I remember telling a friend early Friday morning that I was not superstitious, but maybe I should be! Or maybe it all was a sign telling me that my messy desk was a good thing. In any case, my Scorpion Adventure began by swiveling to the left in my office chair and planting my foot down to stand up and file yet another paper in the unending supply of fileable papers on my desk. The next thing I know, I have shooting pains in my foot, feeling something similar to grabbing hold of an electric fence. No pleasant, to say the very least. And out of the corner of my eye I see something scurry to just under the garbage bag of shredded papers that I had earlier dumped out of the paper shredder.
It first I thought I might have stepped on a piece of glass or a tack or something, but then the “scurrying creature” registered in my brain and I knew it was scorpion. Panic ensued. Was it an Arizona Bark scorpion? Those are the most venomous in the United States and quite prevalent in Arizona (you suppose that is why they are called ARIZONA bark scorpions?). What should I do? I’m home alone with no vehicle. What if I’m allergic to their sting? Again, what should I do? Already my breathing is quite rapid. Does that mean I’m allergic or is it just adrenaline and panic?
Thankfully, my cousin Roberta had send me information on scorpions earlier this year and what little I retained told me that ICE was a good thing. And we had just recently bought ice packs for our backs. So I hopped to the freezer (by this time the foot is REALLY hurting!), grabbed an ice pack and draped it over the top of my left foot, as it appeared like the sting was on the top of my foot, just below the big toe. The ice helped, marginally, but at the point, marginally was wonderful.
Next was to capture the evil little critter, as I know the first question any medical personnel might ask is, “do you know what type of scorpion it was?” So I grabbed a container, took the top off, and headed back to the office.
Now you might think I’m being pretty cool-headed about all this, but in reality I’m cussing, I’m screaming, tears are streaming because it hurts so much. I made such a fuss that Copper decided to come investigate and when I got to the office, there she was, sniffing around the edge of the garbage bag, where I could see a bit of dark something sticking out from under the bag. A quick positioning of the container, moving of the bag and I had that little sucker. Now keep in mind that through this whole procedure I’m still balancing an ice pack on my left foot, shooing away the cat so she doesn’t chase the scorpion further afield, and terrified that it is going to turn and come my way again! I know, someone should have had a video camera!
So, the scorpion is captured. Since he is much smaller than the two scorpions I saw in the house back in March, I’m pretty certain it is an Arizona Bark scorpion. That causes more concern and a lot more adrenalin to surge, although truthfully, I think my body already has its full quota of adrenaline surging. So, what to do? I’m on chat with a friend, on Skype with Kat & David, all of which is really no help. I try calling my cousin Roberta to see what I should do, but no answer. I call my friend Pat, who lives just up the road, but she doesn’t answer. I try calling Bill at work, but he rarely has cell service and the call didn’t go through. So I decide maybe I should call my doctor’s office and see what they suggest. They tell me to go the ER. Right. And how do I get there? They suggest calling a cab.
Did you know that cab’s are not listed in the Yellow Pages under “Cabs”? And when you are panicking, it it difficult to remember what else a cab it called. Finally I remember they are also taxis and I look under “Taxi.” Yup. There are two services in Sierra Vista. The only thing is, each number connected me to an answering machine. “Please leave a message.” Sure. And I’ll wait for you to call me back … when? So I try Bill again. I get his voice mail. I try his friend Terry. Voicemail. I text Bill and tell him to “CALL ME NOW!” And that seemed to work, as he called almost as soon as I sent the message. I learned later that he never got the message, but he knew his phone was acting weird and since I so rarely call him at work, he thought he might just call and see if everything was okay, so he walked down to a window where the reception was better and did just that. And within 20 minutes he was home, loading me up and taking me to the ER.
By the time I arrived to the ER, it was a full hour after I had been stung. Good thing I wasn’t allergic as I would have died already! After checking in to the ER, we waited. And then we were seen by the initial triage nurse, blood pressure taken, etc. They looked at Mr. Scorpion and said, “Yes, that is an Arizona Bark scorpion, and it looks like it stung you twice.” But they didn’t keep the scorpion, just handed the container back to Bill. And sent us back out to the waiting room with a new ice pack.
Over an hour after arriving, I am taken to an examination room. And I wait. Two hours after arriving, I finally see medical personnel who tell me that there is really nothing they can do for a scorpion sting other than give pain killers. And that the Arizona Bark scorpion sting is the most painful. Duh. Really? So they give me two pills of very heavy duty combination drugs and within about twenty minutes, the pain is receding. Drugs can be oh, so nice. But why didn’t they give them to me two hours ago???
One tetanus shot, two prescriptions and three hours later, I am released to go home. They didn’t even clean off the sting area, which is probably just as well as any pressure there was quite painful. My instructions are to take pain killers as needed (and they were needed!), ice twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off, and rest. In 12 – 24 hours, the pain should be mostly gone, although the tingling and numbness may persist for several days.
Friday night was the worst for the pain. I was definitely grateful for the valium, which allowed me to sleep six hours. By Saturday morning, the pain was mostly gone, but the drugs definitely had me quite unsteady on my feet. I spent most of Saturday reclining in a chair or taking naps. By afternoon the pain was gone, but even today, three days later, the foot still tingles and has numb areas and I notice the whole foot sort of burning when I am on my feet for any length of time. In fact, when I finish this post it will be time to head back to the recliner and put the foot up for a bit.
A pest control service has been called and they will come out tomorrow morning to treat inside and outside the house. So far, we’ve not seen any more scorpions, but we are not walking around the house barefoot either! Where there is one, there is likely to be more than one!
Here’s a snippet from Wikipedia:
The bark scorpion is the most venomous scorpion in North America, and its venom can cause severe pain (coupled with numbness and tingling) in adult humans, typically lasting between 24 to 72 hours. Temporary dysfunction in the area stung is common; e.g. a hand or possibly arm can be immobilized or experience convulsions. It also may cause the loss of breath for a short period of time. Due to the extreme pain induced, many victims describe sensations of electrical jolts after envenomation.
I’ve saved most of the drugs the hospital prescribed and the next time (hopefully there will NEVER be a next time) I will save myself the expense and interminable ER wait and just ice down the sting and take heavy duty painkilling drugs. That is if the sting is in an extremity. I think if it were closer to the core of the body, that there might be more issues and I might appreciate some medical expertise close at hand!
Oh, and Mr. Scorpion? He is still in the container, awaiting a viewing by the pest control service technician. And then his next abode will be the center of a paperweight, as soon as I can acquire the necessary ingredients to encase him!
When is the next Friday the Thirteenth? September 2013. With any luck, by that date I will be living far, far away from any scorpions!
P.S. This post definitely will not be going under the category “Amore Arizona.”