We had friends from out of state visiting on the Fourth of July this year and we had had a nice day. It was about 8:00 in the evening and my friend, her baby and I went outside to lock up the chickens for the night. After locking them up, I realized their water pan was still in the yard, so I walked back over to get it and something buzzed and then stung me on the head. It seemed to be in my hair and I yelled ouch, because it was really painful and then I moved away. I waited a few seconds and then went back to put the water pan away and was attacked again. This time I ran away and screamed. I yelled for Josh, but he couldn't hear me in the house. My friend came over and checked my hair and said there was nothing there. We went into the house and I got some ice for my head and whined about it.
Josh and the other two guys who were visiting us got a can of wasp spray and went out to spray the hornets. As Josh started to spray the chicken coop where he saw them buzzing around, one of them came and stung him on the arm. Since they were so aggressive, he went and put on his fire fighter gear to protect himself from future stings. They got a ladder and he found a pretty large bald-faced hornet's nest up in the roof of the chicken coop out of sight without a ladder. He sprayed it pretty good and wasn't stung anymore. As he walked back to the garage to put his fire gear away, he started feeling really hot and his heart started to beat fast. He took off the gear and said, "I think I am having a reaction to that sting," which was odd since he had never had a reaction before. He lay down in the grass and said his nose had swollen shut and it was getting difficult to breath. My friend sad to get him Benedryl which I did and when there was no effect in a few seconds I decided to call 9-1-1.
It seemed like it took forever, but soon his friends from the fire department started to arrive. None of them had an Epi pen, so they started trying to take his blood pressure and pulse. Both were too low to get a reading . . . fortunately for me, my brain totally blocked those words from reaching my consciousness. I just sat there on the ground by his head waiting and waiting for the ambulance. They finally arrived and loaded him up and gave him the Epi injection and other medicines through IV that would eventually raise his heart rate back up to a normal level. I rode in the ambulance and my friends followed us. It was a terrifying experience.
Even now, a week later, my heart is beating fast as I write about it. Both Josh and I are still trying to get back to a normal state of living. It is not easy after nearly losing a life. There is a sense of anxiety that hangs around most of the day. You just feel nervous all the time. For the first few days, I was really uncomfortable anytime I couldn't see him. When we went to the gym I was in a class in one room and he was in another part of the building, I couldn't wait for class to end so I could see that he was ok. Five days after the incident, I had a really rough night of dreams and laying awake feeling very anxious much of the night. The anxious feeling lasted well into the next day and I worried I might have a panic attack in the grocery store. I have never had a panic attack before, but I was just a wreck. Later in the afternoon, I relaxed with a cup of chamomile tea and some fresh cut lavender on the table next to me and was much better for the rest of the day and that night.
Josh is trying to get back to normal activities. Today is one week from the event. He is out working in the pole barn, but I see him watching for wasps. I keep going out there to check on him or watching him out the window of the house.
As I researched online about wasp allergies and anaphlyactic reactions, I couldn't find anything about coping with daily life after a serious sting reaction. I want to know how people cope with going outside again. How people stop panicking everything they hear a buzz. How people resist the urge to rip out every flowering plant from their landscaping. How people mow their lawns without constant fear. How people stop checking on their loved ones every 2 minutes. I don't know the answer to these questions. I am not there yet. I am still living in fear and a state of anxiety.