As is typical in new construction, the countryside, and Texas - we've got scorpions and lots of them. Since the weather's warmed, they've started pouring out from beneath baseboards at night and scuttling out from under cabinets. They scurry across the floor ready to attack, with tails hanging forward over their bodies, swinging every which way. Although I understand the very real possibility I will step on one in the middle of the night during a trip to the bathroom, I don't waste much time feeling terrorized. Since I'd never been stung, I assumed it was equivalent to a bee sting, and the little critters themselves don't scare me - much.
Maybe that's why I've been pretty thoughtless about the places I reach into with an un-gloved hand. Like, for example, the covered outdoor faucet near the chicken coop. You know, the kind of dark and damp space that attracts scorpions. Maybe that's why I felt it was perfectly acceptable to remove the cover of the faucet compartment and, without looking, reach my hand down to the faucet, wrapping my fingers firmly around it.
As soon as my fingers touched the underneath of the faucet, the tip of my middle finger was pierced by something- the pain of which immediately throbbed and pulsed through my hand, up my arm. I could feel it in my neck. A quick look down affirmed the culprit, as a small flash of brown with pincers ran across the dirt. Without thinking I resorted to my go-to, fall-back response to shock and pain. I screamed a scream of 1,000 screams. Remember the scene from the last Harry Potter movie when Voldemort's disembodied voice calls out through the Great Hall? Remember that little girl in the corner who screamed, and screamed, and screamed? Yea, that was me, last night. When the screaming ended I looked around to find 40 some-odd animals completely startled and at full attention. The cows stood, mid-cud-chew on the fence line, ears forward and eyes round in horror. All six donkeys lined up behind them with mouths hanging open. Only Boo could muster a puny hee-haw, like a question, "Mom - what the hell?" My dogs came bounding from the porch and jumped and whined around my legs. The 20 chicks sprinted into the coop and peeked out from beneath their ladder.
After gathering my remaining wits, I stumbled into the house and was repeatedly surprised at the strength of the toxin that felt like it was thundering in my arm with each heart beat. If you need assurance you're alive, let a scorpion sting your hand. You'll feel it. I called Jer who laughed and said I had officially crossed over into becoming a legit country dweller (I kinda thought that already happened when I bought the cows, the land and, you know, started to dwell in the country). He told me to keep it iced, take a deep breath, get over it. So I did all that (Minus the "getting over it." That's not my style). On my way back outside, hand wrapped in ice, I spotted my beloved bottle of Maker's Mark on the counter. In cowboy movies, don't people always take a swig of whiskey before having their legs lopped off or bullets removed? I felt this justified a shot of bourbon and was sure it would dull the pain. Verdict: The hand throbbed all night, and the bourbon just made me sleepy. The best remedy for the pain of a scorpion sting is to not get stung. Simple stuff. It goes without saying that I will be shod in gloves and boots now, for the duration.