MOSSEL BAY NEWS - The Mossel Bay Advertiser interviewed former mayor Marie Ferreira at Life Bay View Private Hospital on Monday, 6 January, to ask her about her being bitten by a Cape cobra.
Alderlady Ferreira was still tired and out of breath after having exercised with a walking ring in the hospital. "The poison affects your whole body," she pointed out. "I have to be patient. I am still tired."
She was uncertain as to when she would be discharged from hospital. "But the doctors are happy. I am progressing. I am not going backwards," she said.
During the interview her jaw started shaking. "It's from the exertion of walking with the walking ring," she said.
Mrs Ferreira declined to be photographed. She also did not want her foot to be photographed.
Her foot and ankle were still extremely swollen and red and also yellow in parts on 6 January. A blister had formed on the foot and Mrs Ferreira explained that this was an indication of the venom being released.
She was bitten on Boxing Day, 26 December.
Ferreira has a water feature in her garden for birds. It consists of three upright pieces of train track wooden sleepers and three taps. The largest tap on one of the sleepers is obscured by a stone as part of the feature. The snake was hiding behind the stone and Mrs Ferreira did not see it.
"I must have given it a fright as I was turning on the tap," Ferreira said. The snake bit her as it moved over her foot. "I had stepped really close to the snake."
She said she felt a "burning" sensation and knew she had been bitten. She drove to her doctor in Hartenbos, who immediately gave her two injections. "I know one was a cortisone injection. I'm not sure of the other," Ferreira said.
When she came out of the doctor and went to her car, traffic officers were at her car because she had parked illegally. Ferreira said: "Of course they knew who I was and advised me to drive to hospital in the yellow line with hazard lights on."
A former school friend of Ferreira's son, who lives in the same street as Ferreira in Hartenbos, drove her to Life Bay View Private Hospital in his bakkie because this was the quickest option. "The traffic was fantastic," Ferreira said. "People gave way and were co-operative even though we did not have a siren."
In the meantime Fire and Disaster Management Services had been contacted in Mossel Bay to catch the snake, which they did. It was still on her property. "I knew it was a Cape cobra," Ferreira said. "But the doctors needed to make certain, because if one is given the wrong serum, it can be extremely dangerous."
The doctors were also monitoring Ferreira's symptoms in order to corroborate that it was a Cape cobra that bit her.
She said she developed double vision. The poison affected one's lungs and swallowing eventually as well. Then, 12 to 13 hours after she had been bitten the anti-venom was administered. "I am glad they were careful about making sure it was a Cape cobra before giving me the anti-venom," Ferreira said.
She said she did not experience any confusion or mental disturbance after being bitten. Her foot, however, became extremely sore. Much medication was administered including an anti-inflammatory and pain medication.
Ferreira's blood pressure also became extremely high and had to be controlled. "This was probably because of the shock," she said. "Also, I am a diabetic and my blood sugar was affected badly. This was eventually brought under control."
The former mayor, who was at the helm of the town council directly before the current mayor, Alderman Harry Levendal, said she was overwhelmed by the support and concern of the public.
She said she received 235 WhatsApps and a massive number of missed calls. Eventually she had to put her phone on silent, she said. "Also, my children's phones did not stop ringing," she said.
"I am extremely grateful for all the support and prayers," she said several times. Ferreira is currently undergoing physiotherapy. "My muscles are stiff."
She was full of praise for Life Bay View Hospital on its excellent care. "The team of doctors and nurses are unbelievable," she said.
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