Nevermind the chiles and tequila, last night I got a real taste of Mexico.
He stung me on my way back from dinner. We were just getting back to the marina, walking through a field, it had been after a rain, and it was night. These little guys don't have much in life, and what they do have gets often flooded so they come out to look around and see what they can see, and find what they're able, and if some big blind ass such as yours truly happens to step on them while they're at their workplace, well, being no lowly grub nor beetle, they can do something about it.
He was probably facing the trail, waiting for something good to happen and I probably stepped on his head. He stung me on my left foot, just aft of my little toe, and I knew immediately that something had hit me. I hopped onto my right foot and side-stepped away from the ankle-high grass and within 15 seconds I started feeling the spirit of the scorpion driving up through my ankle. It was an electric and smoky feel, a bit like a good single malt, only not sweet at all. Within about a minute I could feel it in my arms and my tongue began to have a slightly electric feel. The sensation wrapped, like electric vines, around the back of my head and jaw. It was happening incredibly fast, so I went into a little office nearby, and we let the security guards know what was up - snake or scorpion - and we needed local knowledge.
My mother was in town visiting, my wife was with me, and the two security guards were there, but despite such a great posse backing me up I still started the timer on my watch so I could gauge the speed of the anaphylactic shock I was tumbling into. Plus I could give the doctor something precise, if a hospital trip was in my future. But as my hand left the watch, about 3 minutes after being stung, the shaking started and the tingling began to get more intense. Histamines were spraying from my cells like water sprinklers on the lawn, and I could feel the tightening in my throat and jaw. Not into the idea of someone cutting open my throat and sticking a tube down my chest so I could breathe, we loaded up in a taxi (I don't know how it arrived so fast) and the next thing I knew I was talking with the driver, my foot elevated on the dashboard.
I told the cab driver what happened in my crappy spanish, "Me picó un escorpión, creo."
"Es la sensación de hormigueo en la lengua?"
Si, señor, my tongue is tingling. And as I tell him this I realize that I'm starting to sweat, my shirt is soaking, and that my teeth are chattering.
"¿Cuándo ocurrió esto?"
Looking at my watch it changes colors and suddenly I've got my hand on the wall of the door (WHERE'S THE CAB?) as I lurch into the hospital waiting room, at General, up on Zaragoza or something, and I go to lay down on the floor. Foot. I should keep it elevated for a while, I guess. The people all start staring at the big gringo that's weirdly laying on the hospital floor with his heel on the seat of his chair but I want to elevate it and I'm glad we're at the hospital and my wife and mother indicate it's time to walk, so I get off the floor, real slow, and as soon as I'm on my feet the security guard comes and grabs me by the elbow, and hard (WHAT THE HELL?? i think, IS IT ILLEGAL TO LIE ON THE FLOOR - CHRISTALMIGHTY, I'M SICK ALREADY, AND I NEED HELP. WHY IS THIS RENT-A-COP TRYING TO ARREST ME?) so I bend my arm in a rehearsed karate move, step out of his grip and stand back with a fist rolled up and my wife appears in my vision and she tells me to cool out and the cop or whoever reels back away and we stumble down the nightmare phosphorescent hallway with geurnseys being rolled past by hospital staff, all of them seem to have scales on their faces. other people are wearing masks and the walls are dripping a black-light blue and the floors are checkered black and white like a dance club and, goddam, I'm shaking so hard now I can hardly walk and my teeth are really rattling in my head so that's about all that I can hear, and my breathing some, and my wife's face appears in my vision from time to time then a nurse is trying to stick something sharp into my arm and didn't even tell me what it was so I push the cart away then there's the doctor in my face and all I can muster is "What is it?" Something about histamines and glucose and tetracycline and I say "Would you call me stupid if I did not take it?" and as soon as the question leaves my mouth I roll through another washboard of rattles and sweat is flying from my face so I give the doc a thumb-in-the-air and my wife seems pretty concerned so I must look bad. I'm now on my back, intravenous plugged in (already I didn't need his response, though he was kind enough to give it) and I'm cooling off and heating up and my throat is tight and it's getting hard to breathe.
Yeah, I'm glad we came to the hospital.
Dripper in the arm, I'm convulsing hard enough that the steel-frame fold-out bed is rattling around underneath me like a grocery cart on a little dirt road. I just keep on rolling, starting to bang around now, getting air off the bed, and the death feeling comes a bit now and I figure that if I'm gonna take a flight out of here I might as well tell my wife I love her (out of my head, I see her lovely feathers, I have no doubt, and the sun seems to rise as her eyes turn towards me) and there's water all around me and I feel holy, but cold. I'm reminded of Snowden, in Catch 22, because I'm so cold. I pass out with a sheet, dripping, over my chest.
It's was a very physical experience. He was little, but he was really tough, and potent.
I've heard, third-hand, of people being stung by scorpions that have died, and I've heard of people that insist that drinking tequilla is a good remedy, and my sister-in-law tells me that she personally knows of someone that got stung by a scorpion, drank tequilla, and died (of course, that was in Costa Rica, so the tequilla probably wasn't very good). I've also heard people say that a scorpion can't kill you, but after my night in the hospital I'd be hard pressed to agree with that. Death seemed a possibility. An outside one, but still, I got a bit spooked. I'm lucky to be healthy and being almost two meters tall probably doesn't hurt much either, even if little Scorp's present is a neurotoxin, which affects the brain not the muscles. I don't know how it all worked, but it worked quite well.
Come morning I walk back to where I got stung to see if I'd killed him when I stepped on him. I'm hoping to find him and collect him and put him in a little glass dome. But he's gone. I look around and a dove jumps out of the grass and I nearly piss myself. No, I don't like being here, near the grass. My body is like a horse that's spooky. I took the photo, at the top of this page, from his little perspective, and then walked hastily back to my boat.
But, it's hard to walk. I'm staggering around alot today, my hips seem weak, soft, and sometimes I nearly collapse, but I'm carrying a gaff hook, a bit like a big cane. This poison's supposed to take a few days before it wears off. I'm still waiting for my super-powers to kick in. Presumably I'll be fluent in Spanish, will have a long and deadly tail, a chitinous shell, and will spend more time up late at night.
But for now all I have is an electrical sensation on my tongue and a numb foot.