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Scorpion scares

Dear Sir,

As the industrious farmers of Chapala plow the ever-expanding areas of dry lake shore for new plantings, our attention necessarily turns to the scorpions this activity sends into our homes.

Mine has seen an inundation, despite strenuous efforts to seal all detectable cracks and openings, including sink and tub drains, and douse perimeters with HomeDefense and a Mexican product (whose name I forget) that is supposedly even more effective.

Two nights ago, at 1 a.m., I experienced a close encounter with an especially ferocious scorpion from a most unlikely source: toilet paper I had just torn and folded and applied to a part of my anatomy that routinely comes in contact with toilet paper. My wife says I am not to be more explicit, out of a sense of public decency, despite my expectation that disclosure would cause general mirth among your readers.

Suffice it to say, I experienced intense, sharp, penetrating fiery pain, abruptly dropping said toilet paper into the bowl and leaping about the bathroom and bedroom amid screams that woke my wife and created pandemonium as the pain waves intensified every few seconds. I’d liken them to lowering yourself onto the hot plate of an electric stove set to “high.”

Involuntary yelping, hissing and screaming as each spasm arrived, wave upon wave, continued for the next seven hours, gradually becoming less frequent but then expanding to a nearby unmentionable part of my anatomy which turned purple and responded with a sensation of constant fire that would not let up even for a second, for nearly an hour.

All this despite administration of hydrocodone, ibuprofen, Benadryl, icepacks replenished by my wife as I writhed on the bed. Nothing worked (we suspect the hydrocodone had lost efficacy due to its expiration date having been exceeded long ago). We persevered through the hours because my wife had had a scorpion bite on her thigh several months before without anything like this depth of sustained agony.

I go into all this detail because the experience taught us two critical things we do not think everyone knows about scorpion bites.

Number 1: Dr. Garcia at Maskaras Clinic, who was able to quickly end my suffering with two injections, told us it is vital to get medical attention within two hours, even at 1 a.m.

Number 2: This scorpion had secreted itself on the underside of at least the second layer of rolled toilet paper in our bathroom, and thus was invisible to a casual glance, even after I had torn off and folded several sheets (the first application was routine and uneventful, the scorpion struck on the second application, so it was apparently able to cling securely inside, underneath and out of sight as the roll rotated to deliver the second occurrence of tear-and-fold).

Interesting factoid: Dr. Garcia told us scorpions take four days after stinging and eating their prey to fully energize maximum toxin potency, which explains why my wife’s experience was so different from mine – her scorpion had presumably just had a meal and was striking more out of instinct than need, while mine must have been ravenous from not eating for about four days.

This episode has revolutionized the way we conduct all bathroom visits, night and day. We scrutinize the toilet paper as we use it, and recommend that others do the same.

It’s a little late for us to benefit from the Cruz Roja session on scorpions at LCS, but we’re going anyway!

Jim Dickinson, Tlachichilco

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