Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Work Hazards: Wasps

Marking my calender today, my first wasp sting ever. Woohoo, I'm alive?

I had seen a wasp hanging around the bird house I just got for a buck at a garage sale  and after I thought I had made sure it went away I went to check on the little drawers  beneath it to make sure nothing was trying to make a home in it other than birds.

I think that's when it and I may have collided because 10 steps later after checking  the birdhouse I felt like what was a thorn stuck in the wrist area of my sleeve.  This  actually didn't disturb me so much as I often get stuck by stuff in the garden  (someone's going to tell me to wear gloves aren't they... though I think the wasp could  have gotten stuck in there too).  I was surprised of course when I tugged at my sleeve  and couldn't get the thorn loose and then exposed the wasp which then flew away.

Mostly I was worried about having a reaction (too many horror stories growing and re- showings of the movie "My Girl" I guess).  The sting itself wasn't so bad, but the  interesting aspect of this experience was that I was able to force myself to stay calm  (very weird for a highstrung person such as myself) and within a minute I called my  neighbor who's a nurse (and interestingly allergic to bees/wasps, making her perfect to  help me in case I went into a anaphylactic shock).  She told me to hold a minute and  she would be right over.

I washed my hands to get all the dirt off and stupidly began putting dishes away and  fretting about the mess of the house all the while feeling a little dizzy.

Usually I try to tough things out and figure out how to handle it on my own, but the  idea of having a reaction and dying was enough to keep me from trying to just "let it  go."  I was also very lucky because my nurse nieghbor ususally works the 3rd shift and  she was off today and awake/alert (I had talked with her earlier that day) so this  helped things immensely.

In my weird calm daze, my nurse friend immediately put meat tenderizer she has on hand  at her house on the sting (which looked like a fairly small red mark on my hand).  As I  was dizzy from either dehydration or anxiety she got me to put my head between my knees  and cold washclothed my neck and then made an ice bath for my hand to place in and  bring down/prevent any swelling.

After I got a little less dizzy, she dried my hand off, put some topical benadryl on  the wound and covered it with a bandage.  I took some aspirin on my own to try to  offset further swelling.  Then I ate some coffee gelatin and chocolate (dark) to make  me feel better.

(that's 'ouchie' not something else my husband thought I wrote)

Other than swelling, little twinges of pain here and there and my wrist oddly popping a  little more than usual, I think I'm taking my first wasp sting pretty well.

From what I remember seeing when I was stung, it looked to be what they call a big red  wasp, which, other than being big, isn't a terrible one is what I've been told.

I also was told by my nurse lady that even if you don't show signs of allergy to a  sting now, you can have a reaction if you get stung again.  I guess the first sting  primes a person's immune system?

I don't blame the wasp, just does what it does.  Reminds me of Aesop's tales, those  wolf or scorpions won't change their nature, you just have to accept them as they are.   I still won't be putting up any wasp traps (they're pollinators!) but perhaps just a  little more vigilance should be necessary on my part when I see a wasp hanging around from now on.

Oddly enough, I've found this sting (of course it was treated very quickly) more tolerable than some of my mosquito bites I've had in the past

For more info on what you should do if you get stung by a wasp or bee and how to avoid getting stung: