MANATEE -- At her preschool they call her "Firecracker."
Three-year-old Sarah Lawson got that name at Sunny Daze on State Road 64 East because she's a kid who is not afraid to let everyone know when things aren't to her liking.
"She's loud," Sarah's mother, Shannon Rainwater, said with a grin.
Perhaps that's good because Sarah's piercing scream when she got bit by a poisonous snake Monday while playing on the school playground alerted a teacher who carried her to a next-door urgent care facility, Rainwater said.
"It hurt me," Sarah said Thursday holding out her index finger so a visitor could see two tiny puncture wounds on her left index finger.
On Thursday, after spending Monday and Tuesday nights at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg due to the venom that entered her body from the bite, Sarah was laughing and back to her usual rough-stuff kid,
even coloring with her left hand.
"I'm extremely thankful," said Sarah's father, Palmetto graduate Nathan Lawson.
Rainwater, who graduated from Lakewood Ranch High School in 2002 and also has a daughter Grace, 9, is not mad at the school in any way.
She believes the snake was a foot-long adult pygmy rattlesnake.
"It (the playground) is closed for now and they have torn the mulch up with rakes," Rainwater said of the playground.
A call to school officials was not immediately returned.
"She told me she was going to try to move the snake and reached to pick it up," Rainwater said.
"She probably gets that from me," Lawson said. "I didn't have a problem as a kid picking up snakes and playing with them."
A Manatee County ambulance team drove Sarah and her anxious mother from the urgent care facility to All Children's on Monday morning and monitored her vital signs, which stayed normal, Rainwater said.
Sarah didn't cry once in the ambulance and was mostly sleepy because it was her nap time, her mother said.
At the hospital, Sarah's left hand and arm began to turn purple.
"Her blood work confirmed that she had toxins injected by the snake," Rainwater said.
By Tuesday, Sarah was playing peek-a-boo in her hospital room and hiding behind beds and couches, Lawson said.
"Her hand looks ten times better than it was," Rainwater said. "She's a trooper. I don't know how she is so brave. The doctors thought her muscles might be diminished in that hand because the toxins can dissolve muscle, but she is coloring with that hand like nothing ever happened."