Friday, October 16, 2009

The Havoc of a Honeybee

So, 3 weeks ago we went camping. Actually, we went hiking and happened to camp while we were there. I say that because I do not camp for the sheer ecstasy of cooking food prepared over a fire that I had to build from sticks found in the woods and sleeping on the ground while critters scratch around on the other side of a thin nylon screen. I camp because I enjoy hiking and the closest place to really hike around here is Red River Gorge, about an hour away. It is not an unreasonable request to get up in the morning and drive to the gorge (by way of Starbucks), hike a 6-mile trail, and drive home (by way of Chick-Fil-A)....but who wants to do that?? By the time you get home, you're tired, you stink and inevitably, there is cat vomit to clean. So...we camp.

We were about 15 minutes into a 7-mile trail that day when I heard buzzing in my right ear. My right hand was otherwise occupied with my walking stick (yes, I use a walking stick in places other than Mt. Rainier. Shut up...) so I batted at the buzz with my left hand. It never occurred to me not to swat at it because 99% of the time it's the hum of those tiny gnats that like to fly in the breeze-free zone of your ear canal. Unfortunately, that's only 99% of the time. This was that 1%. And this is what followed....

Me: AGHGHGHGH!!! Ouch...(and then a string of words that would make Andrew Dice Clay stop and say "oh damn, I wish I had thought of that combination.")
Neal: WHAT??
Me: Stung! I've been stung!! (I'm clutching my left index finger and watching as the stinger, projecting from just above the knuckle, continues to sort of wiggle with its final injection).
Neal: OK, here...let me pull it out...(and then a chorus of groans, moans and exclamations of "get it out! It hurts! Get it out!!" It absolutely sounded like I was, as he says in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, "doing the sex" with John Holmes. But he did manage to pull the stinger out and we were on our way).

A few minutes later...
Me: I think there's something still in there...Can you get it?
Neal: Where?
Me: Right looks like a splinter, but it's not...
Neal: Hmm...well, I can't get a hold of it. (So, he and I both started pushing on it like you would a splinter - press on the part that's buried in the flesh and hope to see it start to wiggle out).
Me: Oh! Oh! You got it! Yay. (Followed by 2 weeks of oh crap.....BECAUSE...apparently, when you are stung, you never want to push on the stinger as if it were a splinter because that actually injects more poison into the skin. But we did not know that at the time. We didn't even have a first aid kit with us. We just had my Girl Scout memories and Neal's Army experience, which did not serve either one of us very well in the moment).

At any rate, it burned (in the joint) for the entire night (which means that apparently we did not bring enough wine) and then itched until...2 days ago. Yes, 2 days ago. That is almost 3 weeks of itching and burning - alleviated only by some Calamine lotion (although someone suggested I pack on meat tenderizer. Um, yeah, no. No reason to tempt a bear...or my husband, hungry and home from work). Anyway, I have one tiny pinprick to remind me of the havoc created by one of God's tiniest creatures on one of God's top-of-the-food-chain creatures. That 1% has to happen sometime....


  1. Oh man! I've only ever been stung once. In a pool. And someone immediately put meat tenderizer on it (who knew?), so I was lucky. You were minding your own sweet business, for crying out loud! What was his freaking problem?? I swear, bees are mean, vengeful insects.... and i'm CONVINCED that one at lunch the other day was OUT TO GET ME.

    You're so funny! I'm following you now too! :)

  2. And you know what? At least you can take comfort in the fact that he DIED after stinging you. So, there's one down... many millions more to go.


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