Yellow-jackets! That's what happened to us.
Stupid, evil, vindictive yellow-jackets.
Do you remember a couple of entries ago, I mentioned that I got stung by a bee while mowing the lawn? Well, it turned out it wasn't a bee. Unknown to us, a very large colony of yellow-jackets had built a ground nest near the edge of our property. It's right up against the property line with our neighbors, so it isn't a place we spend a whole lot of time hanging out and we had no idea it was there. The last time I mowed, I guess I just barely disturbed them because I was only stung once, and because Steve said there were some bees hanging around the crepe myrtle, that's what we thought got me. This time, though, I apparently did more than disturb them. I must have disturbed them and said something horrible about their mother, if their reaction was any indication!
Since getting stung last time, I was careful to wear blue-jeans when I mowed. I should have worn tennis shoes, too, but I didn't. I thought that jeans would be enough, because really, statistically, how often can expect to get stung while mowing your lawn if it's only happened once in 14 years?
So I'm working on the last section of our yard, which is the big part in the front. I usually start by going around the entire perimeter, and then sectioning it off. This time, I was doing that, but decided that I needed to go over the same ground since I missed a spot, which was apparently the wrong thing to do. I hit the nest twice, and as I went over it the second time, they came after me. The first one got me in the ear! THE MOTHER-EFFING EAR! As I sat there, holding my ear, I got stung on my foot, my hand and my calf. I panicked. I literally couldn't figure out how to get away. I realized, way too late that I was on a riding lawnmower, which I then managed to drive into the center of the lawn. I was still in a panic, so I couldn't figure out how to turn it off, so I just jumped off and ran into the house. For all I knew at that point, they were still following me. I ran through the house, stripped off my clothes and I jumped into the shower to drown anything that was still on me. Poor Steve had no idea what was going on, so he walked over to where I had been and he got swarmed. While I was in the shower, I heard him running through the house and getting into the other shower. He'd been stung 11 times on his legs. He'd still managed to get the lawnmower inside and the garage closed, so points go to Steve in this instance. We are so lucky that neither one of us is allergic, but we still popped Benadryl just in case.
Y'all, I'd like to say I was stoic and able to deal with the pain with no problem, but I'd be lying. I always believed I had a pretty high tolerance for pain, but I was proven very, very wrong. I'd only been stung 4 times, and I think the three on my hand/foot/leg weren't that bad, but it was the one in my ear that nearly drove me insane. Imagine someone stabbing a needle into your ear and wiggling it around for hours without stopping. The pain wouldn't back off. The longer I sat there, the worse it got. Steve said that his stings hurt, but they weren't that bad. Me, I just laid down and cried. I did everything I could think of to help them: we put Neosporin on the stings, we crushed up aspirin applied that, baking soda paste, cortisone cream, but nothing helped. I finally decided that if I could just go to sleep, I could get away from it. But I couldn't go to sleep. My muscles were twitching so bad that I couldn't even doze off. I tried icing my ear and applying heat to it, but nothing helped. I even kept trying to take Tylenol and stuff like that, but nothing touched it. We finally had to go to Target and buy some kind of after sting stuff (that did nothing) and I bought some Z-quil because I figured that if I couldn't go to sleep on my own, I'd drug myself into it. By the time we got home, my ear was hurting a tiny bit less, but my hand and foot had begun swelling up like balloons. I did fall asleep, which was a blessing, but I didn't stay asleep for long. I finally just got up, took the sleeping stuff, and went to sleep for real. I was going to avoid the pain as much as possible. That probably doesn't speak well about my coping skills! Steve said his stings had stopped hurting, but had started to itch like crazy, so he stayed in the living-room all night so that he wouldn't wake me up while he scratched.
I woke up at around 4:00 that morning, and took more Benadryl, which was not smart on top of all of the other stuff I'd been taking, which made me too drunk to go to church! Steve was not hurtinganymore, his bites were itchy but he was ok, so he went ahead to church and had to run the sound for me. I slept for a long, long time. When I finally woke up, I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror, and...you guys, my ear was 3 times bigger than an ear should be! It was so gross! I had a cauliflower ear, for real! It was so swollen that I couldn't even bend my earlobe! My foot and hand were also swollen up so badly that they didn't look like they belonged on my body. You know how babies have those little fat, boneless looking hands and feet? That is what I had on one side of my body. When I'd walk, my foot looked like a water balloon being compressed. YUCK! So much yuck! I WAS A MUTANT!
I hid in the house for the rest of the day like I was the Elephant Man or something. I probably could have gone to church that night, the pain was all but gone, but I was afraid everyone would be staring at my ear. Seriously, it was like freak-show big. It was still really swollen when I went to bed, but it did go down a lot during the night so I was able to come to work today. Besides, I can stand three people looking at my ear, but not dozens and dozens of them looking.
At any rate, now we are mainly just very itchy. My hand a foot are still swollen, but that is getting better. I'll be glad when I can wear a normal shoe again, though. We'll be lucky if Steve has legs left after he finishes scratching them. He really did get stung a lot, but he was able to stand the pain much better than me. I felt like such a weenie.
So, that was my weekend! I hope yours was much better! :)