Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
August 23, 2001
8:40 AM

It is a beautiful Carolina morning. All the years of hearing about Myrtle Beach, I am finally here and stepping into the ocean water. The beach is quiet; not to many people around. I can see the lifeguard has just arrived and is setting up for the day. I am floating on my back and taking it all in. A scene of the movie
Jaws looms in my mind, then fades moments later.

Suddenly, I feel something is not right. I start to rise up from the water. A tremendous feeling of spikes is shooting up and down my back. It felt like electrocution. At that very moment, I sensed my back was struck by a shark or sting ray. I checked both sides over my shoulder; no signs of blood. As I started to walk towards the beach, I can the feel the surf hitting my legs and lower back. The pain has intensified.

I called to the young lifeguard. He looks at my back with a strange look, and tells me I have huge welts across my upper back. "I have never seen anything like this. How do you feel he asks?". I told him, "My back is on fire, I never felt anything like this". The young lifeguard blew a whistle for an older lifeguard to come over. He suspects a Portuguese man-of-war.

I stagger to the hotel lobby and tell the woman at the front desk I need help. My back is burning up with intense pain. She looks at my back with disbelief and asks me if I want an ambulance.

Yes, call 911.