Friday, February 27, 2009

The Jellyfish

There are two things that are a part of my official "I will not let that happen to me in this lifetime" list.
#1) Agreeably letting a friend pee on me #2) Getting stung in jellyfish infested waters. I can now cross both of those off the list. I've always admired the beauty of the jellyfish but NEVER did I expect to ever be caught up in the ocean with one!

I had a bit of a rough start once we got to Penang. The six of us hiked 2 hours to a secluded beach called "Turtle Beach." We had heard from a passerby that there were jellyfish in the waters and to be careful if we planned on swimming. Of course, during the 2 minutes I actually entered the water (hardly waist deep) I felt the sharpest pain on my right thigh, then on my left thigh and on my foot. It was like being electrocuted! After only about a minute and a half, both of my thighs started swelling up with pink blisters. It looked and felt similar to what happens after a bad burn. I wasn't able to identify the jellyfish at the time, but the most common species in Penang is the Chrysaora Quinquecirrha jellyfish. Although their stings are not lethal, the toxins emitted from their tentacles are poisonous and cause temporary paralysis. I was fortunate to be so close to the shore!

Locals helped out by spreading plant aloe over the stings

I know we've all heard at one point or another that the best remedy for a jellyfish sting is pee, right? Well...Mike was gracious enough to relieve himself over my blistered legs. I must say that no matter what the circumstance, you just cannot help but laugh at the sight of a friend rushing over to save the day with urine! It was only after this that I discovered that the whole 'urine antidote' idea is a total myth. In fact, it actually has the opposite effect because it releases more of the jellyfish venom from the wound- whoops! (Clearly none of us knew this at the time).

Learning Experience. Great Story. I'm a Jellyfish Survivor.

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