I saw a wasp nest in the corner of one of our back windows today, and that started me thinking about my experiences with stinging insects.
It also made me realize how different incidents like those with children are treated today compared to when I was growing up.
I am not allergic to stings, at least as far as I know, but I do have reactions to them. Once when I was young, I was staying with my father for the summer. I think it was the summer he convinced me to come live with him, bribing me with a pony. I was eight years old, for crying out loud. What a lowlife he was to use me that way. Anyway. He lived in a trailer, and there was a huge wasp nest on the corner above the doorway. We had seen it there for days. Note the fine parenting skills.
One morning we were leaving the house, and the screen door caught the wasp nest on its way by. Naturally I was the last one out of the house, so they attacked. I was stung several times (not the thousand it felt like), and one sting got me right in the outside corner of my left eye.
Both eyes swelled shut. They probably didn't stay that way long, but I'm sure it wasn't fun to be stuck with my witchy old aunt all day while my father worked ON TOP OF being blind.
Another time I stepped on a bee (I didn't believe in wearing shoes) that I thought was dead, but the stinger still got me. That sounds like I stepped on it on purpose; I assure you that's not the case. My foot was so swollen it looked like a football attached to the end of my leg. I had brand new patent leather Easter shoes, and I couldn't even put one on that foot.
Once I got stung on the bus on the way to school. It got me on the outside of my left hand. Did anyone else play with rubber gloves when you were little, filling them up with water? I'm not sure what we were trying to accomplish with that.... Maybe pretending it was a cow's udder? I'd rather not guess. Anyway, that was what my hand looked like by the time we got to school. It was grotesquely misshapen and turning colors. I'm pretty sure I just spit on some tobacco (from the pack of cigarettes I'm equally sure I had in my purse) and rubbed it on the sting. That was the remedy we had always used. At any rate, it certainly didn't warrant a phone call home, a trip to the doctor, or even the suggestion that I might need to carry an epi pen.
Epi pen? What the hell was an epi pen? We had no such thing back then, and if I had one, I probably would have used it to cause mischief anyway.
My mother would no more have taken me to the doctor for a wasp sting than she would have taken me to a salon for a pedicure.
My how things have changed.