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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Stupid evil wasp of iniquity

So Sunday afternoon just after I’d taken those pictures in the previous post of a mellow Sunday afternoon reading under the trees, tra la la, I got up to take dishes back to the kitchen and out of nowhere a wasp stung me on the arm (in the triceps, for those who’d like to know.) Nasty thing!

It hurt like heck, of course, but I was brave and took the dishes in anyway on my way to the medicine cabinet. I slathered it in tea tree oil and stuck on a band-aid (Snoopy!) and didn’t think much more about it. The next day my arm didn’t hurt much but I had weird muscle pain in my back between my shoulder blades. Then it moved to my chest. As the day progressed, I started feeling really out of it and a little dizzy. I began wondering if the pain was caused by the wasp venom. I took a bath to soak it out (?) and headed for bed. I think maybe Zeus thought I was crabby, but I was just super tired and couldn’t think very clearly.

This morning the pain had moved down to my left hand and was making it all tingly. I was also much dizzier and faint and blurry thoughted, and I started thinking that this was really weird. I’ve been stung before without any reaction like this. So I did a search on the internet (!). I found an informative site that had helpful news links in the side bar: Camper Dies after Bee Stung! Grandma Killed by Wasp Sting on Hand!

The site information explained the different grades of reactions to stings: a local reaction at the sting site: bothersome but not too worrisome, and systemic reaction where badness (to use the medical term) travels somewhere else in your body and causes reactions there. A severe systemic reaction is what we know as anaphylactic shock. The symptoms listed were these: hives, faintness, dizziness, tingly of extremities, wheezing, difficulty swallowing, tingly feeling of lips and mouth, confused thinking. Yikes!

Now I know that anaphylactic shock is something that occurs within minutes if not seconds of a sting. It sounded like I was having shock reeeeaaaaally slooooooowly. I know I can be kinda slow sometimes, but c’mon!

Still, it was worrisome: my extremity was tingling and I kept feeling like I was going to black out. Wasn’t my tongue feeling kind of tingly too? And my lips? Or was that because I was just squeezing them together? Was that swallow as easy as the last one? Aaaa! Finally I called the village doctor and made an appointment.

Sigh. On Thursday night Zeus and I had gone over the budget. We have some nice pricey health insurance (mandatory in Switzerland), and to save a little money we opted for higher deductibles and prayer. We decided we just wouldn’t go to the doctor this year – we’d avoid him altogether! - maybe not so realistic with four kids. But we’d be super healthy after all, right? from all those fresh mountain herbs and cheese?

Sigh. I was the first one to go and in the end, it’s a good thing. I wasn’t being a hypochondriac after all. The doctor said my symptoms were kind of classic for a delayed reaction or serum sickness. He gave me an oral cortisone to take for three days along with my anti-histamine, and told me that next time my chances are about 50% of having a similar or greater reaction, and I should start carrying the cortisone around with me. He gave me a cute little keychain box to keep them in.


So, relieved, I swallowed the meds and went home for a nap, which is what I had wanted to do all day, but had been a little afraid to as there was no one home but Hermes to poke me if I just slipped off and away into unconsciousness. Now with the kids home from school and some cortisone in the system, I let them fend for themselves and did a major flop.

After the flop, my brain started thinking a little more clearly and I felt a little better. Still dizzy and tired, but better. I went to bed early again. But now I am suspecting that whatever cortisone does it must also stimulate ADRENALINE because it’s 4:42 am and I’ve been AWAKE for three hours!! And feeling wordy and chatty!! The doctor did say that generally, it should be taken in the morning. Hmmm…

So I feel like I lost two days in there. I was going to paint a wall in the kitchen today (our landlady said I could!), but it was a no go. Rats! It will have to wait.


  1. So sorry! Hope you feel all better soon, and are never stung again. Glad you got treatment!

  2. Wow! Sorry to hear that - I was bitten by two different types of wasps last summer and then the summer before - it was different each time - very unpleasant both times. Glad you got help.

  3. That is not a stupid evil wasp of iniquity. That is a blessed welcome wasp of information. Now you know you are vulnerable and will, the next time you wander into the hinterlands, take your epi kit with you. What if you didn't know, wandered, and got multiple stings?

  4. Whew! I'm so glad that story has a happy ending. I think Scott had shots for 6 years to get over his yellow jacket allergy. Yikes. Any chance your reaction was to a special Swiss wasp that doesn't inhabit the NW? ;-) Andrea

  5. Phew! I'm so glad you are ok. Welcome to the world of the epi(pen)kit. Sorry you have to carry it around now, but we like you here on the planet, so don't forget it!

    I wish I could come paint with you. It's my specialty. Have fun!