My Worst Vacation Story

This true story won second place in a little contest for the Worst Vacation Story


I nearly died from sudden paralysis, on my worst trip ever.

We were on Roatan island, Honduras. It is a great place for diving and snorkeling, even close to the shore. We went to a dive shop next to the hotel, and in 30 minutes were in the water looking at the amazing underwater colors.

After some time in the water, I suddenly started feeling very mild burning sensation around my body. I thought that perhaps I simply overheated, and so climbed back into the boat and lied down. This most likely saved my life.

When we got back to shore, as I walked off the boat, I suddenly felt that I could not move my hands! I sat down, and realized that getting up is no longer an option, I could not move my feet. Scared, I told my wife what was happening, and realized that I had great difficulty speaking, my tongue was like a piece of steel and I could not move it!

The shop owner came over, and declared this to be an allergic shock. At this point I am completely paralyzed, cannot move or speak, yet I am fully aware of everything. Two guys picked me up, carried me to a van, and drove us to a small private medical office (“clinic”!). There I was given a shot of Benadryl, and in 15 minutes I more or less returned to normal, except for the emotional scar.

But this wasn’t the end of it. The doctor looked at my wife (who couldn’t feel much because her adrenaline was pumping, as she was trying to figure out how to deliver the news of my untimely demise to my parents), then gave her a tube of cortisone saying simply “you will need this”. As she calmed down, she realized that she had a terrible rash all over, the worst of which was under the swimsuit.

Turned out that we came into contact with jellyfish larvae. Apparently, they swim under the swimsuit, get scared and release their poison. It is interesting how different our reactions were. I had no long-term effects, but my wife suffered for weeks. She bought all the cortisone in the local pharmacy. Back in the US several days later, she went to a dermatologist, who was very excited to see such a “nice reaction”.

Be aware of jellyfish season, and wear a tight wetsuit!


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