Saturday, 3 September 2016

In Which I Do Not Die

I had been planning to do a post about the bees, and to talk about how I heard my new queen 'piping' before I installed her, but then I had a bit of trouble at the weekend..

I went down to my hive on Sunday afternoon for a routine inspection and as I was finishing I got stung.

This is not normally a major issue. Obviously no-one likes to get stung, but, equally obviously, it is an occupational hazard of keeping bees and it happens.

I've been stung three times before, and each time,the reaction was perfectly normal - a bit of swelling around where I was stung, itchiness  where it was swollen, and all better after a few days.

Sunday's experience was rather different and very scary. 

Almost immediately after I was stung I started to feel a bit odd, and things went downhill rapidly from there, as it turned out that I was having a full-on anaphylactic reaction. 

I was lucky in that it didn't significantly affect my throat and mouth so I was able to breathe, but even without that it was pretty unpleasant - full body rash, (which itched and burned as well as being bright scarlet and very unflattering!) faintness, very low blood pressure (all my fingers turned a deep and un-beautiful shade of blue, and I couldn't sit or stand up without passing out ), constant shaking (apparently that goes with the 'shock' part...

I don't recommend it. It really isn't any fun at all.

Fortunately, although it was pretty quick (rash started coming up within about 5 minutes of being stung) I was able to phone an ambulance (and also to call my neighbours, who came round and waited with me for the ambulance, and then locked up an fed the cats for me while I had a ride to the hospital and a 5 hour visit to AandE.

I was allowed to go home after being pumped full of steroids, hooked up for several hours  to  machine which goes *ping*, and (a little later) being given a splendid, NHS issue cup of tea.

And my lovely parents dropped everything and came down, so they were able to drive me home and stay over for a couple of days offering tea and sympathy.

I know have an epipen in case of further incidents, but I think I will be getting rid of the bees - I know some beekeepers do continue even after developing allergies, but for me, a big part of the attraction was to have a calm, relaxing hobby, to counteract all the stress at work. 
And somehow, knowing that a minor sting might result in collapse, hospitals or death isn't very relaxing.

Which is very, very disappointing.

I have to say, though, that having a smart phone and being allowed to use it in the hospital did help a lot. Once I started to feel better it was good to be able to text my parents and give them reassuring updates (they live a 2 hour drive from me so although I called them from the ambulance it took a while or them to get there. And I suspect, with hindsight, that my attempt to break the news gently so as not to cause panic may not have been as sucessful as I intended!)

And as I started to feel better, being able to post on facebook and have friends offering (virtual) hugs and real company and sympathy made it a much less lonely experience!

LAst, but definately not least, thank god for the NHS! 


Emma Gedge said...

I'm so sorry it's not being relaxing after all :(

And very glad you managed to not die :)

Marjorie said...

Thank you.
I'm glad I managed not to die, too.
It's a real disappointment to have to give up.