Au­thor speared

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - by ANGELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

Bris­bane chil­dren’s au­thor Julie Fi­son was hap­pily splash­ing away at Four Mile Beach one minute and scream­ing in pain the next af­ter a garfish jumped out of the wa­ter and slapped her in the head - lodg­ing its spike through her ear.

While it sounds like some­thing from the pages of one of her pop­u­lar chil­dren’s ad­ven­ture books, Ms Fi­son said it was far from en­ter­tain­ing and re­quired emer­gency surgery to re­pair her per­fo­rated eardrum.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred while Ms Fi­son was on hol­i­day in Port Dou­glas with her fam­ily re­cently.

“I was swim­ming with a friend and we were en­joy­ing a beau­ti­ful day and we were about chest- deep when all of a sud­den I felt a mas­sive pound­ing in my ears, like some­one had thrown a cricket ball that hit my head,” she said.

“My friend said, ’A fish hit you in the ear’, and I had seen a lit­tle flash of sil­ver and couldn’t be­lieve a small fish could cause so much pain, but sud­denly I was paral­ysed with pain, my eyes closed and I could hardly stand.”

Her friend helped her to shore and the paramedics took her to Moss­man hospi­tal but when she was still in pain the next morn­ing, she was trans­ferred to Cairns Base Hospi­tal where a CT scan re­vealed the spike lodged in her ear.

“They found a 2.5cm spike lodged through my ear drum and had ac­tu­ally gone through my hear­ing bones be­hind my ear drum and I was taken for a three-hour op­er­a­tion to have it re­moved, which was suc­cess­ful,” Ms Fi­son said.

“They hadn’t heard of this be­fore, they found in­ci­dents of peo­ple be­ing speared in the eye by a marlin and there were cases of small fish fly­ing into peo­ple and spear­ing them in the leg, but a garfish in the ear?”

Two weeks later and Ms Fi­son is still re­cov­er­ing, the trauma af­fected the fa­cial nerves, hear­ing and her eye but she is expected to make a full re­cov­ery.

“When you’re in North Queens­land you’re al­ways con­scious of crocodiles, jel­ly­fish and sharks but never con­sider garfish as a threat, it cer­tainly spoilt the hol­i­day for me,” she said.

Ms Fi­son said the strangest thing for her was the fact she is a chil­dren’s book au­thor and writes ad­ven­tures in a se­ries called Haz­ard River with ti­tles called Bat At­tack, Toad’s Re­venge and Tiger Tremor.

“I think garfish are go­ing to have to be named and shamed, as soon as my eye­sight is bet­ter I’m go­ing to have re­venge on that garfish,” she said.

OUCH: the garfish spike which per­fo­rated Julie Fi­son’s eardrum (in­set) Julie and her hus­band on the reef

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