom, he sounded circumspect.
"You can assume alcohol was involved," he said. Actually, not just beer. Something he chose to describe as a "mixture of stupid stuff."
Friends were over for a barbecue. A pit was being readied for a backyard bonfire. He himself had downed a six-pack. An ex-girlfriend asked him for a beer. He handed her one, not realizing said snake was also in his hand.
"She said 'Get that thing out of my face,' " Wilkinson said. "I told her it was a nice snake. 'Nothing can happen. Watch.' "
So he stuck the snake in his mouth.
"It got ahold of my tongue." Wilkinson knew he had been bitten. In pain and finding it hard to breathe, he quickly arranged to be driven to the hospital, his ex-girlfriend behind the wheel.
Why her? "She was the only one sober," Wilkinson said.
They made it about two blocks from his home near Southeast 82nd and Woodstock and Wilkinson knew they were in big trouble. They spotted a cop and stopped to ask for help. That's the last thing he remembers before waking up at OHSU Hospital.
At OHSU, trauma surgeon Dr. Richard Mullins was in the cafeteria when his beeper went off. The message was to get to the emergency room right away. Physicians there were unable to get a breathing tube down Wilkinson's throat.
What Mullins saw was an engorged tongue sticking out Wilkinson's mouth. Snake venom thins the blood and Wilkinson was also bleeding quite noticeably from the bite wounds.
"Ninety-nine percent of the time" emergency room physicians can handle such a case, Mullins said. Not this time, which is why he was paged.
He quickly cut a hole in Wilkinson's neck to insert the breathing tube. Physicians under consultation from Dr. Zane Horowitz of the OHSU Poison Control Center then started giving Wilkinson an anti-venom.
They moved Wilkinson to the intensive care unit, where he was kept heavily sedated until the swelling went down. "Then we let him wake up," Mullins said.
Horowitz said Wilkinson is one of about 50 people a year seen by the Poison Control Center who've been bitten by rattlers or other poisonous snakes. Most of them were hit on the legs while hiking in eastern Oregon. Others get zapped while reaching under a rock or working on their properties.
Very few have been bitten on the tongue.
Wilkinson, who works in construction, has been unable to return to work. His muscles and nerves are out of whack from the venom, and possibly lack of oxygen. He's getting a CT scan Friday.
Friends at work that he's spoken with are pretty blunt.
"They were like, 'what the heck were you thinking?' " Wilkinson said. The answer?
"It's my own stupidity."
Michael Rollins 503-221-8388; firstname.lastname@example.org; Noelle Crombie 503-276-7184; email@example.com