And Then I Got Stung, AGAIN!   Leave a comment

Back in April, on an unseasonably hot day, while battling back the Knotweed Forest, I got stung by a wasp.  Without the blessing of acclimation, I was covered in sweat, as it rained in my eyes.  Maybe, that smelled good to the beast; however, I wasn’t able to get a good look at my attacker.  He was big, black and blurry, best I could tell!  Between the heat and the sting, I was ready for ice.  On the way in, I grabbed a Plantain Leaf, Plantago juncoides, chewed it up a bit and slapped it on the sting;  which brought immediate relief. The cool darkness of my kitchen was wonderful.  Ice felt marvelous on my arm, and on my lips.  As I nursed my wound and relieved my thirst, an overwhelming urge to curl up, set in.  The stone kitchen floor looked so cool and inviting, that I figured I had gotten a little too much sun, and decided to go lay down.  In retrospect, this was a dangerous mistake, however, I was unaware that I was having a severe allergic reaction.  I missed that entire day, sleeping 9 hours, waking up feeling ready to go back to bed, not being able to eat, thinking I was coming down with the flu, or some junk, I went back to bed and slept until the next morning.  My body was working so hard, to stay alive it refused to do anything but rest and recover.  The next day, I woke up wheezing and struggling to breath; which, began a week long odyssey of E.R., and Dr visits, resulting in several breathing treatments and prescription, after prescription.  Now I carry an Epi-pen, an Albuterol inhaler, and liquid Benadryl; wherever I go.

Two weeks ago, I received an email from Blanche Cybele Derby; explaining that she was coming to the Cape, for a visit, and would like to stop by, on the way home, to meet me.  My first though was rather childlike, “SHE wants to meet ME!?!?!?”  Then a thousand questions splattered my thought train!  OMGoodness, I’m going to have an hour or so, with my Foraging Idol!  Blanche is a foraging encyclopedia!  My head was swimming for a week, until; finally, the knock came upon my door.  Realizing we, both, already have an idea of each other, from our published efforts, I knew I had the advantage.  I’ve watched the “Edible Plants: Wild and Tame” series, and read both editions of “My Wild Friends”, repeatedly.  All Ms. Derby had to go on was this blog.  My plan was to unleash my inner Librarian.  I prepared a list of questions, with the intention of writing an interview, here.  Our conversation flowed freely, as Blanche’s apparent love and knowledge was enthusiastically shared.

On the top of the list of questions was, “What do you do about flying invaders?”  Blanche explained that she isn’t usually bothered by insects; although a green fly invasion, during her stay on the Cape, inspired her to crush Yarrow and rub it on her skin; which seemed to help.  That is truly a genius thought!  Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is a wonderful bite remedy; therefore, if you do get bit, the medicinal properties will immediately relieve the pain, itch and/or rash that often follows. (2)  And, in retrospect, it seems to me that Yarrow has few invaders, as it does not get eaten, full of holes.  Blanche also related, that, in her experience, sweaty folks and meat eaters get stung, more often.  She is a dry vegetarian.  I am a very sweaty meat eater.  Hummmmm!  She vaguely remembered an article about Purslane, Portulaca oleracea, and Anaphylaxis, and gave me the name of a chemist, to investigate.

After our visit, I had several errands, then my plan was to begin writing up our interview.  And, Then I Got Stung, AGAIN!  This time it was a Yellow Jacket, which I plainly saw.  I didn’t realize Yellow Jackets are, also, wasps; but, more about that, tomorrow, with Our Sunday Guest, Kat Koch. (3)

I’ve read and been told that with each sting the effects will worsen.  And, this is certainly my experience.  I immediately felt my chest tightening and began to wheeze, as I fumbled for the Epi-pen; I could hear myself gurgling.  Following the pre-practiced instructions, I stabbed my thigh with the pen.  WOW, that stung and hurt, a lot!  Within seconds, oh. .  gee. . . . wow. . . . ., I felt like I could fly!  I ran upstairs, for the phone and dialed 911, as I used my inhaler and swigged Benadryl.  For some unknown reason, I had the foresight to turn on the AC!  Everything felt so much more real, immediate and alive; as the stairs, walls, even the cats struggled to breathe, with me.  A fireman, who was across the street, came to sit with me, until the ambulance arrived; as several other firemen and firewomen, magically, appeared.  Each one of them was gloriously beautiful and smelled sooo nice.  When the ambulance arrived, it was a Carvel Ice-cream truck, playing ice-cream vendor music.  The EMTs wore Carvel uniforms. I still did not realize that I was hallucinating; everything just seemed very right and very good.  In the ER a nurse placed a lead on my chest, and it felt like she punched me, so I winced.  This nurse and I discussed the fact that I was indeed hallucinating, and I agreed to kept in mind that she wasn’t actually punching me, and she agreed not to mind me wincing; as she continued to punch me at least a dozen times; maybe it was a thousand times.  The Doctor was a cross between Goofy and Dr. Kildare.  I received accolades for remembering and executing the “Sting Drill”, a breathing treatment, prednisone and several prescriptions; and was sent on my way, with an instruction sheet, containing Activity Restrictions and Additional Instructions, which reads, “DON’T MESS WITH BEES”, and a warning to take it easy for a few days!  I left with a million questions!  Honest to goodness, there has got to be a better way!

The past week has been real!  The closest I can come to describing it is, pneumonia-like.  Doing anything has required brute determination.  And, my mind is elsewhere, really, nowhere.  In an effort to look on the bright side, I figured a few days of taking it easy, gives me a chance to do some research, and write up the interview.  However, little has been accomplished.  Most of the week has been spent in front of the AC, having a “Lost” marathon.  It is really a much better story than I had imagined!  Right this moment, I’m pretty happy I’ve been able to sit up long enough to type this out.  Each day I feel a little more like me.  The interview post, with Blanche Cybele Derby, is coming along, slowly.

In April, I was given more Prednisone, then this go round.  I believe that is part of why I recovered faster and easier, then.  I could have asked for more prednisone, this time.  It was a tough choice, not to ask.  The short-term benefits of feeling stronger and breathing better, is very tempting; however, the long-term side effects of steroids, frightens me.  Not to mention the side effects of Epinephrine, Albuterol; et all.

Obviously, I have more questions than answers.  Any thoughts, comments, and/or wisdom that anyone would like to share, here, will be greatly appreciated.  My Mother always said, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

      I will find a better way.

Thanx for stopping by.  See you next time.

(1) Blanche Cybele Derby:

(2) Yarrow, Achillea millefolium:

(3) Kat Koch:


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