KUANTAN: Eight years ago, Mohd Sabron Jamil Kamarudin miraculously survived a king cobra’s life-threatening bite.
The 33-year-old got married and went on to lead a normal life.
But, the father-of-two had a rude awakening on Jan 4.
The former Kuantan Municipal Council zookeeper had to make one of the toughest decisions of his life — have his left arm amputated to relieve him of unbearable pain as a result of severe bacterial infection which had spread from the snake bite wound.
Even though the snake venom had robbed Sabron of the use of his left hand he could do odd jobs to support his family. He could also lift his children, aged 3 and 5, with both hands.
Sabron said his life would have been at risk if he had refused the four-hour surgery last week.
After being bitten by a king cobra on his left wrist while cleaning the snake’s cage at the Teruntum mini zoo here in 2012, Sabron had waited for four hours for the anti-venom to be sent from Kuala Lumpur Hospital.
Sabron was lucky as death normally occurs as little as 30 minutes after an individual is bitten by a king cobra.
He said the doctors had warned his family that amputation of his left hand was the only way to save him, but the family had refused to heed them.
“As time passed, I started using my left hand and felt that it would return to normal through medical treatment.
“However, I was wrong as in June 2018, doctor found I had Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterial infection in the bone, but they cleaned the wound.
“In September last year, I experienced severe pain near my left elbow and could not sleep during the night.
“My left hand was swollen and I become unstable...
“I spent long hours lying on the bed and there are no words to describe the terrible pain in my left arm,” he said at the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital here today.
Sabron said after discussing the matter with his family members last month, he decided to go to the hospital on Dec 30 to seek the doctors’ advice.
“They conducted several tests and informed me that the bacteria had spread from my wrist to my elbow, and might damage my heart.
“My family assured me that they would be by my side and support any decision I make... my wife kept on saying that our children need their father and I have to be around to watch them grow.
“Since cuting the arm below the elbow will stop the spread of the bacterial infection, I finally agreed... I cried before entering the operation room.
“It is not easy when you lose a limb,” he said as his voice was choked with emotion.
Sabron, who spent more than a month at the hospital after the 2012 incident and went under the knife seven times, said his parents and siblings might still need time before they could fully accept his condition.
“My parents visited me in hospital but I could see the sadness in their eyes... as elderly people, they are not prepared for the sudden changes.
“My siblings have been providing a lot of moral support and my friends have been giving lots of positive encouragement... this is giving me some strength,” he said.
Asked whether he would quit handling snakes, Sabron said he would continue to help those who required his services to catch reptiles from their homes, which he continued to do after the 2012 incident.
His wife, Nor Farahana Mahayuddin, 29, said she was relieved that he would no longer suffer pain or endure sleepless nights.
“Although things might not be the same again as his physical activities might be restricted, Sabron is a strong person and I am sure he will overcome it.
“I accept him as the person I knew before we got married and will continue to support his passion for handling snakes.
“Once he recovers, Sabron can assist me at our children’s clothing shop inPantai Batu Hitam as I do not want his disability to break his spirit.
“Since Sabron was doing odd jobs, I decided to open the business in October last year to help support our family,” said Nor Farahana, who is seven months pregnant with their third child.