Scorpions Sting

Self-Portrait 01.15.15
Scorpions do sting. “Odd subject, Eric.” I know, but I have to share my story here in more detail, which I also shared in spurts on social media over the weekend.

Late last month, I was cleaning the bath tub when I looked over to see a little scorpion. First thought, ‘How in the world did a baby scorpion get in a 2nd story apartment?’ I washed it down the drain.

A few weeks later, as I open the window, I look down to see a baby scorpion in the bath tub. Bizarre. ‘Where are they coming from?’ I wondered. Down the drain..I washed him.

Friday afternoon, March 13th..yes, a scorpion in the bath tub crawling around trying to get out. He was the most active one I’d seen to that point. I left him there for an hour or so. When I returned, he had ceased from trying to escape..curled up in place. I felt sorry for the little guy. I took a dust pan, picked him up..outside, down the stairs, behind the dumpster..he was free. Still, I had a bad feeling about it. Ugh, hate scorpions.

When I was a toddler, I have a faint, horrible memory of my mom sleeping on the couch in our living room. It was night time. She screamed. I had never heard her in such pain. A big, black scorpion had made its way into the couch, stinging her in the foot. As the scorpion took off to the front porch, my dad crushed it with a dining room chair. My memory fades away after that..

March 14th, very early Saturday morning, about 3:30am I guess…I was on the futon dreaming about something, I can’t remember. But I do remember knowing I was in a dream (weird how that works sometimes) and I felt a sharp pain. I thought to myself, ‘Wait, how can I feel pain in a dream?’

I grabbed my left calf, the pain intensified..quickly. Suddenly, I knew I wasn’t dreaming anymore, something was terribly wrong! I gripped my calf all the more as I leaped up pushing my blankets out of the way. Turned the light on, didn’t notice anything out of place, but my calf fight like it was being stabbed repeatedly by a knife point.

I hopped around the living room, wondering what was going on. Then, I remembered my bad feeling from the day before..the scorpion. I found my eyeglasses, started shaking out my blankets & sheet. Nothing. Part of me was still in dream land, thinking the pain would subside, but it only intensified.

I couldn’t put any weight on my leg, my calf felt like it was being set on fire. I decided I wasn’t dreaming, something was wrong, it had to be a scorpion, though one was not in sight. I dialed ‘911.’

A woman answered, I noticed that I needed to control my breathing to speak. Though it still sounded crazy to me, I said, ‘I think I’ve been stung by a scorpion.’ Her quick response comforted me, then I was transferred to a hotline for these sorts of things. This time, another woman asked me questions…I described to her what I was feeling. Sure enough, the symptoms of a scorpion sting. I wasn’t crazy, but in this instance, I hated being ‘right.’

Hopped to the bathroom to clean the area with soap & water as she instructed to prevent infection. Now, I must admit, I didn’t want to cry, especially in front of a lady on the phone. I had to grit my teeth and say, ‘Well, this sure wakes you up in the morning.’ She laughed and remarked this is one of the reasons why she doesn’t live in Nevada. She’s heard the stories and never wants to experience it. I don’t blame her.

I had none of the side effects of a scorpion bite as the paramedics took my blood pressure and asked me more questions. The ambulance pulled into the parking lot and they asked if I wanted to go to the ER. ‘No…’ Yes, I had to be tough in front of them, too.

In the middle of all this, I spotted him…the culprit. Dead. I may have crushed him in my hand when I initially grabbed my calf. The lead medic put a flashlight on the critter, “Yep, that’s a bark scorpion!” What?! What’s a bark scorpion? One of two scorpion species you don’t want to mess with. The same species I recklessly toted downstairs with a dust pan hours before thinking it was just a fairly harmless baby scorpion. uhh..nope.

Then, the lead medic told me his story. A bark scorpion stung him in the toe once..his entire leg was in pain for over 24 hours. You can’t take aspirin for it and the kind of suggested pill the ER would give me to take the edge off the pain sounded too strong for my taste. I had to gut it out.

