Sun, Surf and a Sting

Living on the southeast coast of the United States, when February comes along and the thermometer reads 70 degrees, it’s hard to pass up the urge to call in sick from work.   Better yet, ask your girlfriends from the northeast to visit and they can call into work too!  Make your own three day weekend holiday to celebrate good weather.

Everyone wants to come as long as the airports don’t announce snow cancellations in their cities.  They arrive without delay Thursday evening.  Bathing suits and flip-flops are packed under the socks and sweaters necessary for the trip home.

Friday morning we get an early start to the beach.  All set up with lounge chairs, an umbrella, and a cooler packed with lunch and drinks.  One can only think “this is living the life”.

The beach is not crowded because it’s a weekday, and there is only one lifeguard in sight.  The winds and sea are calm.  It’s easy to find a good spot, and we set are situated. Back in the day before I was introduced to a tentacle, the beach flags never caught my attention.


Within an hour we all start feeling the burn of the sun.  Pale from the winter months it doesn’t take much to start turning red.  We head for the water to cool off and are wading close to the shore.  Then it happened, I felt a terrible pain on my thigh, then on my knee, and another close to my ankle.  Afraid to look because I thought surely I must have been attacked by a shark!  I peeked and didn’t see any blood, and I didn’t see anything swimming close by.  I made my way out of the water and there were big blotches stinging like a hot iron on my right leg.  Thankful that I had a leg, I stayed calm.

The lifeguard was prepared to administer first aid.  The first thing he did was pat the area with sand and sea water.  It didn’t help.  He then rinsed the stings off,  patted them dry and applied a cream.  It didn’t help either. He suggested taken an internal analgesic and getting out of the sun.  We quickly packed up and headed home.

Please take note that the color flag for marine life is purple.  To remember this just think of “purple people eaters”.   It took weeks for the largest sting on my thigh to feel better, and the scar stayed for at least one year.  The lifeguard said it was a Portuguese man-of-war that stung me.  A big clue that these things are out there is, if you get to a beach and everyone is staying on the sand, check the flags.

As the story goes, all in all, it was a good time with good friends. We spent most of our dinner that evening thinking up what kind of illnesses would cause severe sunburn.  Monday morning the bosses would be puzzled over that Friday sick day.

At times a little fib is ok 🙂













tentacle, girl sea