Ecuador Part 2

IMG_6027Everything was going perfectly.   For the first two days of our time at the beach, Liam and I were relaxed and having the greatest vacation ever.  We planned on continuing like this for the duration of the trip.  We woke up the third day (I think it was the third day) and went down for breakfast.  Liam’s family had already been awake for awhile and his brother was taking surfing lessons.  The surf instructor warned Liam’s dad about the sting rays because he was stung that morning.  So Liam’s dad warned us too. IMG_1429We changed into our bathing suits and spent the morning in the ocean.  I loved the waves because they were so big and I had never swam in waves that size.  Liam’s parents were sitting on the beach so we decided to take a break from the ocean and go see them.  As we were on our way to the beach, I felt an extremely sharp pain in my ankle.  “Something just pinched me!” I said to my boyfriend.  He told me I probably stepped on a rock.  However, when I held my foot up it was dripping with blood.  We made it to his parents on the beach and by this time my foot was really hurting and bleeding pretty bad.IMG_5891It’s hard to describe the pain that I felt then.  It feels like it was such a long time ago.  However, I remember it was the worst pain I have ever felt.  It seems like it would only hurt like a flesh wound, but the venom that got inside the veins hurt incredibly bad.  It was slowly spreading up my leg, and I guess it sort of felt like dead leg and sharp pain at the same time.  When we got to Liam’s parents I was sat in a chair and suddenly alone.  Liam ran back to our room to get me a shirt and flip-flops, his mom ran to the ocean to get salt water to dump on the sting, and his dad went to get the surf instructor to identify what we later learned was a sting of a stingray.IMG_6055While I was alone a couple surfers came over to comfort me. They saw I was in distress and tried to calm me down.  One of them pointed to his foot and several different places and told me he had been stung multiple times.   Maybe that was slightly comforting.IMG_7949Then, all at once, everyone was back, and everything was happening.  I was trying not to cry, Liam’s mom was dumping water on my ankle, people were trying to comfort me, someone was calling a taxi, people were shouting “Hospital!” Liam was pulling a t shirt over my head, and soon we were on our way to a taxi that basically pulled up on the beach.  The taxi ride was the longest part.
Waiting… as the venom spread up my leg and there was nothing I could do about it.IMG_2888We pulled up at the hospital, which was actually a one room building, more like a clinic.  Once inside I was directed to a hospital bed covered in sand.  We spread a beach towel across it and I hopped up.   First, the nurse irrigated the sting.  Then, she had to put a local anesthetic in my ankle.  This completely freaked me out because the idea of a needle going somewhere so boney seemed like it would hurt a ton!  It did.  I couldn’t see it when it was happening because Liam was holding me down, but he could see.  He told me it was freaky the way the nurse had to move the needle around while it was in my skin.  The pain was dulled immensely after that.IMG_4461The doctor came over next and said they had to give me a shot directly into my vein.  First she wanted to do it in my hip, I said no.  I asked if they could please put it in my arm.  However, the doctor couldn’t find my vein, which I should have known because my small, deep veins have kept me from donating blood many times.  So she suggested my foot which made me freak out again.  She settled on giving me the shot through my hand and I was not happy about it, but it happened and I was better for it.IMG_5991As quickly as we entered the clinic, we were leaving. It felt better if I walked on my foot, so I  spent a lot of time on my feet that night.IMG_1806Liam wanted a tattoo very bad, and me getting stung gave him an excuse to get one.  He used the sting ray art that we saw on a wall as inspiration.IMG_0767IMG_6821IMG_3179IMG_8032Getting stung hurt a lot.  But in-between all the agony I realized something.  While I was suffering on the beach, no one turned away or minded their own business.  Everyone wanted to help me.  By the time I was in the taxi, at least ten locals were seeing us off.  And I truly believe they wanted me to be okay. At the clinic, there was no waiting around.  I was helped immediately.  The clinic wasn’t the kind of medical center I’m used to going to, however there was definitely something to be learned there.  It was a place about humans helping humans.  Paper work, politics and everything else came second when I was there.  I am thankful I was stung in Ecuador instead of somewhere else, because who knows how long I would have had to wait before getting help.IMG_4838IMG_9356This is a picture of Liam and his brother that I took before we left Balsa Surf Camp.   Montañita is truly the greatest place in the entire world.  Our visit wasn’t just fun and games, but we had quite an experience and I’m glad it didn’t happen any other way.  We headed out soon after I was stung, stayed in Guayaquil for a night, then headed to Cuenca.  Part 3 will be about our time there!

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