Once Bitten

Pat Moss got bitten by a snake. So?

WaIt's not so unusual to be bitten by a snake in Arizona. But it's at least a little out of the ordinary to keep an Internet journal of your snakebite travails, especially when you refuse traditional treatment and attempt to cure yourself with prunes and meat tenderizer. Which is precisely what Yarnell resident Pat Moss did after a baby rattler glommed onto his foot last fall. After being mostly ignored during a nine-hour visit to the ER, Moss set out to heal himself, using holistic remedies and a bucket of ice. He's since published a detailed Internet journal (www. patmoss.com/snakebite/) of his successful prunes-and-ice treatment, which he hopes will inspire others to question Western medicine. And speaking of inspiration, the $1,800 bill Moss received from the ER docs has inspired him to file a complaint with the Arizona Medical Board. Who says you can't bite back?

New Times: So you have this Web site devoted entirely to what happened to you after you got bit by a snake.

Pat Moss: Yeah. Yes, I, uh, yes I do. I just wrote down everything that came into my mind every day after it happened.

Take two prunes and call me in the morning: Pat Moss survived snakebite.
Emily Piraino
Take two prunes and call me in the morning: Pat Moss survived snakebite.

NT: Do people want to read about this?

Moss: About what?

NT: What happened to you.

Moss: Oh. Well, I had just gotten back from church, and I was going to bring some religious books over to my preacher. I went outside to warm up the car, and I was barefoot. I took about three steps outside, and I felt this sting in the arch of my left foot. He was just a little baby, a little rattlesnake about this long.

NT: Yes. But why do a journal about it on the Internet?

Moss: I don't know why. I guess I thought some people might be curious. I wanted to share about the different remedies and herbs that helped me, in case someone else gets bit by a rattlesnake. It started out as an e-mail I sent to some friends, but after I had about 15 entries, I put it [on the Web site]. Now I'm hoping my life can move on from here.

NT: If I'd been bitten by a snake, I'd have taken a shovel and bashed its head in.

Moss: No. I've gotten into some Eastern philosophies over the years, and I know that whatever goes around, comes around. I think it's bad luck to smash snakes. And no matter how many snakes I kill, there's still going to be snakes. I can't kill them all.

NT: Did you think you might die from the snakebite?

Moss: I'd heard over the years that rattlesnakes were really poisonous, but I wasn't that worried. I went back outside and flipped the snake inside a trash container and took it and showed it to the preacher, and then I visited my friend, Anthony, and he sucked out the venom from my foot.

NT: You mean, he sucked the venom out and spit it onto the ground?

Moss: I guess you could do it with your mouth, but he had a snakebite kit. The kit has pretty good suction, with this thing that's like a hypodermic needle.

NT: Okay, I just have to say this: You got bit by a rattlesnake! Why didn't you go to the hospital?

Moss: Well, there's no hospital in Yarnell. There's one an hour away in Prescott, but I'd been stung by about a half-dozen scorpions before, when I was a kid, and so I wasn't that worried. So I went over to my friend's house, and he gave me an ice bath, which is what my mom used to do when I got bit by a scorpion when I was a kid. I had a lot of faith in that ice bath doing the trick.

NT: So you used ice water as a remedy for snakebite.

Moss: Well, and echinacea and some other detoxifying herbs. I couldn't keep them down, though; I was vomiting from the venom. But I guess by then the preacher had called 911, and some nurses sent an ambulance, and they came barging in and said, "We're taking you to the emergency room!"

NT: You were shanghaied to the hospital by some church people!

Moss: I said, "I don't want to go to the hospital." Because even though I could feel the venom moving up inside my body, I didn't think the hospital would have anything to control the rate at which the venom was coming up through my body.

NT: Okay.

Moss: Well, I've only ever heard of [hospitals] having antivenin, but not anything to control and flush out the venom as it moves through your body. I don't go to doctors. I don't have a lot of faith in the medical profession. Doctors are very ignorant and arrogant. One of the nurses told me, "You're right. Doctors don't have any training in snakebites. We don't get many people up here with snakebites." I think I might have died if I'd gone right to the hospital, because they don't have anything to control the amount of venom that might have gone up into my heart and lungs in the first six hours.

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