Survivor: Papa Smurf is A-OK!
This week’s episode of Survivor: Fiji saw the unexpected medical emergency departure of Gary Stritesky, aka “Papa Smurf.”  The big guy took a nasty fall during a slip and slide event, and afterwards, seemed to have trouble breathing and thinking clearly. 

It was difficult to watch: the big guy was clearly of the “Cowboy Up” old school, and so he seemed reluctant to make a fuss over his physical condition.  Every time he had to talk to someone about it, he spoke quietly and covered his face with his hand, as though he was embarrassed to be so ill.  This made it all the more apparent how serious it must have been, as he doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would request the medical team unless it was dire.

Initial theories floated on the show or by viewers were possibly a broken rib or a concussion from a fall.  It turns out neither hypothesis was correct: it was all those pesky critters out there!

Gary, who lives in a small town outside St. Paul, Minnesota, tells the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he had an allergic reaction to the thousands of big bites he had all over his body, and it was that reaction that created his shortness of breath, which in turn caused the dizziness, and so on.

“Once they got the anti-toxins in me, I was in pretty good shape,” he reports. 

Viewers will no doubt be glad to hear that this likeable guy recovered quickly.  Although it is a shame he left the game early, certainly his health is a more valuable prize.

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

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