How the World’s Most Venomous Fish Convinced Me to Stop Working Myself to Death
I spent years practically glued to my computer. Then one heartstopping encounter left me thankful to be alive – and made me realize I wanted to live much differently.
Illustrations by Alex Kiesling
My body was convulsing, my mind slipping in and out of consciousness with each contraction. It had taken all of my strength just to run the couple hundred meters from the surf spot back to camp. I could hear my heart: thump-thump, thump-thump. Each beat was pushing the poison further around my body. I imagined my blood mixing with the toxin, shaken together like a deadly vinaigrette.
Jay, who owned the surf camp, had seen this before. He kept one arm wrapped around my shoulder while the other held my leg still. “The venom is nearly totally protein, so we basically have to cook your foot, hun,” he said, rubbing my shaking shoulders. “If the water isn’t hot enough, the poison’s going to spread further.”
I was sitting in a rusted-out wheelchair, swathed in a towel like a newborn, with Jay’s enormous straw gardening hat flopped crooked on my head. I didn’t understand why he’d bothered with it — I wasn’t sure I was going to live long enough to worry about a sun…
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