This morning I was stung by a scorpion.
We were clearing debris from a creek. One guy was chainsawing logs that had fallen in into smaller pieces, and the rest of us were hauling them away. I grabbed a section that was floating in the water, and felt the sting on my right middle finger a moment before I saw the scorpion crawl out from between the bark and rotten wood.
The pain was immediate. Much worse than a bee sting. It felt like a hot nail had gone through my fingertip and throbbed there. Within minutes, my whole arm went numb and immobile, and everything from the shoulder down was swollen. My right hand was a stiff claw, the skin pale and taught. The barest touch or movement caused a searing feeling down to the bone. And the pain went on for hours. I excused myself, popped several aspirin, and spent the rest of the day with a short-lived lump of ice tied to my now useless arm, learning what tasks I can and cannot do southpaw.
Scorpions won’t kill you. Not here, at least. You’re looking at a good 24 hours of pain and numbness, tops. I got lucky, must have got a mild dose, as the pain is abating now and I’ll be able to sleep after a few more pills. But I’m still typing this one-handed. And that hot nail feeling is still fresh in my mind.
I have a rule that I don’t put my hands anywhere I can’t see. I broke that rule today, and paid the price. Yeah, what were the chances of finding a scorpion underwater, but that’s no excuse. I was careless. I slipped. Next time could be worse. So lesson re-learned.