This past Sunday, the same day that a physician was assaulted and dragged off of a United Airlines flight at O'Hare Airport in Chicago by overzealous security officials, another incident that resulted in bodily injury occurred on a United Airlines flight from Houston to Calgary that was already airborne. A Canadian gentleman who was a business-class passenger on the flight to Calgary, was just beginning to enjoy his lunch when he felt something land on his head. He pulled the critter off and discovered that it was a scorpion that had fallen from the overhead bin. He set the intruder on his plate, and then later as he tried to move it, the scorpion stung him.
United handled this incident much more professionally than the one in Chicago. The plane crew radioed for medical advice, and a nurse who happened to also be a passenger on board the plane gave the man a painkiller. Medical personnel were present when the plane landed in Calgary, Alberta, and the passenger was taken to a local hospital for an evaluation. It was also reported that United Airlines plans on compensating the individual and his wife for the inconveniences that they suffered while on the flight.
And meanwhile a platoon of wannabe screenwriters are pondering the possibilities of "scorpions on a plane."
What does a scorpion sting feel like?
Forty years ago on a hot summer afternoon I was mowing the yard at my home in Mountain View, Missouri, with a push mower when I inadvertently ran over an underground colony of yellow jackets. I was stung eight times on the arms, legs, and face before I even realized what was happening. Those stings were the most painful experiences of my life, and I can, to this very day, remember the pain vividly. It lasted for hours.
Eight of nine years ago while living in a second-floor apartment in Goodyear, Arizona (the Phoenix area) I was suddenly awakened in the middle of the night by a horrible stinging sensation. As I fought to get free of the sheets, I felt as though my leg was on fire. When I finally got to the floor and turned on the lights, I discovered a small scorpion sitting squarely in the center of my bed. He had stung me twice on the leg.
I captured the creature in a small medicine bottle to make sure that he could do no further harm, and then pondered what to do. Instead of heading to an emergency room, which would have been the prudent thing to do, I chose instead to research scorpions on the Internet. By the time I finally ascertained that individuals who were unfortunate enough to be stung by a scorpion would either die or not - depending on how allergic they were to the venom - an hour had already passed and I was still breathing. So I went back to bed and spent the rest of the night in troubled sleep.
The scorpion's sting felt just like the ones that I had received from the yellow jackets all those years before. The sting of a scorpion is excruciating!
The next morning I was telling my co-workers at Luke Air Force Base about my ordeal with the scorpion, and one old Arizona desert rat told me that the only scorpions to really worry about were the small, translucent ones. That was a perfect description of the one that had rocked my world the previous night!
United, next time you might want to insure that the vermin are all flying "coach," back in the cheap seats where they belong.