Watching My Toe Swell into a Sausage in Costa Rica

Manual Antonio, Costa Rica.


I felt a pain like someone with the vice grip of a world champion arm wrestler grasped a pair of tweezers, with searing white-hot burning tips, and squeezed my toe with all of their might, creating a terrifically sharp, fantastically brutal sensation in the most acute way.


Another one of my wild, wacky, sometimes funny, sometimes terrible, always entertaining Netflix worthy travel experiences.


The scene: Manual Antonio, Costa Rica.


We had spent a few weeks in neighboring Quepos enjoying the sun, fun and a barrel of monkeys. Literally.


Wildlife abounded in this paradise haven, with:


  • sloths
  • squirrel monkeys
  • Howler monkeys
  • Capuchin monkeys
  • Jesus Christ lizards
  • iguanas
  • scorpions
  • ants
  • snakes
  • tropical birds


and a whole slew of other animal and insect life frequenting this locale.


One day while walking down the beach – when I wasn’t lifting driftwood for morning cardio – I felt an intense pinching sensation on my toe. A split second passed and the pinch became an overwhelming, searing, burning feeling, so powerful that I immediately began to limp. I had no other choice. I could not put my full weight on my foot, no matter how much I wished to exude the Tico Machismo.


I turned around. I began to slough back toward Kelli.


The pain grew with every few steps. But I explained it away. Eventually it would die down, I figured. Just little bite. Maybe a jellyfish. Or a scorpion. But nothing venomous. I thought.


I would quickly be proven wrong.


I would soon be expecting to turn into a super hero, with the intensity of the bite/sting reaching Peter Parker-esque proportions.


The waves pounded the beach. As my foot slowly began to numb, I noted to Kelli how it was time for me to head back to the apartment, in a cool, calm, “I definitely don’t believe my foot’s gonna fall off” kinda way. She agreed.


I got up, and immediately favored the bad foot. Numbness and pain, that delicious duo, danced around in that dawg of a foot, forcing me to hop-skip-jump my way to the bus. Kelli asked if I was OK. I shrugged her off. Little bite or something. Radioactive spider or something, I hoped.


We bus back into Quepos. 15 minutes later I am really feeling it. I stumble past neighbors and their barking perros. Make it up the stairs. I plop into bed.


I look down at my foot.




Big time.


The afflicted toe had swollen considerably. Not quite delectable Bob Evans style sausage, but twas getting there. Think mini pigs in a blanket.


The pain was intense but I did my dingbatish best to push it away and to play it off to Kelli.


I took a nap for a while.


On waking, a Bob Evans sausage *did* take the place of my stung toe. More like mince-meat than human tissue.


I attempted to stand up, slowly shifting myself in bed, positioning my feet on the floor. As I rose, pain shot through stricken foot, unlike any I’d experienced in… feet. I instantly fell back into bed before I belly flopped into the floor, avoiding a face and hand plant that would have had me crawling on my stomach like a snake.


I couldn’t put any weight on the foot. None whatsoever.


The next few days were Kelli heading to the beach or to the store to buy food, and me hopping around on 1 foot like a peg leg pirate, to the bathroom or the kitchen, in between extended slumber sessions in the bed.


After 2 days, the sausage slowly morphed into a human toe. I could barely put weight on the foot, but I walked like a bipedal creature, once again.


3 days out and I walked more comfortably.


4 days out I was back to normal.


I never found out what stung me.


It was not a radioactive spider.


But I’ll never forget when my toe swelled into a sausage in Costa Rica.