Sunday, January 16, 2011

A rougher night

Last night I woke up at about 11:30 - the music was still booming over from the disco next door, but I seem to have learned how to sleep through it - and walked down to the bathroom, which is outside in the patio. Sudden stabbing pain in my heel. There outside the bathroom door I had managed to step on an alacran - that's the name for the local scorpion - and it had stung me. I yelped and carried on enough to wake up Margaret Jane (Korla was out at a local festival) who sat down with me at the kitchen table while we checked out Donde No Hay Doctor (Where There Is No Doctor), the invaluable first aid / health education manual. Alacran venom varies a lot in strength, but it's rarely dangerous for adults. That was the good news, but on the other hand, the pain and swelling can last for weeks or months...

I was beginning to feel altogether strange. My mouth started buzzing, then fingers, arms and legs. Korla got back, and told us that a Salvadoran friend had said to cut off the stinger, soak it in alcohol, and apply that to the wound. We'd killed the alacran by then, so why not? Soaked the stinger in a bit of the very nice brandy my Christmas guests had left and bathed my heel. I stumbled off to bed and spent the next five hours in chills and sweating, staggering when I tried to walk, my skin buzzing with electricity. My body felt light, unfamiliar, unsettled. This had definitely been an alacran which, in spite of being only about 3 inches long, had plenty of strong venom.

Now, twelve hours later, the buzz is still with me, but is lessening. My heel doesn't hurt at all, which suggests that the brandy soak was a good idea. I will definitely be putting shoes on in the future when I head to the bathroom in the dark, and I'll probably carry a flashlight with me for a while. I'm just mostly grateful that the alacran got me, and not Kathy Garcia, who is about half my size and would have had an even worse time with the venom.

I'd like to settle down now for 24 hours of uneventful peace, quiet and recuperation with no wildlife attached.

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