Tuesday, September 27, 2016

wasps are jerks

My finger is hurting worse now and more swollen. My colleague the MD seemed somewhat concerned until I told him I never had allergic reactions (and the sting happened at 7 am and I am breathing fine right now, so). He suggested a baking soda paste on the sting but of course do we have any in any of the labs? No.

I suppose an MD would be more concerned than a field biologist; stings for us are a fairly common occurrence and our reaction is more along the lines of "cuss a little and slap some mud on it" whereas an MD might actually have SEEN someone in anaphylaxis. 

Then again, I did once see someone in the BEGINNINGS of it - way back in grad school, my group was out in the field (I THINK it was Plant Ecology class, it was my first semester because L. was still there - she dropped out in second semester to follow a boyfriend to his new job, which I really hope worked out for her). Anyway, L. had never been stung by a wasp or bee, and we were out in the field and she got stung. As we were walking back to the van, she complained that her throat itched. One guy in the class was an EMT and he basically told the prof in charge to "get her to an ER as fast as you safely can" so that is what the prof did - drove all of us in a 15 passenger can FAST on the back roads back from the field site. (If it were me? I probably would have left the rest of the class in the field - there was a TA to supervise - and come back for them). The EMT did keep reassuring her on the way that "I know how to do an emergency trach if it gets that bad." (though I doubt we had the actual equipment needed. Probably someone had a knife that would have worked as a scalpel, but no tube and no way to sterilize). Anyway, we got to the ER in time, she got whisked in, and we got taken back to campus. Later on she said they gave her megadoses of steroids and that fixed things - but also told her she was lucky that it was a "first reaction" because apparently anaphylaxis can come on faster with repeated exposures, and she hadn't developed a full-blown reaction.

And yeah, that's like one of my field-lab nightmares - that I get someone who doesn't reveal their allergy until AFTER they've been stung, and I'm faced with "call 911 or try to get to the ER." I think in this day and age the answer is "call 911 and give really good instructions as to where you are" and then wait; when L. got stung this was back in the early 90s and no one had cell phones, and we were a good distance from the nearest farmhouse, so it seemed faster to just try to get her to the ER on our own.

But yeah. Wasps are jerks. They sting more readily than bees and they are neither pretty like many bees are nor are they beneficial to humans like many bees are -many wasps are predators, and in fact, some are predatory on butterfly caterpillars, which just seems like jerk behavior to me.

(Yes, I am being rampantly anthropomorphic and speciesist, I don't care. My finger hurts, so shut up.)

At least piano is rescheduled for Thursday so if I even don't feel up to practicing more today I am probably okay.

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