Tuesday, March 16, 2004

eight armed bringer of deeeaaaath!

Another in the list of weird tasks I've had to do while at the Aquarium:

Lancing the gas-filled boil of a sick octopus. Something I'd never even thought possible. So our octi (this was Max III for those keeping track, the only one so far to be sent back to the ocean) was an older (perhaps 1 to 1&1/2 yrs old) and scabby individual, he'd lost parts of several legs (octopuses can pack a lot of living into a short life) and when he came in had, amongst other things, a sore on his mantle.

This sore developed into a canker about the size of my clenched fist (and I have big hands) which was filled with gas of some sort (I don't want to know...). To release the pressure we used a very large bore hypodermic needle and punctured the growth, allowing most of the gas to escape.

Doesn't sound particularly impressive now that I write it down but the scene was one worthy of a Lynch or a Cronenberg movie: in the depths of the basement, with dim and flickering neon lighting, leaning over a big black bin, with a dim flashlight in one hand, a spike in the other, face close to the surface searching for a large angry marine predator, then reaching deep into the water stabbing him in an already painful place with a whopping great needle...

I'm lucky to be alive quite frankly.

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