A Miramar man kept hearing a rattling noise coming from his AC unit. So he went outside to investigate the issue and ran into a bit of a problem.
And by "problem," we mean he accidentally stepped on one of the world's deadliest serpents.
And by "a bit," we mean the snake bit his foot.
Robert Hughson says he walked out his door in his sandals and suddenly felt the most horrifying burning sensation in his leg. When he looked down, he saw "a snake chewing on my foot."
The snake bit down on Hughson's ankle.
Most snakes will bite and flee, but the coral snake is kind of an asshole in that it'll bite down and latch on.
Hughson says he shook the snake off, sending it flying into the grass, which is probably better than running in circles and yelling, "GAHH!! A SNAKE!! GET IT OFF ME! GET IT OFF MEE!!" which is totally what we would've done in that situation.
Thankfully, the 53-year-old Hughson is a former paramedic, so he knew how to handle a small thing like having deadly venom pumped through his veins and into the bloodstream.
Hughson says he recognized the snake, diagnosed the pain, and knew immediately what had to be done. He called 911.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue's Venom Response Bureau, which is an actual thing, sent its helicopter and brought five vials of antivenin within 15 minutes of receiving the call.
The VRB don't mess around.
But the worst was yet to come for Hughson.
At the hospital, the pain in his leg only got more excruciating. Hughson's foot began to get numb, and his tongue began to swell. The doctors also determined that five vials of antivenin weren't enough. So they sent the helicopter for a quick antivenin run for another five vials.
Hughson recovered, but he says that his tongue still feels "heavy" and that the pain in his foot and leg is still pretty bad.
"There is a tremendous amount of pain in these bites," said Heidi Cohen, a Memorial Regional emergency room physician who has treated several coral snake bite victims. "These animals are extremely dangerous and toxic. Avoid them."
Thanks for the tip, Heidi.
Says Hughson: "Be careful. These snakes are everywhere. I will never go in my backyard again. And I am getting rid of all my flip-flops."
Think about that the next time you're too cheap to fork over an extra 20 bucks to get sneakers instead of those $5 flip-flops.
It's a small price to pay compared to getting a potent neurotoxin that delivers an excruciating fiery pain that also swells your tongue and paralyzes your breathing muscles.
But hey, it's your money.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!