I compare 2020 to a bee sting. It is angry, filled with venom, is painful, and has an angry, annoying buzz that just won’t go away. Living on a farm, with a broad expanse of land and numerous out buildings, we are quite familiar with bees, their nests, and the danger that encountering a nest can create for the unfortunate explorer. However, we have not seen bees of this magnitude for as long as I can remember. When I moved here with my parents in the early 90’s, the farm was in disrepair and it seemed as if there were yellow jackets everywhere. However, I don’t ever remember this many bees or bee stings.
My poor little bean has gotten into not one, but two bee’s nests this year. The first incident was a few weeks ago. I was working inside the house, her dad was working on the new fence, when we heard her scream a blood curdling scream. I knew immediately it was bees. I went running, only to be met with Eric running across the yard to her rescue. She was running for the house as fast as her skinny, little legs could carry her. Of course, in her usual summer attire, shorts and a tank top, with much of her skin exposed, she was a broad target for angry wasps. Her arms and legs were covered in red welts. She was crying and swatting as a few determined soldiers continued to follow her. Her dad was able to swat them away with his hat but the damage was done.
Eric scooped her up and carried her inside the house. I got the Benadryl and dosed her immediately and then prepared a paste of baking soda and water. As we slathered her arms and legs in baking soda, we counted six stings. Three on her feet, one on her ankle and two on her forearm. I have never seen bee stings swell, turn red, and get hot the way these did. Once she settled down, she was able to tell us that she had been on her swing set, in the fort, when she heard the buzzing. She said she started to climb down to leave but it was too late.
The Bibbed Wonder went out to investigate and there was indeed a medium sized nest under the climbing wall, tucked in where it was almost impossible to see unless you were looking for it. He immediately went to the store to buy bee spray. He and The Bean made plans to ambush the enemy at nightfall. He ended up carrying out this mission alone because our little buddy could barely put any weight on her foot and her arm was a swollen painful, heat filled welt. It took her almost a week to recover from those stings. She has not been out to the play set since.
The second episode occurred this week. She was helping her dad cover and move the portable goat yurts when they came upon an in-ground hornet’s nest. Eric said he saw the bees before she did and he yelled, “Jordan, Get Out of There!” From his perspective, it looked like it was happening in slow motion. The Bean thought he was just asking her to move in a rude way…only my kid. Of course, she wasn’t quick enough. This time, she was swarmed, screaming a fear filled, blood chilling scream, and was stung eight times. This time, she was wearing leggings, a t-shirt, and boots. I told her if she was going to be out with her dad, she needed to wear pants, a shirt that covered her torso and shoulders, and tall boots. The white-faced hornets were able to sting through her leggings, they got inside her boots, and they stung her on her lip and check. So much for protective clothing…sigh.
Again, Eric ran to the house with her. I again got the Benadryl and again made the paste with baking soda and water. Although not quite as angry and red as the wasp stings, she again was covered in red welts that were burning and itching. Her little face and lips were swollen with angry red streaks running down to her neck. I was fearful of a reaction with them being on her face but she felt okay, aside from the itching and burning. We monitored her closely and she was instructed to tell me if she felt anything unusual at all. After a cool bath in baking soda and oatmeal, she put on loose fitting pajamas and went to sleep.
When she awoke the next morning, the side of her face where she had been stung had doubled in size and her lips were swollen and red. Eric told her she looked like Suzy-Q Who from the Grinch. He tried to get her to say, “Even the Grinch deserves a Christmas” but my bean found no humor in his shenanigans. We gave her another dose of Benadryl, put cool compresses on her stings, and then followed with Benadryl cream. The swelling went down but she was miserable. Again, I fear that this incident is going to take a week of recovery.
The year 2020 will certainly stand out in our memory. Some memories are good, some are humorous, others would be better forgotten. This year is certainly interesting if nothing else. Like a bee sting, it is painful, it is annoying, but the good news is, it too will go away. Its venom will weaken, it’s annoying itch will dissipate, and the mark it leaves will fade…perhaps not disappear but fade. Be patient dear reader, this too shall pass. As always, stay safe, stay smart, keep the Benadryl and baking soda on hand, and of course wash your hands.