The Evergreen Journal #21 ~ Full Siren
The Evergreen Journal #21
~ Full Siren ~
©Lynda McKinney Lambert, 2022.
(Inspired by my Journal entry: August 28, 2017)
In the late afternoon, Bob drove our car to our local mechanic’s garage. I saw this as an opportunity to go outside and do some yard work. I decided to cut down some volunteer trees and plants that were overgrown. The wild vegetation is out of control, I thought. I was on a mission to get this done before Bob arrived home.
Those weeds irritate me every time I walk around the house. In addition, random trees that we don’t want will become huge. The longer they were allowed to grow, the bigger the problem would be in a few years.
I started with the few random, unwanted trees inside the weather-worn plank fence. A few snips with the garden tool, and that area is finished. Then, I saw some new victims, and I moved on to take out the tall trees growing beside the patio.
Suddenly, I felt a thin needle thrust into my skin. Immediately, I remembered we had a hole that was home to yellow jackets. Once that first sting hit me, I was surrounded by an assault squad of angry yellow jackets.
I ran towards the house. The vicious soldiers kept flying out of that hole in the ground. I realized there must be a battle cry, and the bee-soldiers were coming in the dozens
I ran towards the house, but I realized soon that there were too many of them, and more kept coming. Dozens were now flying around me and stinging me repeatedly. I reached the porch; I kept swatting and screaming. No one was there to hear me.
“Please. Someone help me,” I cried.
Nobody is coming. Nobody knows what is happening to me. This is not going to stop the bees. The pain felt like I was being electrocuted.
I remembered the can of Raid House and Garden Spray in the kitchen. I opened the kitchen door and ran from the porch into the kitchen. The bees kept stinging me. My intuition told me to get the can of Raid House and Garden spray from the cupboard. Even covered with bees and surrounded with bees, I squatted down to reach the back of the cabinet under the sink, where I kept the insect spray.
I believed that once I had this spray in my hand and started spraying myself all over from head to toe, it would end my assault. But unfortunately, the toxic shower didn’t stop the bees for a second. And I kept screaming out to God for help. Finally, I sprayed myself so much I could barely breathe from the fumes. The spray was all over my skin, face, hair, hands, and feet.
The more they stung me, the more I shouted out to the Lord to rescue me, and I kept praying as loud as I could.
Eventually, the stinging stopped, and no more bees were on me. I kept shouting as I stripped down right in the kitchen. I peeled off my shorts. Slipped down my underpants, with bees dropping all over the floor. Bees were dripping from my underwear and my bra, and they were still wiggling on the floor around me. My hands were numb and swollen from the bee stings. I could not bend my fingers – my hands were rigid.
I wanted to be sure that no more bees were inside my clothing. I pulled my tank top up over my head. Slid down my bra and stepped out of it. My body was stinging all over.
Still shouting, I ran upstairs and turned on the cold water in the bathtub. Maybe, I thought, icy-cold water would bring relief from the smarting injuries that covered my entire torso, arms, hands, legs, and feet.
I carefully slid into the antique porcelain-clad cast iron bathtub. But soon began to have irregular breathing, and I stuttered with each shouted prayer. I became afraid I was going to pass out in the bathtub. Only the dogs and cats hear my cry for help. Finally, I got up and dressed. I knew I needed to get calm and figure out what to do.
I called our daughter, Heidi. “Call 911,” Heidi said, “and I will be on my way there immediately.”
Instead, I went into the living room to wait for Heidi to arrive. I only waited about ten minutes because I thought it would be ok once she came to take me to the hospital. But things were getting worse. I was dizzy, and my left ear seemed like it had quit working. My voice sounded like I was in a metal drum – my voice vibrated, and everything in the room looked so far away. I thought that that could not be me shouting because I could barely hear myself.
I sat on the sofa with my head down to my knees. There was such a rush of venom into my brain that I took both hands and scratched my scalp as hard as I could. The severe itch was unrelenting, and the poison was pulsing like a heartbeat inside my head. I wanted to tear my hair out of my head. This is maddening! I think I will die before I can get help.
I do need to call 911, I realized. But unfortunately, I might not make it until Heidi gets here because it’s getting worse. I had difficulty breathing. My breath came in uneven gasps for air.
I could not stand up. My voice was weak, my breathing labored. My throat felt like a lump was in it. I needed help right now, and I knew it.
I called 9 1 1, and the ambulance was on the way. Heidi arrived just before the rescue team. The team began working on me immediately, and in a few more minutes, I was assisted by the two men and put on a stretcher. I thought that this was my first time being in an ambulance. But I kept my eyes closed most of the time. I was aware of bright lighting coming from the ceiling and the attendant sitting to my left side. He gave me shots and monitored my vital signs before the ambulance finally pulled out of the driveway.
Before the ambulance left, my husband arrived home, and Heidi filled him in on what had happened to me. Then, she got into her car and drove to the emergency room.
“If I am ever picked up by an ambulance, I want a full siren!”
I have said this to my friends and family for years. It was a joke. I thought about it and decided not to joke around with the paramedic.
I felt like I could not open my eyes. I bantered back and forth with the two ambulance attendants. I told them about taking the cold bath and assured them I was nice and clean and had fresh underpants on – not to worry about me stinking. I told them I was a professor of English. The man working on me told me his wife is also an English professor. “Oh, that’s great,” I responded. “Now, we have something in common.” I seemed to float in and out of consciousness. I thought that my husband was now home and standing beside my daughter Heidi. That felt comforting.
Finally, the ambulance began to leave the driveway after the attendants were certain I was stable. My visit to the emergency room was about two hours long, with more shots and tests.
As I begin to feel a little better, I keep joking.
“You win the prize this year. You have more bee sings than anyone else that came in to the ER,” the nurse said. I didn’t feel fortunate. I like winning but not this way, I thought.
Finally, after 7 pm, I went home. I will start taking the steroid pills tomorrow, and for tonight I’ll take the Benadryl tablets every 4 hours.
I’ll wait and have my full siren experience another time — not today.
The Writer’s Grapevine, Summer Edition. June 2022.
Editor, Patty L. Fletcher.
Read Lynda’s April Newsletter for the SCOOP on what she has been doing for the past three months – Read it NOW.
Bio: Lynda, a retired professor, authored 5 published books that focus on spare poems and thoughtful personal essays.
Lynda cares for 2 dogs and 6 cats, all rescued. Lynda’s predilection is nature, fine arts and humanities.
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©Lynda McKinney Lambert, July 5, 2022. All rights reserved.