(photo credit: internet)
The advice we’ve always heard is “shuffle your feet when entering the ocean to avoid stepping on a stingray.” Ummm, it’s right. Even if shuffling looks stupid, and you’ve not seen a single stingray, and dozens of barefoot people have been playing in the surf you’re about to enter without encountering one, just do it! Laurie didn’t shuffle and stepped right on the stinger of what must have been the only stingray hiding on that beach. The feeling is that of having a red hot electrified knife abruptly shoving through the sole of your foot up into your brain then pulsing continuously with shards of electric fire–for 2 hours. We DON’T recommend it!
Both of us are certified Wilderness First Responders so Bruce quickly opened up our textbook. If you or someone near you steps on a stingray, you need to denature the protein of the toxin to get rid of the pain. The quickest way to do that is to soak the injury in as hot water as can be tolerated until the pain goes away. Bruce used 2 large bowls (Laurie has a small foot) that he changed out whenever the pain started intensifying (every few minutes). The process took over 2 hours despite taking narcotic pain medication, an anti-inflammatory, and antihistamines within 5 minutes of being stung. Then there was the stab wound to clean and swelling, blistering, and bruising to deal with. (We won’t include photos of that!)
Remember: SHUFFLE YOUR FEET!