This is part of the conversation in the Sapna Ranch WhatsApp Group between 9:16 p.m. and 10.14 p.m. on Tuesday, December 17, 2019. All names are real, used with permission (thanks!). Except for some trimming, the text has not been edited.
[Reshma (Sri Lanka), 9:16 PM, 12/17/2019] Snake bite... What's the first aid pls help urgent...it's for me.
I saw the snake brown
[Shalini (Bengaluru)] Pls rush to a hospital .. there is no first aid .. let the doctor examine you ..
[Reshma] Ok doing that on the way
[Hasmukh (Sapna Ranch, Terdi Village, Sade, Maharashtra)] Are you able to judge of the snake is poisonous? Have you been able to catch the snake? Call Shalini right away. She is a member of this group and she lives in Bangalore. I'm assuming you are in Bangalore.
[Shalini] Stay calm and get to the nearest possible hospital quickly .. get some one to go with you
[Reshma] I am in Srilanka. ...brown thin snake
Donno if it's poisonous...
I know it's remote...
Didn't know what to do.. hence msged
[Hasmukh] Is its head bigger than its body?
[Shalini] Anti venom is the only solution.. only doctors can administer it based on the symptoms your body shows ..
[Nirav, (Mumbai)] Tie a tight tourniquet between the bite and heart avoid blood circulation
It bit me in my leg ankle
[Shalini] Anti venom needs to be administered based on your description of the snake bite ..
[Reshma] Putting a rubber band
[Nirav] Don't panic is anyone near you
[Reshma] Don't think so but not sure
[Nirav] No a dupatta tightly
[Shalini] Pls don't do that.. it can lead to non supply of blood causing gangrene and heavy tissue damage
[Reshma] Yes the hostel ppl r taking me to the hospital
[Shalini] Pls don't take any advice from non medical staff ..
[Shalini] I'm trained in snake bite and conflict management at Madras croc bank by snake experts .. pls just get to a hospital very quickly .. the earlier the better .. stay calm .. don't panic .. breathe normal .. hyper ventilation can lead to fast blood circulation and that would help the venom to spread faster in the body
[Reshma] Ok trying my best
[Hasmukh] Make sure the hospital you go to had Anti Snake Venom. ASV has a limited shelf life. Hence in India only government hospitals keep ASV.
[Shalini] Each country has different species of snakes .. once you get to hospital describe the details
- Area of bite - time of bite - signs and symptoms you are experiencing
- don't consume anything .. no water or liquid or any other thing ..
In most cases snake give dry bites causing irritation and pain .. this can be treated by professional medical practitioner and recovery is faster ..
You will be kept under observation too for next 24-48 hours .. just follow medical advice.. doctors know best to treat this ..
[Nirav] Is the snake bite area turning dark or any swelling
[Shalini] Dry bites are superficial bites.. nothing to worry much.. there may not be venom injected in these cases ..
Reshma, pls let me know your location and hospital you are visiting .. if any help is needed i will connect you to the correct people who work with anti - venom production folks and researchers ..
[Nirav] Just spoke to her should have reached or reaching in a minute or two
[Reshma] Not dark but a lill swelling is there
On the way...still some minutes I think
Going to the dambulla hospital
[Shalini] Great, just stay relaxed all the way .. you are doing great.. meet the doctor and explain your case .. keep us in the loop
[Reshma] My charge in the battery running out too.. fyi
Sure will do, thanks
[Shalini] Nearest Location .. where in srilanka is this ?
Any other contact number to reach you in the next hour or so ??
[Reshma] Dambulla is a bigger city
[Hasmukh] Give us the contact numbers of the people with you - with area code
[Nirav] Kandy it's a army base hospital so it seems she will get proper treatment
[Reshma, 9:41 PM] In the hospital
[Nirav] Spoke she is ok
Treatment has started
[Shalini] Ok .. thank you
[Hasmukh] 👍🏼Thanks everyone for the prompt action and coordination. @Reshma you are in good safe hands now. Post progress on the group when you can.
