Jeremy Sutcliffe had no idea the severed head of a rattlesnake could attack and bite.
And that's exactly what happened to the 40-year-old Texas native.
He and his wife, Jennifer, were working in their yard on Memorial Day weekend. Jeremy was mowing the lawn and Jennifer was gardening. Suddenly, his wife screamed. A four-foot rattlesnake was at her feet.
Jeremy went running, grabbed a shovel, and severed the serpent's head. About 10 minutes later, Jeremy bent down to throw out the Western diamondback's head, but it clamped down on his fingers and wouldn't let go.
"Finally, he got the snake head pulled off," Jennifer, 43, told The New York Times. "I called 911 and just started driving because I didn't know where to go exactly, what hospital carries antivenom."
Her husband was in bad shape. He began seizing and passing out. His hand swelled and blistered. He talked gibberish. He went blind.
A helicopter met them and whisked Jeremy away to a hospital where he received 26 doses of antivenom. A normal dose is two to four.
Because of their slow metabolisms, snakes can attack up to an hour after being beheaded. They also become more aggressive when facing death and unload every drop of venom in their fangs.
That's what happened to Jeremy. At the hospital, doctors feared he wouldn't make it. He was bleeding internally, he couldn't see, he was hooked to a ventilator and his kidneys were failing.
He was also in septic shock.
After receiving the massive doses of antivenom, Jeremy regained consciousness May 31. His condition is now stable, but he is a long way from being his old self.
He remains on dialysis. His wife has set up a GoFundMe account to help with medical bills.
"He's thankful to be alive," Jennifer said. "It was very scary."