Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Sting of the Scorpion

That would be Robert...  He and our village neighbor from across the road took off one shiny new morning for a distant, remote wild and woodsy area from which Robert purchases, fells, and slices select trees into usable planks.  This time, he is collecting wood for a new shower door, for instance...

...only this time he neglected to wear thick leather gloves.

The scorpion lashed out fiercely (Robert never saw it amid the woodchips and dust after the log fell).  The stinger slashed open a blood vessel in his finger, and thus injected the poison directly into Robert´s bloodstream...  a potentially lethal situation.  Having been struck before, Robert could recognize the increased severity of this strike...  left arm, closest to his heart, the venom causing numbness and paralysis, far more pain...  Those kinds of thoughts.

Immediately, his companion helped Robert to load the large, heavy, bulky machines into his car, and got Robert back home, and situated on the porch amid the tools.  Then he left Robert there.  Robert had assured him that we have on hand "Epi-pen" which is a self-injectable antidote.  Alas, this time the Epi-pen had almost no effect on the venom now in his bloodstream.  In great pain, and increasing numbness, Robert laboriously lugged the machines into the house, locked them in, and drove the car himself, down into the river valley, through the river, and over to the beach where I was casually relaxing.  En route, he picked up my friend´s husband who took over the wheel.

My friend, Annie, and I had just emerged soaking wet and grinning from ear-to-ear after an exhaustingly fun plunge-and-crash session of boogying the big shore-surf repeatedly.  We were seated at a table, toes in the sand, facing the sea.  I had between my fingers a chip laden with guacamole -- yes, the food had been set down before us the moment we emerged from the sea.

I heard the unique, child-like toot of our car´s horn.  Odd....

All was full-on action after that.  Annie took care of the  guacamole and chips (oh, and the bill, too).  The cooks ran after us with a huge clove of garlic for Robert to chew and swallow (local remedy for scorpion strikes).  Annie´s husband drove (he speaks better Spanish than I do), and we were on our way to the nearby FREE hospital/clinic -- some half-hour away.

Robert was seen to, given immediate treatment, and then hooked up to an IV to hydrate him.  It helps if he can pee out the poison.  He was there for hours.

Robert is not one to complain of pain -- but when asked, he would comment on the "electric eels" in his extremeties, as well as curious and expanding numbness.  Walking to the bathroom, as he had to from time to time thanks to the dripping IV, was quite arduous for him.  Once the IV bottle was empty, he was released.

For the next two days, he lay comfortably at our home on our portable bed-system laid out on the cement floor of our porch -- woven mat, with a thermarest mattress, pillow, fleece blanket if needed.  And I read to him -- great book -- one we kept interrupting in order to discuss concpets.  He would, if pressed, describe the continuing electric shooting pains, and show where he was completely numb.

This strike, he says, was far more painful, far more dangerous, than the last time he was struck.  Last time, he was struck in muscle, and the Epi-pen worked, and we laid his mat in a cool room, and while he rested, I read to him.

¿And now?  In the aftermath (though his finger is still numb three days later), my advice will hereafter ever be:  "Wear thick leather gloves...  please."

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