Bad Start to the Day

This morning, I got stung by this little f*cker in the shower

I have been stung by fire ants and bees and wasps but nothing hurt as much as this sting.  Right now, my entire foot is pins and needles (not numb, but the painful feeling when your circulation returns) and the toe that got stung really aches.  I also have other weird symptoms like dry mouth.  I also have pins and needles on my tongue and everything I eat or drink tastes funny.

I am lucky -- my wife got numbness and pins and needs all the way up her thigh from a sting on the foot, and she didn't regain full use of her leg for three days.

I know I will get commenters encouraging a call to poison control.  We have called before.  There is nothing to do short of just gutting it out  (unless one goes into shock, where there is an anti-venom but there are downsides to using it).

Update: The pins and needles have moved halfway up my calf.  This reminds me of those adventure stories (e.g. Lonesome Dove) where one of the characters has gangrene moving up his leg and there is great suspense as to whether they will get to a doctor in time before it reaches his torso.

Update #2:  The tingling is up to my knee now (remember, the sting was in my little toe).  My whole mouth has that acidic taste, like biting on aluminum foil, and my vision is a bit jumpy.  Given the trivial volume of venom that I received, this is nasty stuff.

Update #3: Up to mid-thigh now.   My teeth have pins and needles too.  Is that even possible?

Update #4: Walking is interesting.  Think of the worst pins and needles you ever had after regaining circulation, and how it hurt to move that limb at first, and that is what walking feels like.  It's odd to me that a toxin can mimic the exact same feeling as that of circulation returning.  I suppose some medical type might be able to explain this.  By the way, though it does freaking hurt, I am trying to treat this with levity because I know it will go away eventually.   I don't want to insult people who deal with true disabilities or chronic pain by whining too much.

Update #5: My hands now have pins and needles too.

Update #6: Its now 10 hours after the fact.  My entire leg is still all pins and needles but the pain at the spot where the sting occurred is greatly reduced.  My hands still are both tingling and my eyesight is still jumpy

Final Update: When I woke up Saturday morning, I felt vastly better.  However, I still had tingling in my stung foot as well as both hands.  The tingling finally went away entirely about 30 hours after the sting.  Unlike other kinds of bites or stings, once the tingling went away, there is no after effect of any pain or even itching.  I was lucky -- my wife's arm remained numb and tingling for three days after she got stung on the wrist.


  1. Evil Red Scandi:

    Well, look at it this way - it's better than having your home infested with Democrats.

  2. Dan:

    Sorry to hear it. Hope you're better soon. That's one advantage of living in Chicago, I suppose. We don't have these.

  3. TJIC:

    > there is great suspense as to whether they will get to a doctor in time before it reaches his torso.

    A good friend of mine ("Trauma Surgeon Girl", mentioned in my blog a few times back in the day) will be starting at a hospital in your area in a month or two.

    If you manage to hold out that long before seeking medical care, I'll put in a good word for you.


  4. aretae:

    I used to have those kinds of critters when I lived in Austin. They got me twice in 6 years. Hope you're well, and scorpions SUCK.

  5. Jens Fiederer:

    This might be a good time to look for a pearl

  6. jared:

    Yeesh bro...when something 1/50th as badass invades a shower in MA, we burn it in a jar and leave the remains on the porch as a warning.

    Arizona is one of those geographies I tend to idealize in my imagination, like when I'm Tex Cobb roaring over the landscape dispatching lizards from rocks with a sawed-off shotgun...but this is a perfect example of why I can't actually live there. Not having that thing show up in my bathroom is a non-negotiable requirement. And god forbid my wife ever see this photograph; I can kiss that eventual "tour of America's national parks" good bye.

  7. caseyboy:

    Maybe you can build resistance through repeated stings? Go back in there and give him the other foot. He probably won't have replaced all the venom yet. Put him in a container and do it over again tomorrow. Before you know it you'll be able to amaze friends and neighbors by picking up stray scorpions and laughing when they sting you. Could open up a whole new career path, Coyote the Scorpion Whisperer.

