I knew about the scorpions, because the very first day I moved into my new home, I lifted a coil of garden hose in the washroom, and a big black scorpion scurried out from underneath. Fortunately, it was scurrying away from me.
I researched. Interestingly, it is hard to find specific and comprehensive information about scorpions. I followed a couple of local blog chats for a while to get basic info about avoiding them, but after I learned that the venom of the Belizean species is generally not lethal, I kind of dropped worrying about them off my to do list. Occasionally I saw them in the house and the washroom. Once, when I was reading on the veranda and looked down, a scorpion was sleeping between my feet. It was pale eggshell color, flat, approximately 2″ long. I killed that one. Too close to my sleeping area.
Two days ago, after returning from my usual night walk with Lizzy just before bedtime, I shook off my flip-flops on the veranda, and stepped into the dark living room, barefoot. It felt like I put my whole body weight on a shard of broken glass. I screamed and scrambled to the light switch. When I turned on the light, there was nothing on the floor. I checked my foot under my toes, but I did not see any marks or cuts. No blood either, even though the pain was shockingly intense. A couple of minutes later, my tongue started to tingle; that’s when I knew that I had stepped on a scorpion.
Soon, my tongue, lips, hands and feet went completely numb, and I had severe stomach cramps. My entire inside was trembling, which might have been the result of the full-blown panic attack I was experiencing because of the numbness. There’s no medical care facility I know of close to where I live in Maya Beach, let alone in the middle of the night. I was up all night, and kept reminding myself that Belizean scorpions are not lethal.
I went to work an hour late the next day, shaky and still numb. The symptoms did not get worse, but they did not ease, either. My local coworkers reassured me that what I was experiencing were, indeed, the usual symptoms of a scorpion sting. That ended my panic; all I had to do was ride it out for the predicted two days.
“Don’t get bit again”, my trusted Belizean colleague called after me, smiling, as I was walking out of work for the weekend. “And if you do, put vinegar on it immediately”, she added.
Everyone I had told my story first acted concerned, but then laughed at me. Funny. Either they don’t like me very much, or they just initiated me into an exclusive Central American club: Stung by Scorpion.