Sunday, October 19, 2008
My family and I were at Coronado Beach in San Diego on Friday afternoon. We had visited an aquarium earlier that day and, inspired by the variety of sea life we saw there, decided that some time at the beach would be appropriate and fun. Coronado Beach is ranked 5th on the list of the best beaches in the United States. That list includes Hawaii. So I was extremely excited to get out there and enjoy the waves!
When we got there, the weather was gorgeous. Temperatures floated in the high 80's and the blue sky was dotted here and there with fluffy white clouds. I stripped down to my swimsuit as fast as I could and practically ran out to the water, which was cold, but not so cold that you can't stand it. After a few minutes, I was used to the temperature and began body surfing. I remember looking down into the water to clear seaweed from my feet and spotting, for only a moment, what looked to be a stingray. I thought nothing of it, however, figuring that it was just a cloud of sand embellished by my imagination.
(By the way, if you've never tried body surfing, it's SO much fun! You simply get out to where the water is about chest-level deep, and when you see a wave beginning to form, you swim as fast as you can toward the shore. By the time the wave has reached you, it should be cresting, and as long as you're swimming fast enough, you'll catch the wave and actually surf it for a little while. You do need to keep swimming as this happens or you just end up getting rolled into the wave, which isn't as fun as riding one all the way to the beach.)
Anyway, Tyler and I were out there body surfing for a good 40 minutes or so, just having the time of our life! We had caught some pretty great waves and were waiting for another to come when I stepped back on the sand and suddenly felt a very painful, odd sensation. It was like somebody had shoved a nail an inch or two into my heel and squirted something in there. I knew instantly that I had not simply stepped on something sharp, but that something had stung me.
Now before I go on, let me tell you that I am no stranger to injuries on the beach. A few years back, while on a vacation with my family to Cancun, I swam backward into a jellyfish and received a nice maze of tentacle-shaped welts on my upper arm and shoulder. It stung quite a bit - like a bee sting over your entire arm. On another trip to the beach with the family I was swimming around and happened to kick a hellishly jagged crop of rock, effectively cheese-grating the tops of my left toes. That stung as well.
This most recent sting, however, was in a league of it's own. I ran up to the beach in EXCRUCIATING pain. My entire foot was on fire and the wound was bleeding pretty heavily. I hobbled my way over to the towels and asked Mom for some water to wash it off. She handed me a bottle and I rinsed the sand and blood away to find a small, quarter-inch puncture wound from which a rich, winding river of blood poured easily down my foot. Dad walked out to one of the resort hotels on the beach to ask for a band aid, but apparently, when he mentioned that I had a puncture wound on the bottom of my foot, the people knew instantly that it was a stingray attack and called the lifeguard to come out to where we were.
The lifeguard arrived in his jeep and only had to glance at my wound to confirm the truth - I had been stung by a stingray. It obviously wasn't a planned attack, but merely the result of me stepping on the poor creature. I couldn't help but wonder at that time if I had, in fact, seen a stingray earlier in the day, and if, perhaps, it was that exact ray that I stepped on!
Well, the lifeguard wrapped my foot in some gauze to keep sand out, and instructed me to get back to the hotel room asap and submerge my foot in hot water (at least 110 degrees). The ride home was very painful. I honestly can't begin to tell you how much it hurt. Maybe take a bee sting and multiply that by ... like... 200. It's a sharp, deep, stabbing pain accompanied by a horrible burning sensation. Yeah. That's really the best description I can give.
Anyway, when we got back to the room I put my foot into a bucket of hot water and within 20 minutes the pain had subsided to a very reasonable level. After that, my foot only ached a little, and by the next day the pain was practically gone. On occasion, my foot spontaneously bleeds (which is weird) but I'll be fine.
Something like this won't keep me out of the water, but let's hope it's the end of my maritime injuries.
Posted by Bear and Kel at 2:44 PM