Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Puffer's Surprise Crunch

People are continually inventing ways to hurt themselves, it seems... :-p

This morning, a few hours before my 24-hour shift at the hospital ended, while I was sitting at the station writing orders, the nurse from the OPD came over and asked me to check a patient.

"She was bitten by a butete (the local term for puffer fish)..." said the nurse.

I raised an eyebrow, amused. I tried to stifle a smile. This was totally unexpected, even for where I work. :-)

He (the nurse) brought over three people, 2 girls and a guy and they approached me and so I asked what seemed to be the problem and what had happened (in the dialect).

The guy and one girl tried to come over and explain to me (in the dialect) what happened. And then the second girl, the patient, comes over to me and starts talking to me in English (complete with an American twang)... "Actually, I was at the beach, and I saw the fish and I thought it was so cute...and then it bit me..." I had to smile, it was rare to have someone talk to me in English here, and I figured she spoke the dialect but I wasn't sure, so I asked, "Have you had any tetanus shots?" in English too. "Yes, I did, a long time ago when I was overseas...."etc etc.

I was opening the binding they put as a tourniquet on the wound so I could check and see how extensive it was. For a "cute little fish", it was a pretty big gash... I think she must've bothered the fish too much, and it went CRUNCH! on her finger. She tried to tell me her story again in English, but since she seemed to find it hard to tell me that they went clam-digging in English, I just smiled and told her that she could talk to me the dialect too if it was more comfortable too. Either way, it didn't bother me at all.

She was maybe in her mid-twenties or late-twenties, but when I opened up the wound and proceeded to prep it for later suturing, she was bawling like a little baby.

I'd prescribed pain meds for her, of course, but i think the little puffer fish did more damage and drew more blood than one would expect from something so...cute.

And the moral of this story is, if it looks cute, and swims, and happens to have sharp teeth and spines all over's best to leave it alone. 

Lol...sorry, but it was just a funny surprise of a case. :-)

Anyway, I'm off to bed/off to a massage. Goodnight y'all!

(picture from


~ S.


  1. Hmmm... I was trying to remember if you had to eat the puffer fish to get poisoned or if the spines have tetradotoxin too... Naa mi nakit-an namaligya ug puffer fish didto sa Boulevard once Tep... And I wanted to try it. It's kinda like wanting to try bungee jumping at least once in your life. Hehe.

  2. puffer fishes are a contradiction--they look cute but are actually deadly.

    just like some men i know...hahaha!

  3. spines have the toxin...but the teeth are pretty deadly too, i suppose. happened to her. :-) Puffer fish is a delicacy, cooked by expert(and licensed) peeps lang daw, as I was told. I want to try it sometime. :-)

  4. @Koryn: cute, but deadly men. haha, that's very picturesque. :-p

  5. Ouch! I guess we should not touch unfamiliar things, no matter how cute they are.

    I once saw a cute little monkey reach out for a woman's hand. She started to reach back, but our guise stopped her. He said the monkey wanted to eat her finger. Yuck!



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