Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sting Ray Attack - How's that for a headline? :)

The arrow points to about where it happened
Thursday - It was about noon, and the tide was out. Roger and I were venturing into the beautiful clear water beyond the sandbar. We were probably 100 yards from shore. We both had swim shoes on, but the kids, Cam and Cam, who were both snorkeling, did not.

We were about waist high in the gentle surf, and had seen a few stingrays on the bottom. The water was crystal clear, and if you moved slow, didn't stir up sand, and looked very carefully, you could see them as they moved off before you.  They were only about the size of a small dinner plate.  I don't think we really realized their danger. How stupid is that? I mean, they are STING Rays after all.

Sea Urchin

A day earlier, Manda and Cam, in about the same area, were "stung" on the legs by what they thought might be sea urchins. They weren't horribly in pain, Cam cried a little, but they were over it fairly quickly. We were looking more for the sea urchins, and not worried about the Sting Rays......

Cam snorkeling
I was about 15 feet in front of Roger, further out, and Cameron Claussen was further out than me. Cam Schutt was right next to Rog, and was laid out flat on top of the water, looking down through her goggles. All of a sudden Rog yelled out, "Something got me!", and he was hoping around on one foot, and had ripped off his water shoe. A few seconds later, he exclaimed, SH#@%*T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it got me again!!!! (on the other foot). He was staggering around, turned back to shore, and was trying to keep Cam up (off the ocean floor) - he didn't need to worry about that, she was hanging on his neck with her legs practically around him. She said she had seen a sting ray by his feet swim off right after the first hit.... so we don't know if it was a second one that got him on the other foot?....we will never know for sure.

I immediately moved towards him, worrying myself, if I was going to get "stung".  We moved out of the water, and I helped him limp towards the sandbar and closer to the house. He was leaning on me on one side, Cam was on the other, and everytime he took a step, he would leave bloody footprints in the sand. It wasn't till afterwards that I thought about sharks.........

Rog didn't have much to say, as he was gritting his teeth together so hard. He said later, he had NEVER felt such pain in his life. He said it felt like his foot had exploded.

I found this description of a Sting Ray "sting" online from another guy - sounds about what Rog was feeling I'm sure, except that Rog had THREE stings.

I stepped on a stingray and he instantly sunk his spine in my ankle. The initial split second of shocking pain was followed closely by horrendous debilitating pain as the barbed spine buried in my flesh was shaken back and forth a few times while he made his escape. I’ve never in my life felt a pain that even enters this pain’s neighborhood. It was almost like an electric shock. I yelled and struggled to get  to the beach while dragging one leg. Once on the sand all I could do was yell and cry out like a wounded animal, all while trying not to scare my kid.. I feel a little sissy-ish saying that, but I tell you if I could have chopped my leg off at the knee in that moment I would have. I’m not even sure how to describe it other than an aching throb so intense my whole body felt ravished. I squeezed and squeezed my calf the same way you squeeze your thumb after hitting it with a hammer. Somehow you expect that to help ease the pain, or at least localize it.

Roger didn't cry or moan or yell (after the first swear word, and you all know, Roger D. doesn't swear)  When we got to the bottom of the stairs, Cam ran up ahead and yelled for Brendon and Mitch to come and help.  (everyone else had gone into town)   I should mention at this point, that Cam Claussen hadn't even heard the commotion, he was too busy snorkeling, so he was still out in the ocean.

We moved to the outside shower at the side of the house, and gingerly peeled off his water shoe, hoping that he wasn't missing a toe.  He had one "hole" on the top of his right foot, and two slices on his left foot.   At this point, Rog thought he was going to pass out, so the guys got him seated, and I ran to the main house (where the owners live) and knocked on their door asking for help.

The landlady was so nice, and said first off - HOT HOT HOT water, as hot as he can stand.   Also, soap and vinegar, to ward off infection.   Bren meanwhile was using his mad internet research skills, and confirmed her advice. The hot water was supposed to draw the venom OUT.  She also said that we might want to go to the Red Cross station in town for a shot of Lidocaine for the pain, and that it might last up to 6 hours....... YIKES !!!

Rog was still gritting his teeth, and rocking back and forth and shaking his head.  We were having trouble finding a container that he could place both feet in (flat), and that was also tall enough to cover the tops of his feet with water.

While  Mitch and I were scrambling to get a couple of pans of water on the stove to simmer, the landlady came back out with a brand new roasting pan (still in the box, never opened), and gave it up as a basin for Roger D's poor feet.  Cam stayed by his side the entire time.  She was really worried about her Grandpa :)

Bren grabbed some pain medication (tablets), and also raided every purse in the house for any type of anti-bacterial medicine.   Mitch kept the hot water coming, and the landlady grabbed some hand towels to soak up and lay over the tops of his feet.  I mostly just stood around wringing my hands......  and kept asking him if he was okay, and if he was going to pass out -  or throw up - and I was worrying that we had left Cam C. in the ocean (he was totally fine).

The pain stayed pretty intense for almost 1 1/2 hours, then with the hot water that we kept applying (which drew out the venom), it began to subside.  THANK GOODNESS !!!   We were worried that he wouldn't be able to put shoes on, wouldn't be able to drive home, wouldn't be able to go back to work on Monday.......but almost miraculously, the pain disappeared, and by evening he was 100% better - seriously.

We were able to laugh and chuckle about it by the next day.   Boy what a story !  It's not everyone who has THIS story to tell :)

Next day - you can see the stab on the top of his right foot (this was the second sting), and also the two swipes on his left foot, near his ankle.

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