More good news? The venom from this scorpion spreads for 12-24 hours before it starts to wear off. Groovy. There went my Saturday. After a few more questions..everyone was gone. I sat in the living room massaging my calf, rocking back & forth, feeling a type of pain I’d never felt before.

After a while, I looked at the clock: 5:36am. I continued to type with one finger in quick bursts because whenever I ceased to massage my calf, it felt like the swarm of needles piercing it would get worse. I went to Twitter, contacting a friend. I took to Facebook. Then, I searched for info on the bark scorpion.

Horror stories. Cases much worse than mine; I can’t even share what I read. What the lady said on the hotline, what the lead medic said, it was all true and then some. I tried to lay down. I had to lay down. But my eyes naturally darted back and forth looking for another culprit. How could I sleep? But with less than three hours of sleep to that point, I finally dosed off as the beginning of sunrise shown through the window.

Most of the day was spent napping on & off. The swelling in my calf increased. By Saturday evening, the top of my calf to the back of my foot was painful to touch. I kept the left leg of my jeans rolled up above my knee. I read online that putting ice on the area would help, but just touching it hurt too much for me. I couldn’t take it.

I read online that Advil or Motrin is not good to take, but I could have Tylenol. At my request, my best friend brought a pack of four pills for me. I took one pill to see how my body would react. Another nap. When I woke up, my calf seemed to be solid, stiff, but not as painful. I could manage walking around a bit more. The other symptoms I read about online didn’t seem to phase me at all..

Until the next morning. I slept..out cold..into Sunday, March 15th. The stiffness in my lower leg was still there, but much less painful. Yay, I’ll be cured in no time! Right? Well, not exactly. The ‘other’ symptoms I didn’t have at first started to kick in. I felt sick. Swollen fingers. Unsettled tummy. Eyes burning. Muscle spasms. Tongue swelled. Shortness of breath. And it felt like I was getting needle pricks in sporadic places on my body., this might take a while to get over. I’ll be better by..

Monday, March 16th..I felt fine at first. Top of the morning to ya! Then, I felt “sick as a dog” as the saying goes. Some symptoms came and went. Some worsened. My energy level was down. My appetite that I got back was leaving again. Hmm, maybe I had the cookies-n-cream ice cream too soon after all. On top of this, I was so drowsy. I hadn’t been able to sleep well into Monday. Any little movement I felt seemed to alert me..I’d look around my bed a bit before making myself close my eyes. Nothing there. No scorpion. No sting. Just a side effect of feeling like a needle was pricking me.

I tried to focus on Monday, and I did. Scheduled a job interview for Wednesday, almost completed my business proposal to raise capital, and took care of the little things like washing the dishes. All the while I was concerned. The remaining symptoms waned time & again, but they came back a bit stronger each time.

I shared this on my Facebook in a light-hearted way, to which my sister didn’t seem to appreciate. I was supposed to take this more seriously. As my tummy began to have sharp aches as nightfall came, I decided to take Tuesday, March 17th, off.

Confirmed because my best friend, who brought me the Tylenol, told his online friends about my situation..his friends responded by saying the sting of these small scorpions are worse than the bigger ones. I also read online that scorpions can sting you multiple times because their stinger doesn’t detach after the first strike.

Well, today is Tuesday, March 17th; I must rest. Tomorrow, I have a two-hour commute to the job interview and I can’t miss this opportunity. It would put me in a good position for the rest of the year. Bad timing to be sick. I absolutely cannot be sick right now! Yet, even now, my energy seems to be draining from me.

And my bed doesn’t look welcoming anymore. Each time I look at it, I’m reminded of what I felt early Saturday morning. I have to forget what happened. Get over it! But..perhaps, I shouldn’t go back to life as usual at full throttle so fast.

Another friend remarked, she would be freaking out if she’d been stung by a scorpion, but I seemed calm. Well..I guess I have been so busy trying to manage all this pressure, stress, I already felt before this incident that I haven’t had time to really digest what just happened. Life comes & goes so fast it can go right by you without apology.

But..if I don’t take a day to step back, not only physically, but mentally & emotionally, my body may step back for me without invitation.

Eric Christopher Jackson

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