It’s nothing, I’ll be Fine…

One of the byproducts of being in remote locations, devoid of any medical care, surrounded by bacteria, biting bugs and animals, and dangerous landscapes is your body just tends to wear down.  I was on Cocos Island, the first time, and I was walking across the beach after swimming out a half mile to photograph sharks when I was bit by a tiny little ant right on top of a blister.

As the days progressed, the blister turned from clear, to white, to brown, and was edging it’s way toward black.  My foot had swollen to at least twice the size it should have been, and of course, I thought it was nothing so I kept shooting.  Within a few days though, I’d dug into my personal medical kit, and found a hypodermic needle to begin draining the infection myself.  Had I left it, I surely would have lost my foot to a raging staph infection.  By the time I got back to the mainland about seven days later, my whole leg was swollen, I was sick to my stomach and had a raging headache.  It was time to go to the hospital.  Things weren’t looking up for me once I got there, the doctor said it was likely that they would have to keep me in the hospital for 10 days on antibiotics (that we had to go buy somewhere else) and then I would still probably lose my leg.  Screw that.

I told them to clean it up as best they could and then I was getting on a plane to the USA.  What followed was one of the most painful experiences of my life.  The hospital couldn’t afford anesthetics, so they began tearing into my foot with all kinds of tools that are better left in torture chambers.  Imagine a scalpel scraping the tissue off of your bones.  That’s exactly what they were doing.  In that maelstrom of pain, I managed to snap a few shots off of the gaping hole that they were putting into my foot.

The next day i was on a plane, and next to me the other passenger kept mentioning something about smelling rotting meat.  I didn’t let him in on my little secret that it was in fact my foot he was smelling.

In the USA, at a decent hospital, I went in to the ER and the doctor said, “Well they did a good job, they did it like we would have done it in the 50’s, but they did a good job.”

In the end, on a month long shoot swimming with sharks, it was an ant that almost killed me.   A tiny, little ant.

My foot with a gaping hole in it.


About Ben Horton
Highly influenced by his love of travel and adventure and his constant search for something new, his imagery is vibrant with fresh and creative energy. Raised in Bermuda, Ben Horton has spent the majority of his life traveling and seeking out new adventure. Ben is the recipient of the National Geographic Society’s first Young Explorer award for research on Cocos Island involving shark poaching. This led to becoming a photographer for National Geographic, and has allowed Ben to continue his passion for adventure. Follow Ben on Instagram

One Response to It’s nothing, I’ll be Fine…

  1. corrie crane says:

    crazy story!
    glad it all worked out to your benefit 🙂

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