PEMBROKE PINES (CBS4) – Darlene Cyr-Cutrone walked outside Friday afternoon to clean up after her two boys — ages 14 and 11 — finished playing.
As she picked up a chair laying in the grass, she felt a pinch on her left hand.
“I pulled my hand back and I jumped back and I looked in the grass and I saw something slither away,” she said.
Cyr-Cutrone said the pain wasn’t too bad and she called her husband to tell him what happened. That’s when the symptoms started.
“My vision started going,” she told CBS 4′s Carey Codd. “I start getting really bad headaches, (My hand) blew up, puss was coming out. Blood started draining and I thought, ‘Oh, this can’t be good.’”
Her husband called 911 and within minutes, Cyr-Cutrone was being treated by more than a dozen people at Memorial Hospital Miramar. The Anti-Venom Unit from the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue was on hand with vials of anti-venom.
They determined she was likely bitten by a potentially deadly water moccasin.
As the snake’s venom began making it’s way up her arm, Cyr-Cutrone’s blood pressure started dropping. Doctors told her to focus on one thought to calm down.
The thought came to her quickly — “Thank God it wasn’t my boys,” she said.
The anti-venom unit gave her 12 vials of anti-venom. She began to stabilize. She hopes the anti-venom cures her but she’s worried about a reaction from the stuff. She also showed us where the venom from the bite is eating away at the skin on her hand. She also fears permanent problems from the bite, like nerve damage.
She has other health problems, too. Cyr-Cutrone’s battling cancer.
She said taking care of her children gets her through each day.
“It keeps my mind off myself and my problems, my worries,” she said.
Cyr-Cutrone will require medical attention over the coming days and says she’ll be more careful of where she and her boys walk and play.
“I thought something like this could happen on a camping trip or something, not in your own backyard,” she said.
Officers with the Miami-Dade Anti-Venom unit say this is snake bite season, which runs from April to October.
They also said the drought may be causing snakes to move because canals are drying up.
Officers also recommend keeping your lawn mowed, which make a yard less attractive to snakes by giving them fewer places to hide. Cyr-Cutrone’s husband said the grass in their backyard was about 10 inches high when his wife was bit.
“We are in a tropical environment,” said Lt. Scott Mullins of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Anti-Venom Unit. “We have venomous snakes that live around us. We need to be aware of our environment when we’re out.”