How I Stepped on a Bee and Ruined My Summer (1984)

I'm not allergic to bees, but one almost killed me when I was nine. So now I have a vendetta; I am the mob hitwoman of bees!

I was eight before I ever got stung. We were on a picnic in the Virginia mountains when I leaned back in my hammock and right onto a baby bee. My mom, the Indian (no, really), spit in some mud and made a poultice right there. I didn't even itch or swell up or anything.

So I was totally thinking that I was like bee kryptonite and no bee could ever take me down and ... what? I was eight!

Also? So, so wrong.

I was playing outside a year later, when we lived in New York, and a bee stung the fourth toe of my left foot. My mom was not around, but the sting didn't hurt too much, so I just put some peroxide on it and went back to my Chinese jump-rope.

That evening, I began to feel ill. My parents, by now, knew I'd been stung, and they gave me some Benadryl and sent me to bed.

I should mention here that I am, for all intents and purposes, allergy-free. So my parents were not being neglectful or anything; they just figured that I was showing the normal effects of being bee-stung.

Well, my foot swoll up (what? it's a word!) to the approximate size of a ripened watermelon, and my frantic parents rushed me to the emergency room, where the doctor prescribed ... Benadryl. And sent me home with instructions to keep my foot elevated.

I did keep my foot elevated, for all of eleven seconds, because it was SUMMER and I was NINE. Plus, people don't die from bee stings! (I thought that then, but I know better now, having watched that one episode of CSI). My parents did the best they could, but come on! As a teacher, I know that when a hyper little kid starts getting on your nerves, you're gonna get to the point of, "Do whatever you want! Just get away from me before my head explodes!"

So my family had a house party--I think a bridal shower or something--and when everyone had left I was sitting on the couch, keeping my leg elevated, which I ALWAYS remembered I HAD to do when it was time to do chores, and someone pointed out that my foot was purple.

It was! It was not even a pretty purple, but a disgusting mottled angry-looking purple. My mom got out the Benadryl again and threatened me within an inch of my life if I so much as THOUGHT about leaving the couch.

The next day, my foot was black, and my leg was starting to turn colors too.

I began to worry a little bit.

Oh, but not as much as my parents did. They SKIPPED CHURCH to take me to the hospital, and I remember that my dad CARRIED me to the car, because ... maybe they were afraid my foot would fall off if I put any weight on it.

I had to wait in the ER for about forEVer, but I got to ride in a wheelchair, which was pretty awesome. After about seven hundred tests, the doctor came back with his diagnosis: cellulitis. Evidently I was a couple of days away from getting gangrene in my leg, and that would have meant amputation.

Y'all, that bee could have CRIPPLED me. AND, it left me with a deformed toe!

Which is totally why I whack 'em without regrets now, twenty years later, because I am still carrying one heck of a grudge.

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