So you used a small net to scoop some little brown jelly fish out of the surf, thinking, "No problem." But they have big cousins!
This is what one man found out when he had a spontaneous waltz with a Portuguese man’o’war, which is as little recommended as having an epileptic fit in a roll of barbed wire.
“If I had gone in when there was nobody about to help me, I would not have been able to get out of the water,” said 58-year-old, Javier Diaz de Guereñu from Tolosa, adding, “Without doubt it was the worse day of my life.
This encounter occurred around seven in the evening, on a Tuesday around the middle of last month in the bay of Santander. His wife, having heard that these bichos were about, she opted for the municipal pool but Javier preferred the sea.
He made sure that there were no hazard flags flying and then entered the water. He was intending to swim out to the island in the bay, but then thought better of it – it’s a good job that he didn’t!
After about half an hour, keeping a wary eye out, he decided to swim on his back a bit, which was when he felt an excruciating, almost paralysing, pain all over his back and down one side. It felt like one continuous electric shock. He immediately turned over, changed direction and headed back to the beach opposite the Red Cross post.
They sat him down to removed the tentacles which were still all over his back, during which he started to convulse. The Lifeguards followed the protocol by carefully removing them but it was taking too long so he asked people in the gathered crowd to put gloves on and help the volunteers to get it over with quicker. In the meantime, children were running up with buckets of seawater to wash over him. Within minutes an ambulance with paramedics on board arrived.
The paramedics put him on oxygen, gave him several injections and administered painkillers. Then the next thing he remembered was that he was in a hospital gown, but the pain remained, forcing him sometimes to cry out. Things improved when they put him through a 45ºC shower for ten minutes, then they put him on a bed with ice, which is when the pain eased off.
Five doctors and ten nurses attended to him at Hospital Donostia before he was tucked in for the night in the Observation Ward. Around four in the morning they stop giving him painkillers and at eight he was discharged. He was told to stay out of the sun for the next few months.
(News/Noticias: Santander, Basque Lands)