Rita Riebel Mitchell

The Sting of the Wasp

It hurts, that sting of the wasp.

Red and swollen, itchy and hot, my knee ballooned. I have the feeling it will never be the same.

Living with Nature

Since I live in the woods, I decided that I can’t let a little wasp sting get me down. On day two, I wandered through the trees, as usual, on a moss-covered trail, well-traveled by deer, squirrels, and maybe even the occasional raccoon or red fox. Wild huckleberry bushes, absent their early summer berries, hide hoards of chiggers, eensy, weensy arachnids that burrow their tiny claws into your skin and hang on for days, sucking up liquified cells. You’ll never know that they found you until it’s too late. Then you’ll itch for a week or longer.

Now the wasp sting is giving me chills. Am I allergic? No. This is simply a “large local reaction.” (No knee photos… it’s not pretty)

The heat of the inflammation warrants an ice pack, but I need more steps to reach one of my fitness goals of the day. So, I trudge onward, avoiding the chigger-filled bushes and the tick-infested deer grass. The cool of the forest in my backyard belies the temperature in the sun. (Of course, it’s hotter in the sun. I know that. You know that.)

Still Walking

The canopy that blocks the sun is full of living things. I see few of them, but I hear many. The coo of the dove, the delicate song of finches, the raspy shout of a squirrel, the rattle of cicadas, and the chirp of crickets. The spiders, ants, and caterpillars don’t make sounds, at least not that my human ears can hear. However, I imagine them screaming when a woodpecker taps holes into their trees, invading their space, eating them and their young. I see the woodpecker, now, hopping from branch to branch, listening and pecking. I imagine its prey, running for safety, yelling to the younger, less worldly versions of themselves, “Run!”

Treating the Sting

After several doses of antihistamine, the itching of the wasp sting subsides, and I no longer feel that I want to claw at the site, digging through my skin, to satisfy the craving. It doesn’t work anyway, the scratching, I mean. My ice packs melt in ten minutes, just enough time to cool the area and reduce the swelling. Somewhat.

Three days after the sting, my knee is still red and angry. The patch of inflammation shrinks to the diameter of an orange instead of a grapefruit. It still itches, and I’m still taking over-the-counter meds for it, which is making me so sleepy that I’m nodding off between sentences. Still using an ice pack, it’s the only thing that calms my irritated skin.

How many times did this wasp sting me? I think only once. So maybe I’m just being a big baby about this. I don’t think I was ever stung by a wasp before. Bees, many times, but not wasps.

Where did the wasp come from? Ahhh. Funny story. Or maybe not so funny.

The Not-So-Funny Story About the Wasp Sting

I started up the gas grill last week and several wasps flew out from under it. Quickly backing off, I changed plans and put the boneless thighs in the oven. Thinking the wasps abandoned their now cooked nest, I decided to grill again on Sunday. Unfortunately for me, I was wrong (about the nest) and the wasps didn’t like my choice of cooking method. Before I saw any of them, I felt a stinging pain on my knee, frantically batted the wasp away, and panicked, retreating to safety behind the screen door. Ice followed, as did my “pity me” attitude.

Thanks to my husband, the wasps are no longer living under the grill. I really hate killing wasps. They are good pollinators and are predators of other garden pests. BUT, they really need to choose their nest locations a little farther from my deck.

Life Goes On

Now I’m back to walking (limping) along the trail in my backyard, swatting at mosquitos and hoping not to pick up any ticks or chiggers… I observe life all around me and the beauty of a summer day.

Wish you were here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *