Sunday, August 23, 2009
Once, about 20 years ago, I got stung by a bee while playing hide and seek at my grandma's house in Illinois. I was hiding behind a water tank outside when I felt myself get stung. My hiding spot was sooo great, I refused to leave it though I could feel the sting getting hard and itchy. I crouched behind that tank, while the itching spread from the sting to my back. When I couldn't take the itching anymore, I casually snuck into the house, to the bathroom, where I lifted up my shirt and looked at my back in the mirror. To my horror, my entire back was covered with hives! I found my Mom and Dad who drove me to the hospital where the doctor gave me a needle in my butt! OUCH!!! From that day forward, I have been carrying around a fear of bees and "bee sting kits." The kits used to look like geometry sets. A flat, plastic case, that contained some benedryl, some alcoholic wipes, some string and a needle. Now my "bee kit" is a simple epi pen. Of which,I have three, one in my purse, one in my saddle bag and one in my camelback. I had not been stung in 20 years....but Sunday? Sunday, I got stung! I was almost home after a 10km jog, when I felt what could only have been one thing, the sting of a hornet! It must have flown between the tongue of my running shoe and the front of my ankle. I skidded to an immediate halt, expecting my lungs to start closing up, or my body to become numb. To my surprise, and relief, nothing happened. Ok, not nothing, my ankle stung and the spot that had been "hit" was turning white and hard and circular. Though I could feel no life threatening symptoms, I kind of teared up. I was scared, I had not been stung in 20 years!!! I panicked a little and raced the last 100meteres to my front door. I skipped the steps two at a time until I was upstairs in the bedroom, where a very hung over Marty was still sleeping. I ripped off my shoe and placed, my sweaty, surly smelly foot right by Marty's head and cried, "I got stung!" I was surprised at how my voice was shaking. I mean, for 20 years I have been wondering what would happen if I got stung, and now, it had happened and I was still expecting something bad. Marty squinted through his pounding headache and repeated, "you got stung? Oh, you got STUNG!!!" He shot up in bed. He also had been hearing about this "bee sting allergy" for the past couple of years. He had been instructed in "epi pen" use. He had even started carrying the extra, expired pen, just in case. We both stared at the little hard white spot on my foot. We exchanged looks and decided I should just try taking a benedryl. I took 2 just to be safe and spent another 5 or 6 minutes staring at the sting, just waiting for it to start spreading hives all over my body. When it was clear that nothing big was gonna happen, I hit the shower. All day, I kept a close eye on my sting. I couldn't help but expect that at any minute, I would need to get Marty to jab me with that epi pen (there is no way I could ever give myself a needle!) By the end of the day, my ankle had swollen to the size of an orange. It was itchy as hell and looked horrific, all purple and blue, but no hives and no need for epinephren. Today, Monday, my ankle still looks awful, is itchy and swollen, but I am alive. So, do I have a bee sting allergy? I don't know anymore, but I will probably always keep those epi pens handy, just in case!!!