A Little Accident while Snorkeling
Snorkeling is a fun activity to do on the water where you can swim with little fish and turtles. In Puerto Rico, there are many places you can snorkel. The most popular place to snorkel is in Vieques Island. Also, there are many group snorkeling tours in Puerto Rico. For beginners, I highly recommend booking a group tour as oppose to do it on your own. For me, this was my first time to snorkel and we did not book a tour and that’s why I got into a little accident.
So we decided to snorkel in Vieques Island’s Mosquitos Pier. Prior to the trip, we already
bought the set of snorkeling gear (includes the mask, mouth tube, and the fins). We were all ready and excited. (A little background about me: I am just a beginner swimmer, I know how to float but I don’t know how to breathe properly. SO I have to constantly gasp for air) When we started snorkeling for a while, I grew tired. We stopped at some rocks and tried to hold it tight because the currents were pushing us away. I did not realize that there were many sea urchins underneath the rocks. I was stepping on it. I can feel their needles stabbing on my feet. It hurts like hell.
I ignored the pain and keep swimming. Somehow, my hands got scratched against the rocks and I felt like I am bleeding; but I can’t see the cut. So I kept swimming. After snorkeling for like an hour, we were very tired. We went back to the dry land and that’s when I realized my hand was bleeding. Next to it, I got a huge red rash. I was shocked and scared. My feet hurts like hell when walking. I can see the needles poking inside my skin. And my skins around the needle holes turn purple.
We went to the only hospital in Vieques Island. They took care of the cut on my hand and gave me two shots. They also prescribed me 2 pills- one antibiotic and one anti-inflammatory. They said it’s used for treating the sea urchins. They also advised me to use hot water to wash my feet, so the pores will open up. After taking the pills for 3 days, it does help with the pain. I can walk better, but the needles still haven’t come out yet. The purplish skin started to reduce its color. It’s getting better…..until I stopped taking the pills. The rash on my hand gets worse. It puffs up and became reddish and itchy.
I came back to Boston and went to see a doctor. He prescribed me more antibiotics, a type of steroid, and an anti-itchy cream. After taking the pills and applying the cream for 5 days, my the color of my rash decreased a lot and the puffiness went away.
A Lesson to Learn
During this time, I was grateful for my brother taking me to the hospital in Vieques Island. This is my fault that I did not pay attention to my surroundings. It would have killed me if the sea urchins were poison. What I learned from this is that I NEED to be more careful of myself and look (and think) before taking any actions.
The hospital visit in Vieques cost us $175. Unfortunately, they only take local health insurance. We couldn’t waive the fee from my health care provider. So we ended up paying full price. This accident could be avoided if I pay attention to my surroundings more and not only thinking about how fun snorkeling is. Next time or even in the next situation, I will pay attention more and not get myself into that trouble anymore. So it will save time and money.