The Penny

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

[Friday, July 29, 2011]

Wasps 1, Annie 0

On Wednesday, Laynie and I went to our old apartment to clean it and get the last of the stuff out.

About three hours in, I remembered the balcony chairs. They are the zero gravity kind--just cheapish ones from Target. I went out to fold them up and bring them down to the U-Haul van I had rented for the mega Goodwill trip that was sorely needed. I tried to fold one up and it was stuck. I realized that I had to release the latches under the arms. After doing that, it folded easily. I went straight for the latches on the second, grabbing both chair arms at the same time... and touched bodies. fluttering wings. Filament legs.

Things are kind of blurry after that. I think I was processing with the right side of my brain, because I can remember snapshots of what happened. I backed up quickly; the wasps swarmed the balcony. A few chased me. One caught me.

Right as I got to the door, a felt the stab into the knuckle of my right middle finger. I couldn't believe that I had been stung and how much it hurt.

I went in and stuck my hand under cold water. I was shocked. The wasp attack was unexpected and had happened so fast. I was shaking hard, the pain was really hitting now. It got worse and worse. I needed to think. I had no idea what to do. All I knew was that my mom was highly allergic to wasps, and I was scared that I might be allergic, too. I didn't want to have an anaphylactic reaction, because I didn't want to go to the ER. That was because a. I didn't want to pay to return the U-Haul van late, and b. I wanted to finish the apartment that day. And I didn't want to waste time and exhaust my body's already limited resources.

So I knew what I didn't want to do: go to the ER. But I didn't know what I ought to do. I couldn't think straight. My hand was shaking hard, and I didn't know if that was from a reaction or because I was scared and the adrenaline was flowing. I checked my other hand. Also shaking. I assumed that it was just because I was freaking out; I was relieved. I was still scared but felt calmer.

The pain kept increasing. I would give it about an 8, almost 9, on the pain scale. And I am talking about PAIN, not itching. It was nothing like a bee sting or bug bite. It swelled up horribly; the skin on my finger looked like it was about to burst.

Some snapshots my brain took from the next 45 minutes:

Icing my hand with a bag of shrimp. The only things left in the freezer were the shrimp, some tilapia, and a tub of strawberries. I found this mildly hilarious.

Texting Katie, who suggested a baking soda and water. Oh boy, if only the baking supplies weren't already at the new house. Wait! The refrigerator contained exactly one thing: a box of baking soda.

Feeling stabs of pain on my left knee. Come to find out I had a red, DC-shaped bruise forming right on my kneecap. No idea what happened.

I called the office to have someone get rid of the wasps. After an hour or two, the pain subsided. It turned into an ache with occasional stabs of pain. While waiting for maintenance to come, Laynie took pictures of me (will post when downloaded), and we studied the wasp-nest chair. I laid on the carpet near the sliding glass door, watching the wasps crawling around under the chair arm and flying to and from the nest. At one point, I counted 11 bodies on the arm, plus whatever was out and about.

A maintenance man from the apartment complex came out with an amazing, quick-acting, foam spray. It seemed to kill on contact. He took out 8 or 9 wasps, knocked the chair on its side, sprayed the nest thoroughly, and said to give it a few minutes before spraying it with a hose (which I didn't have). He said that the wasps that were away from the next would come back for the next few minutes but would quickly vacate the area, because they hate the poison. With that, he left. Dead wasps littered the porch. Later I found out (thanks, Google) that dead wasps emit an attack signal.

Four hunting wasps came and went... mostly came. There was at least one there nearly always. Laynie tried to get the chairs, but every time she went out onto the porch, a wasp would show up. They kept heading for Laynie, and she kept heading for the door. We gave up and went on a Goodwill run then returned the van.

As the afternoon wore on, the wasps did not give up. When I noticed one favoring the arm of the other chair, I had had enough. Wielding oven cleaner, I drove away the wasps and got the chairs down to the garage. The nest was huge! Six or seven inches long, three inches across, and an inch or so thick. Full of babies.

The ache in my finger continued yesterday, accompanied by itching. It felt like I had mosquito bites all over my finger and up the back of my hand. Alternating hydrocortisone cream and baking soda paste, it was manageable. Late in the evening, the itching began to increase. My middle finger was much warmer than the rest of my hand. It was very uncomfortable, so I took a Claritin. I didn't have any Bendryl.

I went to bed, but sleep was not to be mine. I lay awake until 2:30, mainly because I couldn't shut off my brain. Just thoughts, not worries. I was exhausted but couldn't sleep. My hand was itching, though not severely. I finally nodded off...

...but woke up at 4:00 because my hand was on fire. And I was generally hot. I went downstairs to check the thermostat, which was set a little too high by one of my roommates. I sprayed Benadryl spray on my hand and tried to go back to bed.

The itching intensity rapidly increased to "tear off my hand." I gave up and went back downstairs at 4:45.

I had a very difficult morning. I worked on this blog post, which was difficult one handed on an iPad. I was exhausted and my hand felt like burning needles were stabbing me. It was swelling up again. I got some relief from an oatmeal paste, but even that stopped working after a while. A little after 9:00, Laynie and I went to Giant to get Benadryl and and few groceries.

I got back and took the two Benadryl. I typically have an opposite reaction to Benadryl and Dimetapp: they make me wired, jittery. Not today! After an hour, I felt like I would pass out. I checked drug interactions online and found that Benadryl and another medicine I'm on, gabapentin, have a synergistic effect--they increase each other. It warned that someone should monitor the patient for CNS suppression, stopping breathing, etc. Uh oh. Katie was at work and Laynie was getting ready to go to a rehab appointment.

I'm not sure what time I passed out, but I woke up at 2:00 pm. I was still tired, but unfortunately my hand was on fire. My finger was quite swollen.

It hasn't been an easy afternoon since then. Ice... baking soda... Oatmeal... More ice... Stinging, itching, and burning.

I took one Benadryl at 3:30. It's almost 6:00, and I'm having difficulty staying awake. I have that weird feeling in my chest. Just not a happy camper. But I want to stay awake until at least 8:00, if possible.

Dr. Google says that I'm having a local allergic reaction. It will probably last five days. Three more days of this? Heaven help me...


Post a Comment