[Reshma, 8:06 AM, 12/18/2019] Hi All, I am doing better...there is inflammation of the foot...doctor confirmed that it's not a poisonous snake...checked if the blood is clotting or not..it is clotting hence it's good.
[Reshma, 8:52 PM, 12/29/2019] First and foremost I would like to thank all of you for being such a lovely and responding community...I am overwhelmed with the love and affection I have been receiving...Thank you one and everyone.
The Sapna Ranch group helped me so much in connecting and feeling like I was surrounded with so many loving people virtually, always humbled and feeling blessed.
[Shalini, 9:09 PM, 12/29/2019] Reshma, glad you are fine and all things worked in your favour. Thank you for sharing the details.
Hump-nosed viper (HNV) is one of the six major snake species in Sri Lanka that cause envenomation. In its natural habitat of the low land wet zone, it is the main snake species that is responsible for envenomating bites.
Note : there is no other treatment for snake bites other than reaching a medical help asap for medical intervention by doctors. There are lots of hear - say methods but pls find a hospital, meet a doctor for treatment plans. Do not take shortcuts for snake bite ever..
Did the “cross-platform messaging and Voice over IP service” provide antivenom? Perhaps not! But, in this case, the technology (WhatsApp) helped fellow human beings reach out and virtually comfort another when the latter needed a hand to hold as desperately as medicine to heal.
As The Economist put it, "Any powerful technology can be used for good or ill .... Technology itself has no agency; it is the choices people make about it that shape the world."
Technology or not, the snake is the same. Are we?
It was to be another night of work, another set of passengers.
But it turned out to be a long, unforgettable nightmare.
Here is the story just as the cabbie told me.
I drive this cab mostly at night.
That night I picked up this two women from a posh locality in Pune. They looked short on dress and high on alcohol. I would later learn that they were college students.
One sat next to me in front while the other settled at the back. I wonder if it was the AC or the movement of the car that triggered it. Suddenly, the one in front threw up in the car. Almost at the same time, the other one also threw up. Then they were both out. The stink was very bad. And I didn’t want them lolling about.
So, I stopped the car. Used the seat belt to ensure the front one was securely packed. Did the same to the one at the back.
It must have been after midnight when we reached their destination, a hostel. The security guy took one look and refused to let the car enter.
“Show their IDs.”
“It is too late for inmates to be allowed back in.”
I didn’t like the way things were shaping up. Fortunately, there was a police station nearby. I took the car there and explained the situation. In a jiffy, the cops turned the story around. Suddenly, I became the prime suspect. Where did I pick them up from? What did I do to them? After a lot of pleading, they let me go. The women are your responsibility. In case we hear of any rape, we know whom to book.
So, I drove some distance away and stopped the car. There was half a bottle of vodka and pack of Marlboro lying next to one of the girls. I picked up both and locked up the car. Whenever they woke up and tried to open the door, I would know.
I called up my service provider. Explained the situation. Two executives turned up—a woman and a man. When they looked inside, I could see the woman executive trying not to puke. They requested me to stay with the car and the women. They would ensure that I would not land in any trouble. Plus, they promised compensation. Then they left.
I sat a little a distance away, by the road. Finished the vodka and the cigarettes. I thought I deserved that for all the trouble I was in. After some time, the car alarm went off. They were up.
“Are we safe? Where are we?” They were not out of it yet but at least they were conscious. I explained the situation to them and assured them that they were safe. They were very apologetic. Then they asked me to take them to a resort a little distance away.
It was almost morning when they got out of the resort. When they did, they were clutching two bottles of alcohol. Both were drinking all the way back to the hostel.
They got out and again apologized profusely. I said I had suffered a huge loss thanks to them. One of them asked me “how much”. The fare itself was nearly 3,000. Plus, lost business while I was babysitting them. Plus, more potential lost business while the car remained at the garage getting a thorough cleaning. “Maybe about 9 or 10,000,” I suggested. She went to the ATM. Came back and gave me 14,000.
I pleaded with them not to drink so much. They were lucky they were in Pune and not in Delhi. They promised they would take care.
I never met them after that.