My brother saved my life last night. Big, brave, strong Thomas who thinks that being afraid of wasps is a silly thing. It’s really not, but who’s thinking about such things when your life is in danger?
Ok, ok, my life may not have been in danger, but I really am afraid of wasps and bees, and all other related insects. Why? Because I’ve been stung before. Yes, indeedy. It’s no picnic, let me tell ya.
The first time I was ever stung, I was about 13 years old and I had just finished mopping the kitchen floor. It was our habit to just toss the dirty water over the side of our deck onto the bark. Well, that day was a nice, sunny day. It was mid-summer, and I was anticipating going to the county fair that night. We lived in a sleepy little town in southeast Kansas, so the county fair was a big thing. A very big thing.
Anyway, I banged my way through our back door with the mop and bucket of dirty water to the side of our deck. I blissfully squeezed the excess water out of the mop, and blithely tossed the buckets contents over the side. I turned to set the bucket down, and when I straightened up, I screamed. Yes, it was loud and it carried throughout the whole neighborhood, as I found out later to my chagrin.
So why did I scream? You know those big black and yellow bumblebees that fly in lazy circles around your flower garden? They look harmless, and even kind of cute at times. Well, the one I met on this occasion was not cute. In fact, he was mad! I’m talking kamikaze-mad, and he was preparing to dive-bomb my face!
Apparently, he had been minding his own business, gathering pollen to take back to his hive, when he was suddenly drenched from antenna to stinger with dirty, soapy, stinky water. Now, looking at it from his point of view, you can probably understand why he’d be angry. I mean, he was probably going to go to the fair that night, too, and he wanted to look his best. Yeah, okay, maybe not, but no one really likes to get wet when they aren’t expecting it.
So here is this angry bumblebee heading straight for me. I scream and flap my arms around, trying to get him away from me, but he was determined. Next thing I know, this incredible pain exploded into my brain. The source? The end of my nose. He had found the most embarrassing place to sting me!
By that time, my mother was there and trying to get me into the house while at the same time trying to keep my 3-year-old brother (yes, the aforementioned Thomas) inside away from the killer bee.
Suddenly, I felt more pain in my side. The little bugger had somehow ended up inside my shirt and stung me on my side – twice! I yelled this time, and my mother tried to rip my shirt off of me to get the bee out. Well, I didn’t want anyone to see me without my shirt, so I tried to keep it on. In the meantime, the bee got out and stung my mother on her hand, and she flung him outside. I calmed down as soon as the door was shut, but that event traumatized me for the rest of my life. I can still see the big, black puff buzzing straight for me. *shudder*
The second time I was stung was not nearly so dramatic. I was much older by this time (about 24 years old) and I was working at the gift shop/concession stand at Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho. Somewhere nearby, there was a yellow jacket nest, and they absolutely loved to some into the concession stand and eat up anything sugary. If I had a soda from the fountain, I even had to cover the end of the straw, because the yellow jackets would crawl down the straw to the soda! We ended up putting Skittles in a cardboard tray with a little water on them to keep them occupied, though that didn’t always work.
By that time, I had gotten over my fear (I thought, anyway), and I was able to tolerate them somewhat. Then one day, I felt something on the back of my arm, and thinking it was a fly, I brushed it off. Bad idea. A sharpness pierced through my consciousness and I gasped aloud. The customer I was helping showed a bit of concern when I explained what happened, but I tried to downplay it.
A few days later, the exact same thing happened. So at that point I had two yellow jacket stings – one on top of the other. By the next morning, the whole back of my arm was swollen and itched terribly. I had hives. My roommate, who was susceptible to allergies, gave me some ointment to cut down on the itch and another friend gave me some Benedryl pills, which knocked me out so thoroughly that I was late to work the next morning at a different job. Fortunately, when my boss found out what happened, he was very understanding.
When I got to the gift shop that afternoon, my boss from there was working. She told me that another girl who worked there had been stung on her tongue! She had been eating a sucker and didn’t realize that she was sharing it when she put it in her mouth. I was definitely glad that hadn’t happened to me.
Ever since then, I have been extremely wary of insects of that nature. When I saw the wasp just inside the window last night, I didn’t want to take any chances. Fortunately, my brother took pity on me, and he killed that big, mean, wasp. Brave boy!