The day was finally over. We had had lots of hard and interesting work, but no new animals or releases. So I was happy to sit in my hammock. I reached for the railing to give myself a push, but when I grabbed it, there was something under my hand, and then it happened… BOOM! A huge pain in my palm, then my fingers and wrist, and I knew I’d been stung by something but I didn’t know what. It was like a needle was set in a fire, and then jabbed 2 inches deep in my hand. I searched the railing and saw a huge, black ant.
I calmly made my way downstairs to ask Siobhan for any cream, when the pain hit me in a wave far more painful than the last. I started to tear up as we walked down to the animal hospital. We passed Sarah and Andrés cleaning Mickey's cage, another wave hit me, my hand started shaking, my fingers are numb, and at this point I’m crying, not sobbing but crying. We entered the hospital and got some cooling cream as the area around the bite was red hot. Again another wave hit me, and another, worse and worse each time.
I held an ice pack to the sting, my whole body tense, and to deal with the pain started shoving my head into the table and whaling louder than I ever have before. It went on like this for around five to six minutes. The waves eventually come less frequently, the pain slowly subsiding. Swelling had gone down but it was still hot to the touch and hurt more than a bee sting for a little over three hours.
As the night goes on I talked to my family and my aunt reminded me of the time when we were planning our trip, and we watched the Coyote Peterson bullet ant video (see link at the end). We had said that would really suck if we got stung and laughed it off. If I hadn’t had the people around me to help I don’t know what I would have done. I now can say I’ve been stung by the most painful insect in the animal kingdom. But in my opinion, it was not worth it…
Thank you so much for reading! Yes this really happened to me and it was the most painful thing I’ve ever felt and probably will ever feel. Just to let you know, my Facebook has not been working, so until I get that fixed please just contact me through my mom and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can, or send me an email through my contact page!
Here's the video. If you just want to see the sting, skip to 13:02, but I'd watch the whole video if you have time.
So most of my posts have been sentimental and really descriptive, but this time I'm going to just write about some of the experiences I’ve been having. Hope you enjoy!
After joining the vet team I've had some once in a lifetime experiences.
The first one I want to talk about is something I didn’t think I’d ever do, an autopsy! Granted it was on a toucan but I counted it. I took samples, and handed people tools, but it was one of the most interesting things I've ever done and would definitely do it again.
The second is WALKING A SLOTH. I got to walk a sloth named Mickey. He's one of the most loved, if not the most loved animal here so it was an honor for me to escort him. I basically let him hang on my chest while I walked him to the young trees by the compost. I let him climb as much as he wanted, without letting him get higher than my reach. It was SO cool and will remember it forever.
The third and final one for this post was definitely working with Lenny. Lenny is a baby opossum and is the animal I've bonded the most with. The biggest thing I did for him was create his new home. The vet team recently put one of our birds in a bigger enclosure, so I took the opportunity and re-purposed the old cage. It was harder than I thought: I had to clean, then disinfect, then clean his cage again. Then I had to do the same for new branches, blankets, and other things for the cage that had been used before. In the end his cage was about 3-4 times bigger than the last one, had way more enrichment, and was overall the biggest upgrade he could have asked for. I tried to improve his living area as much as I could because he's due to be released some time in this month. I'm so happy for him, yet I will be so sad to see him go.
Pitter-pat, pitter-pat. The rain falls over the roof while I sit in my hammock watching Netflix. Pitter-pat, pitter-pat. The clouds growl at me as the thunder gets closer. Pitter-pat, pitter-pat. The lightning strikes brighter than a million suns. Pitter-pat, pitter pat. The sounds of the rain pounding in the roof is soothing. Pitter-pat, pitter-pat.
I wake up I have one thing on my mind, today. Today I leave for Costa Rica. As I get ready to go, my dog Lupin looks very concerned. He has his ears pinned back, and tail between his legs. We leave and I painfully say goodbye to the dogs, then my room. Suddenly it becomes goodbye house, goodbye driveway. Before I knew it we were on Highway 280 heading to the airport.
We park and head into the airport, all goes well until we have some complications getting my boarding pass, this than that. An hour passes and we finally get it, we head to security and then I realized I wont see my dad for another three months. I tear up as we leave field of view waving to each other.
We start out the trip by walking the wrong way and waste around 10-15 mins (great start right?). We get to the gate close to the boarding time, but we have enough time to get some donuts and coffee for Mom. They call over the speaker each zone to board, and all I can think about is how even with all the delays this was one of the quickest moments of my life. We board the plane. It moves to the runway. I feel the thrust of the engines pushing me towards the next chapter of my life. Wheels up. Goodbye Minnesota.
I hear the sound of birds chirping, and wind blowing, all I can think about is how beautiful this area is. I get dressed and unzip the tent with my book in hand. Today is the first day of climbing on the Seagull Palisades. I was here the year before so I know the wall, the rock hard like bones, the cracks deep and thin. I’m usually the first one up so I’m surprised to see Emory reading his book out at the point. I say "Good Morning" and quietly sit down with my book, its setting is in the wild, so I feel like I'm in the book. As the rest of the campers wake up we start making breakfast. We had picked fresh blueberries the day before so we all decided on blueberry pancakes. They looked so amazing i could barely hold myself from eating all the pancakes!
As we canoe over to the crag (climbing wall) my heartbeat steadily increases. We reach the wall, the counselors set up the anchors as we look over the lake. The horizon stretches farther than my eyes can see. the water is glistening like a mirror, the sky as blue as a baby's eyes, the clouds like a painting, and the trees like giants.
We start gearing up: Shoes, harness, helmet, and tape. I’m ready to climb more than I ever had before. Ready to go, I yell the commands, "Helmet tight, knots tied correctly harness cant be pulled off, shoes on." I start climbing. My fingers on the wall, My legs are stretched across the face, and my mind finding the next move, my fingers burning, my legs shaking but I keep going. There's a certain drive but I can't put a finger on it, it pushes me forward without a second thought. As I get closer and closer to the top, I realize, I’m home.
Hello readers, this is my first post on the site. I'm not in Costa Rica yet, but I wanted to test out the site. I hope you enjoyed reading!