In 1957, snake expert Karl Patterson Schmidt was trying to identify a snake when he was bitten. Over the next 24 hours, he documented everything that he experienced as the venom took his life.
“4:30–5:30 PM,” he wrote when he got home. “Strong nausea but without vomiting during trip to Homewood on suburban train.”
An hour later, he added, “Strong chill and shaking, followed by fever of [38.7 degrees Celsius (101.7 °F)], which did not persist (blankets and heating pad). Bleeding of mucous membranes in the mouth began at about 5:30, apparently mostly from gums.”
He managed to get a couple hours of sleep but woke up at midnight. “Urination at 12:20 AM,” he noted. “Mostly blood but small in amount.” He woke up again a short time later in a violent fit of vomiting.
His last entry came at 6:30 AM. “Slight bleeding is now going on in the bowels, with frequent irritation at the anus,” he wrote. “Mouth and nose continuing to bleed, not excessively.” By lunchtime, he’d called his wife in a panic. When the doctors found him, he was in a sweat, unable to answer anything they asked. He was pronounced dead at 3:00 PM.