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Attention: Hazardous Fauna of the Indian Subcontinent

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

Let’s just set a day to get this all over with. 

My jelly sting is healing,

but my little toe is now large and blueish...

I am tired of you slowly picking away at my right foot. 

I would just like to have one day where we go head to head, and if I live through it, I will have only wasted one day in extreme pain. I do not wish to have small incidents one week at a time any longer. It is really putting a damper on my lifestyle.

My right foot was healing nicely from the terribly large tropical jellyfish sting, when it was viciously mauled by a stingray.

Ok, I may be exaggerating. The very tip of his barb poked the top of my baby toe. In all honesty, if I had to pick a place on my body for a stingray to jab me, it would be the tip of my baby toe.

What other body part could possibly be less important?

I am also very thankful that he didn’t decide to leave any barb tip pieces inside my toe. It was a clean poke. Thank you, Mr. Stingray.

That does not mitigate the fact that his evolutionarily superior barb tip was capable of injecting my teensy weensy tootsie with venom. Who would have ever thought something so small and cute could hurt so badly? 

I tried to wait it out for a few minutes while sitting on my board helping the wound bleed. I wanted it to bleed a lot, the more blood flushing through the wound, the cleaner it would be. In case you didn't know, it isn't the toxin causing the extreme pain that is dangerous; it is the resulting infection in your wound from the friendly marine bacteria living on the barb. Lucky for me, I am already harboring an infectious marine bacterial species: Mycobacteria marinarum. (I got it from a seahorse.) I still wanted to bleed out any other potential species of hazardous bacteria. I don’t need any more. It was my hope that after squeezing my toe for a while, it would be ok and I could resume surfing. After about 5 minutes, it donned on me, "The surf sucks today!" The pain was starting to escalate and the surf was 2ft at best. It wasn't worth the pain to stay out there, so I opted to go back and soak it in hot water.

I had started paddling back when my guts did the twist-n-shout. The pain was mounting in my foot, my circulatory system was moving things around faster, and I was becoming uncomfortable. I started singing. What else can you do? I sang and paddled back. Paddled past yet another dude taking a dump and couldn't help thinking that I’d rather have a marine bacterial infection than one from human bacteria…

Some incredibly hot water, almost boiling, was poured over my toe once I arrived back at the Ashram. That probably killed everything, including my sensory cells. It felt amazing. Water as hot as you can handle takes the pain and sting out, draws out toxins, and kills infectious bacteria. I’m glad I didn't opt to stay and surf small waves, going back to care for my wound was probably a good idea. The pain associated with ray venom peaks at around 1-2 hours. What a peak! 

All I could think about during peak pain was how thankful I was that I didn't disturb the little guy on the wave before that. I surfed a small wave and fell off the back of my board. My butt every so gently grazed a sandbar that I hadn't realized was there. It would have been a long and awkward day if I had a ray barb in my ass. I guess it could have been worse!

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