    Seriously, hope you get better soon. If we don't see another update should we be concerned?

  8. Anonymous Mike:

    I have never seen a live blogging of the after-effects of a scorpion sting.

    So far everything you have described about the effects on you and your wife rings true to what I have heard

    I had a house in Chandler, new construction though in an older part of town (Arizona & Ray) - it took 9 years for scorpions to show up. When I was engaged and I still held a slim hope that we would use my house I came home one night while talking to my fiancee on the phone, pulled a beer out of the fridge, and noticed what seemed to be a cricket on the wall - and in a Homer Simpson moment ("did I say that or think that") realized I was verbalizing my thoughts. Needless to say I had to sell my house

    The little creeps lived under my slab so before the house sold I would take my step-kids and as I ran a hose down the outside walls to flood them out (the scorpions, not my kids) my kids would take sticks and squish them. Great fun and we really bonded

    I had a buddy a few miles away in Gilbert whose wife was allergic to pesticides so he couldn't spray and had to use barrier defenses like diatomaceous earth. To help things along he would go out at night with a black light and try to kill as many as he could - a few years ago he said killed 700+ with 500 or so being the yearly average

  9. Jacob:

    I've lived in Phoenix and surrounding areas over 40 years and have managed to avoid any scorpion stings, regardless of their large population. I have managed to spook a few rattlesnakes, though. Nothing freezes you in your steps quicker than to suddenly hear that rattle and not be sure which direction it came from.

  10. Anonymous Mike:

    As the numbness moves up your leg turning you for the next 3 days into a pirate with a wooden leg (what a friend told me after getting stung in the foot) and with your advancing double vision and tingling teeth and all I ask you to look on the bright side....

    ... there is a distinct possibility that this sting may lead to superpowers, just like Spider Man! I know you don't live close to Palo Verde nuclear plant but I'm sure there is a SuperFund site somewhere close by.

    So own this, make this your point of departure, claim that you now have new anti-statist super powers and that Joe Arpaio and Phil Gordon need to be beware. You can even get a neat scorpion-like costume to wear, just like The Tick.

    I used to tell my kids that when they were little and they got stung by a bee (and by that I mean that they might get superpowers, not that telling off the Mayor of Phoenix and the Maricopa County Sheriff was a good idea if their mother was around) and they felt better... well that and ice cream.

    Thanks for making my day a little more interesting as I wade through new hire interviews and I can see you're back posting so I think you'll be okay

    But think about that superhero suit, okay? Or if not you then how about Gary Johnson?

  11. GoneWithTheWind:

    Update #6 The services will be held at the local funeral home...

  12. Jim A:

    I am glad we don't have these in Houston.

  13. KevinM:

    @ Jim A: Yes we do. Be careful where you buy mulch.

  14. Maximize Liberty:

    If we had a national health service, you could be seen for this for free . . . in three to six months.

  15. KTWO:

    ot a little. In Los Angeles, about 40 years ago, I was visited by a friend from Burma. As we relaxed on the patio I happened to pick a flower or reach into shrubbery. I forget exactly.

    My friend almost screamed from fear and said such an act was unthinkable. Children were taught from the earliest age to never reach or step where they could not see. Admittedly he had grown up in rural Burma, maybe in cities such caution is no longer taught.

  16. LittleCoyote:

    ..just determined that it's a bark scorpion...the most venomous in North America..<3

  17. John Moore:

    My wife got stung twice last year by bark scorpions. The second time, her finger was paralyzed for about a month.

    Annoying things. We get about one or two a month in the house - in PV mountains.

    Dogs and cats are relatively immune - in fact, cats hunt them - but in my neighborhood, the coyotes get the cats pretty quickly.

    BTW, anti-venin for these used to be made at ASU until the prof. retired. Now it comes from Mexico, although I don't know its availability in AZ yet.

