Today’s Inperspire BINGO word: walk
Remember yesterday’s Art of Breathing post when I was advocating embracing the wild? Well, I had a collision with the wild…a honey bee. Now, honey bees and me, we don’t mix. It’s not that I don’t love honey, and I am fully aware that without bees we would have an ecological catastrophe, but, I am allergic to bees; at least I was the last time I was stung – in 1966! Yes, as a wee girl of 6 years I was stung on the foot while running through the clover in our backyard. As soon as it happened I began to swell, even my eyes were swollen. My mom, in her infinite mom wisdom, put Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer on it, which breaks down the protein from the venom, and eventually I got better. Since that time, I have become an expert in avoiding bees, until today…
I was just running along, enjoying myself, listening to Gnarls Barkley’s “Run”, I was singing:
Yeah I’m on the run
See where I’m coming from
When you see me coming run
Before you see what I’m running from
No time for question asking time is passing by
when I felt a sudden and intense pain in my forearm. I stopped and looked down and there was a bee – just stinging away. It actually took my brain a moment to register what was happening. I just stood there thinking, “what should I do?” I was kind of scared…what if I went into some kind of anaphylactic shock? Of course, that was a ridiculous thought, but it did come to my mind. To make matters worse, I was standing in front of the house of the person we call “Sweeper Man” because he sweeps his sidewalks ALL day long. I certainly was not about to ask him for help. So I flicked the bee off and pulled the stinger out. My arm started to swell and I was still a long way from home. Then I thought to myself…
“This reminds of the time when I was in Africa” — thinking this just made me laugh because it sounded like something Meryl Streep would have said as Karen Blixen in Out of Africa (“I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills…”).
In truth, my last bad encounter with bees really did happen while I was in Africa, in north-central Kenya, at Shulumai Rockshelter, which is miles and miles and miles from the nearest hospital. We were digging in a rockshelter located high on the side of a mountain when we were suddenly engulfed by a swarm of bees (they were after the water from our sweat and canteens). I pinned my hopes on the fact that these were sweat bees, not honey bees, and therefore I might not be allergic to them, but I still panicked a bit. I moved as quickly as possible, trying not to draw the attention of the bees, to a small tent we had set up just down from where we were digging. I zipped/sealed myself inside until the bees finally went away (I also spent a lot of time while in the tent thinking that it was possible that one of the bees had slipped into the tent with me and I just about drove myself crazy trying to make sure this wasn’t the case!).
Now, back to the present, not knowing what else to do, I decided to take the advice of my “embrace the wild” post and to just keep running. I said to myself, be carefree, don’t worry so much, but I kept a close eye on the sting to make sure that my arm wasn’t blowing up like a ballon. When I got home I put some Benadryl on the “sting site”. I would have put Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer on it, as my mom did so many years ago, but we’re vegetarians and that’s just not something we keep in the house :).
So, it’s been about an hour now, and do you know what? I don’t think I am allergic to bee stings anymore. It’s taken me all these years to find this out.
In honor of the wild, here is a quote by Isak Dinesen, aka, Karen Blixen, who wrote Out of Africa. I visited the Blixen house while I was in Kenya and it is everything you can imagine and more.
“When in the end, the day came on which I was going away, I learned the strange learning that things can happen which we ourselves cannot possibly imagine, either beforehand, or at the time when they are taking place, or afterwards when we look back on them.” ~Isak Dinesen