July 6th, 2010 by Karen

Saturday was like most days around here, just with a bit lighter work load. We got up, had breakfast, made plans to do some yardwork before it got hot then go out for some ice cream in the afternoon with the kids to cool off. Perhaps we would even make the trek to Grandma & Grandpa’s pool down in Sacramento.

The hubby mowed the lawn while I did some minor weed pulling and some major raking for about an hour while the kids enjoyed their summer vacation morning cartoons. Now, we have these trees around our house with tiny little white flowers that are just massive pollen bombs. They make hubby’s allergies flare massively and since we’re trying not to run the AC much (it’s old and needs replacing) the windows are open a lot and that makes him worse. Not fun.

Since the trees are along the fence line, the neighbors and I have been hosing the tree down occasionally since that stuff gets _everywhere_ and while we enjoy the shade, we all hate the pollen. We finish up the yardwork, hubby goes inside to shower all the pollen off and I stay in the yard to hose down the tree.

I’ve been at it for only a couple of minutes and I suddenly feel a stabbing pain in the outside of my thigh, about 6 inches above my knee. I look down and the world stops.

I’ve been stung.

Creeping up my leg is a bee, its stinger firmly embedded in my leg, rather then where it should be on the tail end of the evil beast. I take one deep breath not knowing if I’m getting another and scream for my husband. Our oldest comes to the back door with a concerned look and I holler at her to get my purse. For once, she doesn’t ask questions and just blessedly does as she’s told. Hubby comes running as I’m slowly hobbling in the house trying to remain calm and hands me a credit card. The oldest comes with my purse and I pull out a second card because the stinger’s in too deep for just one. I get it out and he hands me my epi pin as I sink onto the couch.

I’m afraid of needles and I really, really don’t want to do this.

I flick a glance at the instructions, but I know them by rote even though I haven’t had to do this in more than a decade. I pull off the safety cap, I take quick breath to brace myself and slam it against my thigh. The needle fires. We count to 10. (I count to 12 for good measure.) I pull the inch long needle from my leg and press the spot to stop the bleeding and lay back against the couch waiting.

The oldest sits with me while the little ones find their shoes and Joel finishes getting dressed in case we’re hospital bound, and I’m deeply sorry for the worry etched on her young face, but there is little I can do to make her feel better at the moment. I want to tell her everything will be ok, but I can’t promise that and she already knows it. The lie never leaves my lips and I just tell her I love her and she did a good job instead. I can feel the medicine racing through my veins and my heart is beating so hard I feel it’s going to leap from my chest Indiana Jones style.

Five minutes pass, then ten.

The feeling I’m expecting…the tightness in my chest, the struggle to breathe, the feeling of slow strangulation…this time it doesn’t come. Instead, my hands are shaking like mad, I’m sweating bullets, I feel like I’m going to faint when I sit up and like I’m going to lose my breakfast when I lay down…all side effects of the epinephrine.

I’ll take it.

I spent most of the rest of the day on the couch, simply exhausted. I’ve been taking antihistimines the last two days since then to stave off the dinner plate sized rash on my leg, but all in all, I dodged a very large bullet.

I’ve spent the last two days being a little more contemplative than normal…and while I don’t want to sound trite, I really do feel like I stared death in the face. For a single moment, I realized what I had gained in the last 15 years that I stood to lose.

  • A husband that I love more deeply every day. (Yes honey, even when we argue about dumb stuff.)
  • Three beautiful children.
  • My chance to see my brother (eventually) and sister (sooner) get married.
  • My chance to see my children grow up, graduate, get married and have children of their own.
  • A thousand day to day delights, moments with family and friendships.

I think my hubby realized it too…this morning we began the long overdue spring cleaning of our room. It was time to clear the clutter and pare things down to the essentials. Us. The whole event is still weighing heavily on my mind, but today as I sat at my desk, I realized how much time I spend chained to it. I mean, I like my desk and all, but I had to ask myself “Do I really need to be at it 14 hours a day?” As the laughing, unspoken “no” echoed in my ears, I set my chat windows to away and went to play with my kids for awhile…they may not have appreciated it, but I know I certainly did.

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