  18. Burt Ensley:

    Get a cat. I live in Sedona, have 3 cats (inside only) and regularly find bark scorpions dead and gutted, hidden under the edges of our rugs. I have no idea how they do it. Have seen 1 alive one in 10 years, but dozens of cat-killed ones. Plus, they (cats) make nice pets.

    Hope you have started to feel better by now. Love your blog.

  19. Dr. T:

    You are following a typical clinical course for a moderately severe dose (unlucky you) of Centruroides exilicauda (Arizona bark scorpion) venom. That venom screws up the nervous system locally and systemically, accelerates heart rate, and, in more severe cases, causes agitation and muscle cramps. Calcium may prevent the cramps, so eating some Tums might be helpful. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help reduce some of the symptoms. As you noted, most adult envenomations are not treated with anti-venom (though small children typically need it). However, if you progress to muscle cramps (despite Tums), I recommend heading to the ER for IV calcium gluconate therapy and possibly other drugs to counter the nervous system effects.

  20. Bob Smith:

    The worst thing I've ever seen in a house (though thankfully not bitten) is a brown recluse spider. Those little buggers are seriously nasty.

  21. Danimal:

    Warren, Dude, that seriously sucks. I managed to make it through 4 years at ASU without even seeing a scorpion, but you had one in your frikkin' shower?? Eff that, man. Hope you feel better soon. If you don't, can I have your stuff?

  22. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society:

    >>> I am glad we don’t have these in Houston.

    I am sure we probably have 'em in Florida, but it's wet enough overall that I can honestly say I've never ever seen one in 50+ years.

    Dang, never thought anything could make me say, "I think prefer cockroaches". :-D

  23. astonerii:

    Hope my favorite libertarian is feeling better and gets well.

  24. Danny:

    I thought I would show my wife the picture to freak her out a bit. Of course she screamed...but she also looked long enough to say that you need to clean your shower:)

  25. Sameer Parekh:

    Remember this in February when you are taunting the New Yorkers!

  26. ScottE:

    Scorpions have nearly disappeared from my house since I took an effort to seal doors well with weatherstripping.

    When this is all over, at the time of day the sun is shining on a given door the most, get your face on the floor and look for any light coming through to the inside, if you see any, get some stick on weatherstripping and patch as necessary until no more light is seen.

    The cat takes care of some of the rest.

  27. Michael Duff:

    Update #7: Nature of universe clear now. Disembodied head in mirror says I am Jesus. Blessings on you all.

  28. R:

    I disagree that it a bark scorpion , it sure looks like a hairy scorpion , common in the Salt River area especially Tempe / Mesa area. And I believe it has the most painful sting of any scorpion in this area of the country.

  29. R:

    Just checked and you are right .It is a bark scorpion . As soon as my buddy saw the tail laid straight out and the color he knew , or better said, he knows as he lives in Tempe and has them.

  30. petro:

    People - scorpions LOVE living in drains like showers and sinks. If you haven't used your shower or sink in a while, stand back while you first run some water and see if one or more come out looking for a fight before you turn your attention elsewhere. Have encountered dozens of scorpions in FL in this manner over the years.

  31. Josh:

    Sounds like you have no health insurance. I'm thinking you'll do vastly better when the new health care laws are enacted.

    You're dying in your home within a few miles from a hospital.

  32. Craig:

    I guess living in Buffalo has its unexpected charms.

  33. Graeme:

    Scorpions normally eat their prey... - so look on the bright side.

    In all seriousness - all the best and get well soon.

  34. Mary:

    Another bark scorpion strike ... on a plane!

    "PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) — All Jeff Ellis could do was wait as he sat terrified 30,000 feet (9,000 meters) in the air staring at the wriggling scorpion that stung him on a flight to Alaska.
    He repeated to himself that a doctor said he'd be fine — probably."

    He's missing the hilarious update Coyote gave us though. :)