Thursday, July 24, 2014

Not the getaway we expected

Feeling a little cabin fever, the girls and I decided we'd take a run down to Galveston.
We popped by The Stand to La Kings for some sweets for the girls and the rest who had to stay in town to work.
Then we headed for the sea wall.
The sargassum beat us there.
I had never seen the beaches so completely full of seaweed. There were places they hadn't clear off yet and places they had cleared with walls of seaweed five foot high.

Rotting seaweed stinks in the heat.

We tried a spot on East Beach that had been raked off, but still, they can only get so much up.
Late July, the water was quite warm, we had to venture in up to our waists to feel the cooler water. The girls enjoyed playing in the waves.

They played a little on the sand.

Then Euly's smile disappeared as she let out a muffled scream. Something got her under the water. Ceci helped her hobble our of the water and I could see a spot on her foot was bleeding. I first thought, a crab pinch or puncture by the color. I helped her on the long walk to the car, the one beach we couldn't drive on. 
I rinsed the salt water, blood and seaweed away with water bottle, and noticed it was bluer than I expected. She was in a lot of pain. She was really in a pain panic I had never seen her before. And this girl is tough.

So I texted a pic to Max, Molly and Craig for advice: should we try a clinic in Galveston and was that needed, or go home to get her comfortable? What swims in the water here that could do this and cause her such pain? How worried should I be?
She just said it hurt, hurt real bad. It hurt to the point of tears and near hyperventilation. She squeezed my hand for comfort. I knew this was very painful for her. I tried rescue remedy and nerve tonic, neither helped at all. 

Max called back first and said she'd be ok, nothing deadly. Don't panic.  Molly googled "bites and stings" and compared my pic with what she saw on Internet and decided it was a stingray sting.
This is what she read to me:
Relax. Stingray stings are rarely fatal. Stingray stings are caused by the sharp barb that transmits a protein-based venom. This venom causes extreme pain that will spike and decrease over the next several hours, and often leave cuts and abrasions at the sting site. The pain is most extreme during the first 30-90 minutes after the sting, spiking on and off during this time as well. It is common for a sting to bleed a good bit and swell. Do not over react because this could cause you to feel more pain and possibly die.

Poor girl, spot on.  She was is extreme pain. So, I decided to drive home, not having a key to Max's apartment with me. Advice was to get it under hot water to stop the spread of venom, but I didn't have access until we got home. It should peak in one-two hours, which it did. But the first hour she couldn't talk she was in so much pain. Finally the second hour she could finish a sentence before the pain hit again. Poor dear. 

Euly kept thinking of Steve:

On September 4, 2006 Steve Irwin (aka "The Crocodile Hunter") tragically died when a stingray barb pierced his heart. Steve was very unfortunate since stingray stings are rarely fatal.
My kids were big fans of The Crocodile Hunter.
I promised her that stingrays in Galveston were not near as deadly as in Austrailia.

She was in solid pain for over two hours. Once we got home, Nicholas carried her from the car in to the couch. I was able to get a better look a it. It had swollen quite a bit. Her veins in the area were viewable red, seeing the track of the venom. The wound had swollen shut and stopped bleeding early on, which is a concern for infection if any bacteria was left as it closed.

Euly says no more beach for her, she doesn't plan on getting in those waters again. The only advice googled, if she was to:
Drag or shuffle your feet when you are walking into the water so that you bump into stingrays instead of stepping on top of them. 

I wish I had been able to soak it in hot water, as that would have reduced potency of venom and reduced her pain. 

Day 2 has her still resting on the couch, the wound still swollen shut, the effected area of her foot still swollen. Now the only concern is to watch for signs of infection.

Makes you wonder if stingrays normally accompany a seaweed invasion.


  1. Oh my!
    I'm so sorry!!!

  2. Oh no! Not the get away you hoped for. Praying for Euly!