It all started innocently enough in the Summer of 1992 at our summer cottage at Green Lake in the Cariboo. At the lake, there are always projects to be done, and this particular day was going to be devoted to cleaning up the old boat house. When I say old, I mean decades old, and leaning a little to the right! How it hadn’t fallen victim to the heavy snows of the winter, I’ll never know.
Part of the cleanup was to get rid of an old rolled-up carpet at the far end of the boat house that the previous owners had left behind. I grabbed one end of the carpet and started to pull it out, when out of the other end came a swarm of bees, wasps, yellow jackets, whatever they were, and they were not very happy! I dropped the carpet and ran, and as I did I got stung 3 times on the back of the knee. Yes, it hurt, but I was more concerned about getting as far away as possible.
I stopped running when I realized they had lost interest in me, and then started searching around for the proverbial 10-foot pole. I was on a mission now, and the carpet had to go! Back to the boat house I went, armed with a 10-foot tree branch. As carefully as I could, I started to drag the carpet out of the boat house. It was going well, until all of a sudden, out they came again, and off I ran again. This little dance continued a number of times until I was finally successful in getting the carpet out of the boat house, and managed to destroy the nest that had been built inside the rolled-up carpet. The bees, wasps, yellow jackets, whatever they were, were now really unhappy but eventually moved along.
As this was happening, I noticed the palms of my hands started to feel itchy! I went into the cottage to see if we had any calamine lotion to try and ease the itch. We didn’t have any, so I went to the neighbour’s to see if they had any I could use. When my neighbour came to the door I asked him about the lotion, but when I spoke my voice was just a whisper! He said, “What’s wrong with your voice?” I didn’t know, I hadn’t had to talk all the time I was in bee combat! I then told him what happened and he said that I was probably having an allergic reaction to the stings and that I should probably head to the hospital, which was about 40 miles away.
So, I headed back to the cottage to grab the keys to the Jeep and my wife Jeri asked where I was going. In a whispery voice I told her the story, she said “You’re not driving, get in the Jeep and I’ll drive.” So, off we went.
About 5 minutes into the drive, I started to feel lightheaded and asked her to stop at the side of the road. I had been told that you can’t faint if you’re lying down. So, I got out and lay down on the side of the road. As I was lying there, in the blazing sun, I realized that the lying down story came from my dental hygienist, and while it may be true, I thought maybe it would be better to get back in the Jeep and continue to drive to the hospital.
Another 5 minutes passed, and my wife looked over at me and saw my eyes roll back in my head! She reached over and pounded on my chest as she was driving, yelling, “Don’t die now, we just got married!” How romantic! At that point, I came to and said we should stop at the General Store and call an ambulance. The plan was, we would head north to the hospital and if the medics could head south, we’d meet in the middle. She ran in and used the phone, then came back and started to drive again.
Finally, we could see the ambulance coming down the highway. She flashed the high beams and pulled over to the side of the road. The ambulance did a U-turn and pulled up behind us. The attendant opened the passenger door, looked at me, and said “Where’s the baby?” I said, “I feel like a bit of a baby right now, but I’m your patient!” He said the message they got was that there was a baby in distress. Well, that would be me, I guess, and I told him I was feeling a little better, and we would make our way to the hospital. Nope, wasn’t going to happen. I guess when they’re called out, they have to transport the patient. So, I walked to the ambulance, they put me on the stretcher, and away we went to town.
When I got to the hospital I explained my problem, and that I had been stung before, but never had a reaction. The doctor said just to be safe he was going to give me a shot of adrenaline.
Well, I’m here to tell you, the shot, which was administered to the Gluteus Maximus by a 3-foot needle, maybe a 4-foot needle, was 10 times worse than the 3 bee stings combined!
Since then, I’ve given a wide berth to anything that even might look like it has a stinger. Not because I’m afraid to be stung, but because I’m not wanting another shot to the Keester!
Till next week...
1 // Boathouse at Green Lake
2 // Green Lake Cabin
3 // Sunset at Green Lake
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1328 Johnston Road
White Rock, BC • Canada V4B 3Z2
White Rock, BC • Canada V4B 3Z2