A bite from one of the world’s most venomous snakes in 2017 left a Texas woman with what many experts consider the world’s most painful disorder.
Rachel Myrick, a 40-year-old real estate agent from Fredericksburg, was bitten by a copperhead snake as she walked into LongHorn Steakhouse in Spotsylvania County four and a half years ago.
Myrick was bitten twice on the toes and once on the side of the foot by an 8-inch-long copperhead that managed to enter the restaurant lobby. The bites caused him excruciating pain, causing him to drop his cell phone, his wallet and his son’s hand, The Free Lance-Star reported at the time.
Media around the world picked up the story and it was reported around the world, recounting how Myrick received antivenom treatment, often also called antivenom, at Mary Washington Hospital when his foot and ankle were swollen.
But Myrick’s misery didn’t end there, even as media interest in the story began to cool. Either the bite, the antivenom used to save her life, or a combination of the two left her suffering from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a condition that means something as simple as a light touch can cause excruciating pain.
This means the mere touch of her skin or even a light breeze can be debilitating, LMTonline reported.
She told the outlet: “You feel like your skin is sunburned and then you take sand or shards of glass, depending on the severity of my moment, and just rub it on top.
“I suffer the worst of my life, multiplied by 10.”
The McGill Pain Index is a questionnaire given to patients to measure the level of pain they feel. CRPS ranks near the top of the McGill scale above dental fractures, chronic back pain, amputation of fingers or toes, and even childbirth.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH) states that the condition follows an injury to an arm or leg and that other symptoms of CRPS include changes in skin color, temperature and / or swelling in the arm or leg below the site of injury.
He adds that the majority of CRPS lesions appear to be caused by malfunctioning nerve fibers that send signals to the brain. The NIH also states that the condition, which causes “burning” or “tingling” sensations or sensations or squeezing sensations in the affected limb, usually resolves in time when the nerve grows back. Severe cases, however, can lead to prolonged disability.
CRPS can be difficult to treat due to the varied symptoms it causes and the fact that these can change over time, for example diabetes and smoking inversely affecting treatment. This means that there is currently no quick cure for CRPS.
To help Myrick, a snakebite victim, pay for treatment not covered by his insurance, and to help his family with bills and other expenses, his mother, Patricia DeWolfe, organized a Go Fund Me appeal. .
On the fundraising page, DeWolfe writes of her daughter: “She had 4 minor surgeries and 2 major surgeries, along with dozens upon dozens of doctor’s appointments, with her total medical bills exceeding well over $1.1 million in this short. time limit; with unlimited bills to go past it.
“Feeling like she’s on fire from deep within her bones, through muscles and the worst sunburn in a person’s life while having what feels like crushed shards of glass at all times…Rachel is at its worst a pain most can’t even imagine; and there’s no downtime – it’s 24/7.”