I am no stranger to bee stings. As a kid it seems I was often barefoot, and I had plenty of runs-ins with the peaceful creatures. The result was usually just a swollen foot and limping for a few days – and of course the tell-tale itching.
The last time I was stung by a bee I iced it and put my foot up, and really didn’t notice much else.
But while my foot may be immune, turns out my face isn’t.
Recently I went for a run. It was a Friday, and I’d squished my run in between a work meeting a German lesson. It was a good run, I was feeling strong… and then… wham!
I felt something strike me just under the eye. It felt like something much harder than an insect, but the tell-tale buzzing proved otherwise. After becoming trapped under my sunglasses for a few seconds, the silly bee went ahead and stung me before I had a chance to shoo her away.
At this point I realised I’d been stung by some kind of flying creature. And I tell you… it hurt. And I felt the first flutter of panic. I wasn’t allergic to bees… but what if it was a wasp… or some other random flying creature. What if I suddenly went into anaphylactic shock? I was on long stretch of not-so frequented road, with just a few farm houses to call upon if things went bad. So what did I do, you ask? Well I ran the hell home as quickly as I could.
I was probably only 5-6 minutes away so there was no problem. Though it did occur to me that if I had been stung by a bee/wasp, raising my pulse was probably not the smartest idea.
Upon my arrival home I discovered that directly under my left eye was the biggest damn sting I have ever seen. After scraping around I eventually resorted to tweezers behind the poison sac to remove it – she’d launched it in there really solidly.
It doesn’t look so bad, I thought to myself. There was a bit of swelling but it was minimal. My panic wasn’t completely over, so I made sure I had the ambulance on speed dial and left the house unlocked so they wouldn’t have to break down the door (come on, we’ve all done it). Then I began my online German lesson, with an icepack on my left eye, exploding with pain. I figured, if things got bad, at least I wasn’t technically alone.
And that was it. After more icing, it was red, hot, sore and itchy… but there didn’t seem to be anything more going on. Phew, I thought to myself. We went food shopping, I showered and got ready for dinner. And out we went for a 6 course degustation menu… as planned. During the night I relayed the story to my inlaws, who had joined us. But it bothered me that I couldn’t keep my hand from touching my face throughout dinner. I was being dramatic I told myself; I was secretly loving being the centre of attention, obviously. There was nothing wrong with my face… it was just a bit hot. Stop being so dumb, Debbie.
And then the next morning came.
As soon as I awoke I knew something was wrong. In the bathroom I was confronted with a beastly, half-swollen face. Turns out, I’m not as tough as I thought. I approached my husband apprehensively, with a hand over my left eye: “I think you need to go to the pharmacy.”
In between half-laughing and seeming vaguely frightened, he headed off to the pharmacy with my selfie so he could “show them what had happened.”
It was itchy as hell, but apart from the fact that I looked like a monster and couldn’t really see, I felt ok. I started taking antihistames, which I found out is what every other person takes the second they have an insect bite. I had never taken antihistamines for a bee sting in my life! Luckily we had no plans for the weekend, so I could mostly chill. Though I think weeding the garden was a mistake, whenever I put my head lower than my heart it felt like my head was going to throb off!
Sunday came and it was… well… almost the same. But I did manage to cook my lamb roast as planned.
On Monday morning I called in sick. I know it was only a bee sting but I could barely see. I certainly couldn’t drive. I did do some home office, but squinting at a screen was not feasible for long periods of time.
Tuesday came and I decided home office would probably do me for the week. While I could work fine now, driving was still way out of the question.
Finally on Thursday I started to appear halfway normal again. My reason for not going into the office on this day was pure vanity. While I didn’t look completely monster-ish… I certainly didn’t look normal. In some ways it seemed more agreeable that people see my monster face… rather than appearing just a little ‘off’.
It took over a week before the swelling was gone, and almost 2 weeks until the itching stopped and I could see I actually was back to normal.
Moral of the story is… don’t get stung in the face by a bee if you can help it. But if you do… get onto those antihistamines right away!