Friday, August 29, 2008

My trip to the Emergency Room

Well, as some may know, a couple days ago we got six inches of rain in one day. That caused some random flooding around the ranch, but nothing terrible. The Haw River did come up over the banks, but we've seen much worse than this episode.

Apparently, however, a good long day of rain like that can make the bees somewhat energetic after it stops. And I'm allergic to bee stings. Not a good combination. I went down to our pond by the house to check on the damage done to our pier by the flooding. The pier was still wet and now sitting at about a 20 degree angle from horizontal. I had my cellphone in one hand and a cup of water in the other. I don't remember bumping anything as I went, but I must have bumped the post for our bell we have near the shore as I walked by it. I had just stepped onto the pier when I realized I was being stung on my leg and as I went to slap the bee I saw plenty more looking pretty excited around me. I have no idea what happened to the cup of water, but I slapped with both hands at bees and in the process slung my phone (a Blackberry 8830 World Phone) out of my hand. Fortunately I had a protective plastic case on it and fortunately it went toward shore and not toward water. I really didn't care much about it at the time, but as I tried to take off from the dock (and needed to turn around in the process while slapping bees), I busted my butt on the wet dock. At that point my phone was right beside my hand as I wen to get up, so I grabbed it and took off.

I ran into the house and immediately called Alisa at the barn to head to the house (Ashley was gone to town). I then found my venom suck kit and looked quickly for my epi-pen, which I didn't immediately find. Didn't need it yet, so I didn't worry about it. Also grabbed my bottle of Benadryl. Got the suck kit on one of the stings before Alisa got there, then got her help with the rest. I had one on each leg, one on my back near my arm pit, and I thought one on my head near my temple but actually inside the hair line. We got it on all of those for 30 seconds each.

I also just sat down and breathed deeply to get my heart rate back down. Very important step. Keeps things from getting circulated in the system so fast. Then once we had all the venom out we were gonna get, I quickly mis-read the dosage on the Benadryl bottle and took 75mg instead of 50mg. Probably not a bad thing. Then I found the epi-pen and sat down for a bit. Alisa was about to call my doctor to see what we should do when I started feeling pretty strange. I said skip it, let's just head to the ER. Off we go, with Alisa passing people on double yellow lines and me not really caring much. She did great, though I would have preferred she looked more at the road than at me. I didn't feel like talking, but it helped keep her eyes on the road, so I tried to anyway. I could feel my eyes getting a bit puffy and could actually feel what felt like some swelling inside my neck and chest, though it was REALLY minor and nothing that was affecting my breathing. So I just kept the epi-pen ready.

We got to the ER and they walked me back to the urgent care. Then the nurse looked at me again (and I seriously just mean she LOOKED at me) and said "uh, we should probably take you on over to the "main" room" or something like that. Okay, off we went. They were pretty quick to attend to me, but in the end all that happened was they hooked me up to some monitors, put an IV in me that they never connected to anything, drew some blood they never sent to a lab, and gave me some prednisone orally and just watched me. While the benadryl had me pretty lethargic, I pretty much just closed my eyes and zoned (I don't think I ever slept). Then they let me go home, where I pretty much just vegged the rest of the day in the theater. Went to bed at 11pm after watching NCSU take a beating in football (shocking!) and promptly woke up at 3:30am. Now it's almost 5:30am and I took some more benadryl before I wrote this. Time for more sleep finally, I think.

Oh, last thing. I don't mean to scare anyone, but apparently these stupid bee sting reactions get worse the more often you get stung. So now I have two epi-pens and may get more. And I already have venom suck kits tucked all over the place. If you know anyone with a bad hay allergy but hasn't been stung (or not since a kid...I was stung as a kid and this wasn't an issue), they should probably look into keeping a suck kit around, liquid benadryl on hand, and study the issue. They probably don't need an epi-pen yet, but they should take any sting seriously and be ready to head to the ER at the FIRST sign of breathing problems. Heck, I'd go if you just start breaking out anywhere NOT near the actual sting. That's a sign that breathing problems could be on the way (though they may not...I had a sting when I was 15 that broke me out all over, but some benadryl took care of that one). And if you use an epi-pen, GO TO THE ER ANYWAY. Those can fix the sting problem, but may cause other minor problems. And they'll probably want you on prednisone, too. (Hay allergies don't mean you are definitely allergic to bee stings, but they are strongly linked from what I've heard. Research!)


Em said...

no way! i'm allergic to bees too and last time i was stung my whole arm swelled up so it looked like a prosthesis. i really should keep an epi pen around.

Beechwood Metalworks said...

Glad you are OK!

Lady Holiday said...

Wow! I'm glad you survived. When I was little my best friend was allergic to bees, but for some reason she lived on a farm where they kept about a hundred hives to produce honey. I never understood how her mom could relax, but nothing ever happened, and she's alive and well today!