Day 3 of our Myrtle Beach vacation, it was promising to reach close to 100 degrees. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to hit the beach. Having golfed the day before, and still exhausted from the aftermath that was an 11 hour trip (including plane and car travel) I did little preparation the night prior that would get me, my husband, and 2 kids to the shore in a timely manner. The kids were up early, which helped in terms of time allotted, but not in terms of time management. My dad went out before we even got up to reserve 2 umbrellas so we would not have to rush. While it was comforting, it didn’t help me out the door anytime soon. I struggled to get the kids and me in bathing suits, pack towels, diapers, sun block, drinks, formula, bottles, baby food, toys, etc, etc, etc as the minutes of the morning ticked by, in addition to the kids’ general morning rituals (breakfast would be good). In the end we managed to get packed and ready and drove to the beach.
This was Sofia’s first real trip to the beach, and she was in respectful awe of the ocean (OK, I might have scared her a little bit with my warnings of the undertow) and glee at the wealth of sand at her disposal. It was not long at all before she was COVERED in sand and joyfully running about the beach with the adults in my company taking turns following her around. Early on I took Dominic’s first shift.
It was with a sigh of relief that I watch my son fall into his first nap. I was feeling the heat of the day and took off for the ocean. It’s been some time since I’ve visited the beach, and I welcomed the warmth of the southern Atlantic with open arms. The South Carolina waters are much warmer this time of year than what I’m used to in RI/MA. I was only about waist deep, but bent down enough to cover the majority of my torso in the warm water. I leaned into the waves, and braced myself against the powerful undertow with each pulse of the water. I was in heaven.
Until….I felt a sharp pain on my arm that felt something similar to several bee stings all at once on my right arm. I struggled in pain to find my footing on the ocean floor, stood up, and grasped my arm. I never saw what had grabbed onto me, but I had a fairly good idea what it could have been. I made my way to the shore grasping my arm and my eyes found my way to my husband. I called his name for help, and he gave me a you’re-SOL look as he chased after my daughter down the beach, who clearly during my frolicking in the water was occupying much of his time by NOT following direction.
As I grasped my arm in pain, a kind stranger on the beach said, “Looks like a jelly fish got you. Go see the life guard, he’ll know what to do.” I passed my father on the way, who reiterated this point of fact. I reached the young stud (no other word to describe him), who was working the chair closest to me, and held out my arm asking for help with much drama, as though I had been the only person in the world to ever experience this horrible travesty. Without a blink he grabbed his spray bottle, sprayed my arm, and said quite methodically, “Get yourself some vinegar and water and spray it on it every few hours. It’s going to hurt, then get itchy. It’s probably going to bother you all night.”
Are you kidding me??? This happens so frequently that you’re prepared for this in a spray bottle??? As I sat under the umbrella with a Carona, nursing my wound, I started to take notice of all the other people visiting his chair with the same (I have to say much minor in severity) problem. There were SO MANY people that got stung by jellyfish that day. Nowhere in the area was there a sign alerting us to this impending danger. A week later, I was in Concord (Charlotte Carolina suburb) visiting with family and the wound was only getting worse. The inflammation and burning/itching feeling were unbearable. I wound up getting a steroid (the story of my northern bitchiness versus southern sass of the urgent care administrator is forthcoming) from an urgent care facility and am still healing to this day, two weeks later.
One thing is for sure, I have a new respect for these faceless creatures. I never saw it, but its tentacles actually left marks on my arm that I fear are going to scar. I’m not sure I’m going to be so willing to jump into the ocean in the near future. Great…here’s another paranoia I’m going to have to be cognizant NOT to pass on to my children. I’m still working on getting over spiders!!! At least this one is seasonal.