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View Full Version : I Think I've Been Officially Twilight Zoned.



BigDon
2013-Apr-29, 08:46 PM
So as a lot of you know, I have epilepsy from a head injury(s) incurred when I was in the Navy. They don't let me drive or fly airplanes nor have the seizures been nice to me over the years and I have more quirks than Sheldon Cooper.

Now I have a life long affinity for natural history and have kept marine and other aquatic creatures for decades. Back in the early 90's I was all proud when I was finally rated as a master fish breeder. Then I worked full time at a large and successful tropical fish store for a number of years. I have a lot of free time on my hands now. I live with my hard working NASA employed younger brother. And I live within walking or train distance to several marine areas of interest where I previously educated kids and others to tide pool creatures. (I found a laser pointer to be hugely useful in this matter.) One of my brothers said I should write a book called "All Creature Small and Slimey"

So now I have all this free time to go tide-pooling.

And I've acquired a horribly allergy to cnidarians. (corals, jellyfish and sea anemones)

This is the equivalent to Cougar becoming deathly allergic to dry erase markers or Gillian becoming allergic to printer's ink.

Full anaphylaxis from even harmless species. Though I thought I was more sensitive than I was because I had a reaction to touching the float of a by-the-wind-sailor but somebody I talked to said that species has nematocysts on most of their surfaces, including their floats.

You know what I found to be hurtful? 8 of the 11 doctors I asked about this laughed out loud. They didn't think I was serious. The other three pretended not to hear me.

My last trip out on the bay BiggerDon the Swede asked me to pull in some lines and I stopped because there was marine growth on the one I was attempting to handle and it cheesed off the other Don who asked me, "What the hell are you doing out on the water then?"

That was almost a year ago, as I couldn't fault his logic. The divers I know gave me that "Aw man!" look as we live where there is an abundance of jellyfish of all different sizes due to the cold California current and the nutrient upwelling from the Cordell Banks. As in I probably wouldn't survive a walk barefoot down Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

So I live next to a huge ocean I can't approached. With all the free time in the world not to do so.

Hlafordlaes
2013-Apr-29, 09:47 PM
When life comes up with these tough ironies, I am tempted to believe the universe is alive, and truly jealous of us pesky bipeds. The cosmos should get a life, if you know what I mean.

BigDon
2013-Apr-29, 10:10 PM
You made me laugh. Thank you.

Noclevername
2013-Apr-29, 10:11 PM
Dang, that sucks. I'm sorry, BigDon.

The ocean has been part of my life since I was a child, and even living now in the midwest I still take every opportunity to go to the shore. I'd hate being cut off from all contact with the sea. It would feel like being one of those rubber forehead guys from Alien Nation.

There's still 1/3 of the Earth's surface left to explore, though. I hear it's nice, too.

publiusr
2013-Apr-29, 10:11 PM
Jellyfish are frightening. There was a Lion's Mane version "found washed up on the shore of Massachusetts Bay in 1870, had a bell (body) with a diameter of 7 feet 6 inches (2.29 m) and tentacles 120 feet (37 m) long." (from the wiki)

NoChoice
2013-Apr-29, 10:45 PM
When life comes up with these tough ironies, I am tempted to believe the universe is alive, and truly jealous of us pesky bipeds. The cosmos should get a life, if you know what I mean.

Well said! And oh so true!

BigDon: Man, I feel for you! Life has heavy-handed you badly one could say.
However, you have an incredible gift for writing (as others have stated many times). Maybe your condition allows you to focus on that and it gives you pleasure and fulfillment?

starcanuck64
2013-Apr-29, 11:12 PM
You're a great writer Don, you should take the time you have and put together a collection of stories.

Fazor
2013-Apr-30, 12:41 AM
That really sucks Big Don. You know, there's some absolutely gorgeous lakes in Central Ohio*, with no stinging jellies at all.

*There's no gorgeous lakes, and only a handful of not quite adequate ones in Central Ohio. Still, we'd love to have you. ;)

beskeptical
2013-Apr-30, 12:56 AM
See an allergy specialist and ask if there are any desensitizing options for you. Not sure they can do that with anaphylaxis, but they do it with other allergies.

Cougar
2013-Apr-30, 01:06 AM
And I've acquired a horrible allergy to cnidarians. (corals, jellyfish and sea anemones)

Well, that's not too surprising because most of those things are venomous! Sorry to hear you've got an amplified reaction to these things, but you're not supposed to be handling jellyfish or walking barefoot on anemones or corals! The one time I was snorkling on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, I got hit by a long stray tentacle from a Portuguese man o' war, or what the Aussies called a bluebottle jellyfish. Stung and burned. I got a nice long "tattoo" that didn't go away for days. I guess box jellyfish (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_jellyfish) don't frequent the reef, but they were around the beach where we stayed, so no swimming outside the netted area. You don't have to be allergic to box jellyfish - they're equal opportunity killers. The extremely potent venom of the worst of this species apparently causes cells to become porous enough to allow potassium leakage, causing hyperkalemia, which can lead to cardiovascular collapse and death as quickly as within 2 to 5 minutes! Now, that is a nasty cnidarian.

BigDon
2013-Apr-30, 04:32 PM
Hey Cougar, we've discussed just how fast a box jelly could kill me when harmless cold water species can mess me up. Probably on the order of a causality violation.

And box jellies are utterly fascinating. Six to eight complex, focusing eyes hooked up to...nothing. They don't have brains. Just a neuro-net. They demonstrate complex avoidance maneuvers and memory tasks as well. So now neuro-nets are getting a serious re-evaluation.

