Thursday, June 12, 2014

PORTUGUESE man of war?

    Niki and I had just let go a juvenile pufferfish that Colton had caught for us, and were sitting on the bow, laughing over someone's slip of the toung. It was getting on to evening, and the swells were dieing down, so we started to make our way back to the coc pit, but Niki spotted something on the top of the water. 
    "Man of war!!" I said. I had read a book on sealife and knew that the Japanise man of war was (as I put it) really poisonous!!
    "Wow, really?" Niki asked in astonishment. I looked closer then said,
    "Well, then, what are you waiting for? Get the net!!" I ran to the long-handled net (there was no way I was touching this thing), and jumped into the water. 
    "Colton, where is it?" I asked, as he was leaning over the rail, looking down at it, and I couldn't see it from the water. He pointed in front, and to my right a little. 
    "And which way are the tenticials pointing?" He pointed his finger away from the hull of the boat. I swooped my net in the direction he had indicated. 
    "Did I get it?" I asked
    "Yep." He said. 
    I swam in a way that the net was far from me, but the jelly couldn't get out. As soon as I got to the ladder, I handed the net to Niki. We turned the net up-side-down and shook it a little over a bucket. The jellyfish stuck. We shook it a little harder. The jelly still stuck.  
    "Pesky lil' booger aren't you?" Niki mumbled. I reached over and grabbed the smaller, wooden handled net. I poked at the jelly with the end of the wooden handle until lit let go. 
    "There." I smiled. As I was putting it down, the end of the wooden handle brushed my leg. I was so caught up in the moment, ooing and awing at the jellyfish, that I barely noticed. What I did notice though, was a small irritation on my right thigh. Then the irritation became a bother, then a hazard. 
    "Ah ah oh ooow. I got a sting. I got a sting." I started hollering. 
    " oow-I got-eeh-a STING!!!"
    "From what?"
    "I don't know, probably that!!" I pointed toward the little white bucket. 
    "Aah! It hurts!!" At that moment three things happened.
1)I ran to the coc pit
2)The parents sprung into action
3)I panicked 
    While Gina started to prepare some baking soda paste, my mom pored some fresh water on it in an attempt to clense the salty leg. Wrong move. Fresh water on a jellyfish sting releases the toxins and is one of the worst things you can do to it. Almoste immidiatly, the joint on my leg started to cramp up. 
    "My leg feels weird." I said in a small, scared voice. 
    "Her leg feels weird," my mom yelled down to Gina, "please hurry!!" About a minute later, Gina came up with the backing soda paste and started slathering it on. 
    "It's not working." I wined, "it hurts!" Gina started flipping through medicinal books while my mom applied more of the paste. 
    "Just breathe honey, it'll be alright."
    "It HURTS!" Tears sprung to my eyes. "I need a doctor, please! Help me!" My hands started to clench. My lungs didn't want to breathe, and my eyes wanted to close. 
    "Please. Help me." I said in a thin voice. Jim was standing over me. Just breathe, Carmen. Keep your eyes open. Look at me. 
    "I need a doctor." I started clenching and spreading out my hands. 'In, out, in, out' I told myself that's all that matters. Just breathe. In, out, in, out. I'm going to be okay. But I didn't believe myself.
    "Can you stand?" Jim asked I nodded my head. They walked me over to the paddle boared. Jim paddled to shore where we'd spotted a couple (lucily English) locals. We had a successful landing, and I gratefully accepted a seat in their shady four weeler as Jim explained the situation 
    "I got stung." Was all I could say.
    "Ooh them man of wars are mostly harmless, but they do hurt, don't they?" The man said. "What did you do first?" Jim told them that at first they had poured fresh water, then baking soda paste, and when that didn't work, alcohol and vinegar.
    "First off, the fresh water releases the toxins..." And then he went down the list of mistakes that we made before vinegar. Meanwhile, I was still relieved at not being in serious threat, as I was stung by a Portuguese man of war, not a Japanise man of war. 

Later my mom swam in. When I walked toward the board, my knees felt so week that they might just collapse. Mom paddled me in, and, since it was rolly, she suggested that I swam the last ten feet. 
    "No." I said. "I'm not swimming today... or here... or untill we're at least two hundred miles out at sea." We laughed a little and I shakily climbed aboard and collapsed into my bed. 

1 comment:

  1. Carmen,
    In Hawaii, I heard that urine was good for Jelly fish stings, something about the amonia in urine. Kind of gross but better than nothing. Next time carry an Epi-Pen, it is a small sharp ended syringe that all you need to do is jab it at your arm or leg and it dispenses epinephrine a strong anti-hystimine. I'm glad your all right. Take Care, Christine Bluestone (We met in Zihuatanejo aboard Northern Passage.)