The day started out as any other. I completed my morning routine in record time, delivered my daughter to school came home and busied myself cleaning house. Had everything done by mid afternoon. After a short late lunch break, I had decided I would also tackle the task of mowing the lawn so that I could have a completely free evening.
Now, I know we have all seen those Hollywood movies depicting what it was like to be stung by a horde of bees. Most notably, My Girl comes to mind. I had always thought this was just an exaggeration to make movies more interesting. I had never seen ‘real’ bees take on this attacking nature in real life. My day was about to get a whole lot more interesting and scary.
So filling the push mower with gasoline, I pressed the primer button a handful of times and yanked that chain. It started like clockwork and I was off. I had not even gotten one full foot of lawn mowed before I felt one tiny little sting, then another and another. I let go of the lawnmower handle and that is when I saw it, literally a cloud of bees starting to swarm around me.
They attacked with such precision and anger the likes of which were not to be compared. I screamed and panicked as I felt them penetrating beneath my clothes and into each and every open hole they could find. Flailing my arms about like a wild woman, I knew in the movies the person had always run to the water. Remembering my hose did not work I had to think quick.
I started peeling off my clothes one by one as I ran for the house and comfort of the shower inside. The relentless bees followed as if in a trance with a one track mind, attack and kill. By the time I had made it to my living room I had already been stung several hundred times.
Darting down the hall I had shed my last piece of clothing as I hit the bathroom door. I was now fully exposed for them to unmask their full potential on my naked skin. It did not matter though because they had already gotten under every part of my clothing in the most private of spots. Places I did not even think they would consider going. I know, I know… they are bees, they don’t reason or pick and choose where to go. But this was how my mind was working in that moment.
I turned on the cold water full blast and climbed in. It was not working, the bees continued their plight to sting and kill. Having a very hard time breathing now as I went into anaphylactic shock, I kept my wits about me, though I have no clue how. I was not getting rid of these bees, I was allergic to them and did not have an epi pen.
I had to call 911. But where is my phone? OH, MY GOD…. I left it out in the yard in the pocket of my jacket. I would have to try and make it back out to the yard to grab it. Wait, I am completely naked!!! Life or embarrassment, what a choice. Yes, that really went through my head in the throws of this crisis. I could barely stand on my own two feet as I half walked, crawled and scooted my way back outside. Now, any sane person would have just stopped there and called 911 as soon as they had their hands on the phone. Not me, nope…. I had to get back inside so the neighbors did not see me standing or laying in the yard in my birthday suit. The shame would be too much to bear.
I have no clue how, but I did make it back inside and finally collapsed in my recliner just inside the door. By the time I dialed 911 I was gasping for breath and could not speak. The 911 operator on the other end tried her best to figure out what was going on, “Hello, 911, please state your emergency.”
“Gasp, gasp, big indistinguishable noise.”
“Do you need assistance?”
More gasping as I try to take in enough air to tell her that I did indeed need help.
“I have your address, do you need me to send help?”
One last final attempt, I mustered enough breath and half whispered half mumbled, “BEES.”
“I understand, you were stung by a bee. I am sending help now. Please stay on the line until someone arrives.”
“Mam, are you still there?”
I had dropped the phone as I drifted into a semi-conscious state.
I could hear the sirens now and knew help would arrive shortly. Trying so hard to stay awake, I saw my life flash before my eyes. My last thoughts being, who would pick my daughter up from school and how scared she would be if she thought I had forgotten her.
The next thing I remember was waking up to every single cop, fireman and rescue worker in my tiny little town standing in my living room over top of me, about 10 men in total. I do not remember hearing what the ambulance drivers were saying as they worked on me but do remember a few of the police and fireman making statements like, “They’re everywhere.” and “Do we have any spray?”
Finally back to a fully conscious state and able to reason. My next thought was, I am completely naked in front of all of these men. Instead of answering their questions and being worried about my health and well being, I asked, “Can someone please get me some clothes or cover me up?”
Unaffected by my question, they continued to work on me and ask me questions like what my name was, if I knew what day it was, and what happened? As they were poking me with needle after needle explaining to me what each one was for, I could hear the cops talking about finding the underground nest and requesting someone to bring them some spray to douse it in.
Able to focus on the correct task at hand, my health! I finally explained to them the entire story about how the bees came to attack and I had ended up in my living room, collapsed on that chair completely naked. Someone had finally grabbed a blanket to cover me up with and they were ready to load me on the stretcher and into the ambulance only after four epi shots and two of Benedryl amongst starting an IV of fluids. I insisted they were not going to move me one inch until someone grabbed me some clothes to take with me and allowed me to call my cousin who lived down the road so that I knew my daughter would be taken care of. One of the cops picked up my phone, asked me my cousin’s name and proceeded to call for me while another rummaged through my dresser to grab some clothes for me.
Satisfied, I allowed them to load me into the ambulance and proceed to the hospital. What I neglected to mention during this entire time was that those relentless bees were STILL attacking, not just me now but all of the rescue workers who had come to my aid. They were so bad they followed us into the ambulance and onto the hospital.
The doctors and nurses spent over two hours trying to pick bees and stingers off of my body. Now anyone who knows me knows my hair is down to my butt and very thick. One nurse spent the entirety of her time just focusing on the task of pulling them out of my hair, some still alive. By the time all was said and done I had been stung somewhere in the ballpark of 1500 times from head to toe. Folks, that is a LOT of bees.
Believe it or not, I was okay after several hours and able to be released that very same day thanks to the awesome work of the emergency workers, doctors, and nurses. I now carry with me at all times not only one but two epi pens and was told to use them both if I ever get stung again, even if it is just one little sting.
Although okay physically, it was quite some time before mentally I was able to show my face in town again knowing I had bared all my glory to so many, intentional or not. That embarrassment was just as bad as the bee attack. I know it was in my own head and that they are professionals, but that did not stop my cheeks from turning red each time I had seen one of them in town. I wanted to cower away and become a rock laying on the ground so they would not see me.
I can laugh at the entire situation now sharing the story for others to laugh at as well. It has been over 3 years since this incident happened. It seems like something straight out of a Hollywood movie set and I lived through it.