COLUMBIA, SC — Rep. Kirkman Finlay, R-Richland, has been bitten by a snake but is doing fine and is recovering.
“My ankle is swollen up the size of a pumpkin, or more like an eggplant,” said Finlay, who was bitten Sunday evening around dusk while he was out walking with his wife, Kathleen, near their house in the Hampton Hill neighborhood.
Finlay did what people are supposed to do when they are bitten by a snake -- he went promptly to a hospital emergency room, where he was hooked up to heart monitor and other measures were quickly taken to be ready to counter any adverse reaction.
If people are going to have a reaction, it can happen very quickly and doctors in the hospital can administer anti-venom, Finlay said doctors told him.
The snake attack happened very suddenly, he said.
“All I saw was a flash out of the bottom of my eye, and I felt like I’d been stung by about 10 wasps.”
At the time, he was wearing a pair of running shoes and socks. He and his wife were walking on an unpaved road.
It was either a copperhead, or some kind of rat snake -- we call them chicken snakes,” he said. “It was a small snake and only got one fang in.”
“It could have been a lot worse -- all the places I’ve been, duck hunting, dove hunting, and it happens so close to my house,” he said. “To get bitten by a small one, there’s a cautionary tale there somewhere.”
Finlay said he knows it could have been a lot worse. As it is, he’s walking around in flip-flops now because his swollen foot won’t fit in his other shoes.
As a politician, he knows that some people will probably have fun with this mishap.
“It is funny,” he allowed.
But especially since snakes seem to be on the increase lately, people should use his experience to be careful and get prompt medical attention if bitten, he said.