I am setting world record pace de-husking and cracking coconuts and just when I think that I am lucky I haven’t hacked my fingers off I feel a sticky warmth on my foot. I look down and there is blood oozing down my sole. I quickly grab some coconut husk and wipe the blood away. Sure enough I have chiseled a crevasse into the bottom of my foot, the skin all piled up and dangling down at the bottom of the slice. Slade is out spear fishing, so I grab the kids, throw them in the dinghy. I then hop along next to it, pushing the dinghy through the little bit of reef. I then jump in an make a bee line for the boat.
Once at the boat I give the kids some home made biscuits to keep them out of the way and pull out the first aid kit. I cringe at the thought of having to wash it out with dettol. I am braced ready to scrub it clean ready to endure the intense sting. The dettol goes on and there is no nothing, no sting, no throb, nothing, Matter of fact it hasn’t hurt at all, maybe I am just too busy trying to fix it and keep the kids distracted, to feel the pain. I then set about cutting the chiseled pile of skin away. It’s reasonably deep but quite a thin slice only as big as the chisel blade. I pull it together stick some steri-strips on it and strap it up to keep it clean. I then put shoes on so that I can continue to de husk my coconuts . Then the kids and I whizz back to shore. I am pulling the dinghy up the beach with full weight bearing through my foot and there is still no pain, still no throb. I am assuming this is a bad thing, but for now it’s a good thing. I didn’t have to endure the pain of chiseling myself a good one.
I have chiseled myself one other time, when I collected the side of my hand. It peeled a few layers off my hand and hurt to the high heavens. Once again I was by myself with the kids, but this time I had a first aid kit with me and all it needed was a clean and a little patch. I would love to learn how to crack coconuts properly, but until we get somewhere where they live off coconuts I will continue to use the chisel. I figure a chisel is a lot safe then a meat cleaver. I would almost certainly loose my arm using a meat cleaver.
To make matters worse, we ate a very small Spanish makerel for lunch and not too soon after Slade got the anxiety raising, tingling lips and mouth. We had tasted a small bit the night before to test it and the fish seemed to be fine. We then loaded up on the fish at lunch. Bad mistake. I spent the next few hours reading up on ciguterra and making sure I new every last detail of the toxic fish poisioning. I then prematurely panicked with anxiety overload. Something I am really good at.
Once I had re gathered my composure I spent the next two hours checking Slade and the kids for symptoms. Nothing progressed but that didn’t stop me staying awake all night checking on the kids and regretting my decision to feed the kids the fish. Our hunger lead us to make and error in our judgement, we know that Spanish mackrel are known for ciguttera , we assumed a small 4kg one would be okay. The fish must have had small amounts of the toxin and since Slade ate the most he was the only one who got the tingling lips and mouth. We got lucky this time, but we wont be such risk takers next time. Lesson learnt