Some orders have tiny bells smaller than thimbles yet trail tentacles six feet long.

Cougar
2013-Apr-30, 04:50 PM
Probably on the order of a causality violation.

Hmm, yes. We could use you in a physics experiment!


And box jellies are utterly fascinating. Six to eight complex, focusing eyes hooked up to...nothing. They don't have brains. Just a neuro-net. They demonstrate complex avoidance maneuvers and memory tasks as well. So now neuro-nets are getting a serious re-evaluation.

That is pretty freaking fascinating. They sure seem like alien life forms!

BigDon
2013-Apr-30, 05:05 PM
Hmm, yes. We could use you in a physics experiment!



That is pretty freaking fascinating. They sure seem like alien life forms!

Did you see the film on these guys that showed the close-ups of their eyes? As humans were all about getting info from the eyes of others and when you see that this jellyfish is actually *looking* back at the lens of the macro-camera it will trip you out.

It manages to portray an aggressive "Oh, what the hell is this?" vibe yet remain alien at the same time.

Maybe there is a youtube of it somewhere.

Noclevername
2013-May-02, 01:44 PM
Did you see the film on these guys that showed the close-ups of their eyes? As humans were all about getting info from the eyes of others and when you see that this jellyfish is actually *looking* back at the lens of the macro-camera it will trip you out.

It manages to portray an aggressive "Oh, what the hell is this?" vibe yet remain alien at the same time.

Maybe there is a youtube of it somewhere.

Great, I Googled this, got creeped out, and now I have have the song "Eyes Without A Face" stuck in my head!

BigDon
2013-May-02, 04:18 PM
Great, I Googled this, got creeped out, and now I have have the song "Eyes Without A Face" stuck in my head!

Clev! You found one? Wow. I'll have to look that up.

Noclevername
2013-May-02, 04:41 PM
Clev! You found one? Wow. I'll have to look that up.

I didn't get to any videos, the pictures alone were enough.

BigDon
2013-May-02, 05:01 PM
Well, that's not too surprising because most of those things are venomous! Sorry to hear you've got an amplified reaction to these things, but you're not supposed to be handling jellyfish or walking barefoot on anemones or corals! The one time I was snorkling on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, I got hit by a long stray tentacle from a Portuguese man o' war, or what the Aussies called a bluebottle jellyfish. Stung and burned. I got a nice long "tattoo" that didn't go away for days. I guess box jellyfish (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_jellyfish) don't frequent the reef, but they were around the beach where we stayed, so no swimming outside the netted area. You don't have to be allergic to box jellyfish - they're equal opportunity killers. The extremely potent venom of the worst of this species apparently causes cells to become porous enough to allow potassium leakage, causing hyperkalemia, which can lead to cardiovascular collapse and death as quickly as within 2 to 5 minutes! Now, that is a nasty cnidarian.

Ever had the pleasure of getting intimate with a big carpet anemone?

I've had those delightful creatures things latch onto me from wrist to elbow three times. Each time a memorable occasion.

And it seems I have absolutely no clownfish DNA in my lineage. And all those short little tentacles pull right out and stick to you like tar.

One of the remarkable and consistent reactions is your scalp tightens down around your skull so hard you think your skull is going to fly out the top of your head like a spit watermelon seed. You can feel your scalp muscles tighten up solid all the way passed your ears and down a little bit into the facial regions. (Which I believe are enervated from another source.)

That isn't as pleasant as it sounds by the way.

Plus I was in on the ground floor when it came implementing the new techniques for keeping corals in the home aquarium back in the late 80's and early 90's. I've handled a lot of different corals.

The final straw was the new guy unpacked a shipment of brain corals after I got off work on my "Friday" and he placed them way too close together. They don't like getting all touchy-feely each other and express their discontent by producing what are called sweeper tentacles with are specialized offensive structures just packed with nematocysts. Even more so than prey capture tentacles.

So when I come back to work two days later I find that a tank full of what would be a store sinking investment if we didn't retail those critters all in the process of merrily stinging each other to death. With one or two of the worse off already in an unsellable condition.

You would think that surgical gloves would be protective in this instance. You would be as wrong as I was and learn aspects of venom physiology and chemistry in general you were unaware of, like:

Did you know that there is a class of venoms that contain organic substances called "neutral short chain acids" that can passed freely through both latex gloves AND human skin? Without the need for a physical injector?

Yeah, cheesed-off brain corals make 'em.

Ah yes, the wonders of ancient chemistry.

After I recovered from that I couldn't be exposed to them anymore without a severe reaction.

I've even gotten wheezy from getting too close the filtration system of a big coral display tank.

God's way of saying: "FIND ANOTHER HOBBY"

Hlafordlaes
2013-May-02, 10:16 PM
Did you know that there is a class of venoms that contain organic substances called "neutral short chain acids" that can passed freely through both latex gloves AND human skin? Without the need for a physical injector?

Whoa! Let's hope no bright light splices the genes for that into something resembling a cross between, say, Bones and a Columbian drug lord.

SphinxCore
2013-May-03, 01:54 PM
Sorry to hear you got messed up by a closed-head trauma. I know a couple of people with similar experiences (one was injured while in the navy -- the other was hit in the head as a child with a baseball bat by her younger brother) and both have varying degrees of epilepsy.

My experience has been the universe is laughing at us behind our backs