The Man with the Meaty Claw

30 November 2008 · 8 comments

I borrowed the neighbor’s pressure-washer on Friday. After five years at Rosings Park, I decided it was time to clean the gunk and the moss off the sidewalks. It was fun, actually, and strangely satisfying.

I encountered a problem, however, while working next to the house. As I sprayed the sidewalk, the mud and grime splashed onto the siding. This meant I had to spray down one wall. Unfortunately — and unbeknownst to me — this also meant that I was spraying down a nest of bees (or wasps or hornets — whatever the stupid things are).

I was merrily spraying away when I felt a sharp pain in my hand. I shook my hand a little, but kept on spraying. The pain continued. I looked at my hand. There were two bees (or wasps or hornets), backs arced, driving their stupid stingers into my stupid fist. Ouch!

Swearing forcefully, I dropped the pressure-washer and shook my hand as hard as I could. The stupid bees (or wasps or hornets) continued to sting me. Finally, I brushed them off, and then danced around, cursing and swearing. After I got that out of my system, I moved the pressure-washer away from the nest and finished my work.

“Poor sweetie,” Kris said when she saw my hand. “Does it hurt?”

“Yes it hurts,” I said. “It hurts like hell. Remember my adhesive capsulitis? That pain was a 9. This is an 8. It sucks.”

Fortunately, the pain subsided. Unfortunately, it was replaced by swelling.

Swollen Hand

On Saturday, we drove to the hardware store. “What happened to you?” asked the checker as we were paying for our stuff. I told her I’d been stung. She sort of freaked out. “Oh my god. You’ve got to go to a doctor. Why haven’t you gone to a doctor? With swelling like that, you need to go to a doctor.”

As we were driving home, Kris said, “Maybe you should go to the doctor.”

So we drove down to Canby — the only place we could find that offered “urgent care” for our insurance network — and I went to the doctor. Though she assured me that there was nothing to worry about, she seemed duly impressed by the swelling. She prescribed a couple of drugs and asked me to return on Sunday.

The swelling continued. By Saturday night, my entire right forearm was swollen. It was as if I had a grotesque meaty claw instead of a hand. I certainly could not type.

By Sunday morning, however, the swelling had begun to decrease (and the pain had returned). As requested, I returned to the doctor’s office in the afternoon. She seemed pleased that the swelling had begun to subside, but surprised that it hadn’t gone down completely. She prescribed another medication (actually, a second steroid).

Now, on Sunday evening, the swelling is mostly gone (though not completely) and has been replaced by a dull ache throughout my hand and wrist. Plus everything itches. As you can see, I’m able to type, though it hurts to do so for very long. That’s bad news because I don’t have anything written to go up at GRS in the morning!

Meanwhile, I have a little present for the bees (or wasps or hornets — whatever the stupid things are). While we were at the hardware store on Saturday, I bought three cans of long-range (27 feet!) poison. Those bastards are dead in the morning.

1 luneray November 30, 2008 at 21:29

That is some impressive swelling. Glad you are doing better.

2 John November 30, 2008 at 22:16

It’s been a long time since a picture made me jump like that.

Are you sure you want to kill them? After seeing how much swelling resulted, maybe you could convert the poison into some type of topical ointment for guys that are feeling somewhat… inadequate.

Yeah, I’m gonna stop before I go beyond the bounds of good taste. Might already be too late. Good luck with the ham hand!

3 Amy Jo December 1, 2008 at 07:25

Good luck killing them–Paul has tried multiple times to kill our “little” nest of pain! We discovered ours while working in the yard. I managed to stand above it, but it was only after they began flying up my pant legs that I noticed them. Bastards!

4 Alan Cordle December 1, 2008 at 09:05

Wow. It almost looks like you’ve got it on a cutting board.

5 Mom December 1, 2008 at 16:36

Did you kill the bees? That’s news I’m waiting to hear . . .

6 jdroth December 1, 2008 at 16:47

Kris has forbidden me from nuking those little bastards unless she’s home. She wants to be here in case I get stung again, and I can’t say I’m arguing. I had thought about putting this off until Friday (when she’ll be home during the day), but I’ve decided I’m going to take them out tonight after she gets home.

Fingers crossed!

7 Aviva December 2, 2008 at 01:14

The advice we got for killing the yellow jackets/wasps we get nests of is to do it just before it gets dark. Apparently it’s a good time to get the poison on the nest without making a whole bunch of them pissed off. It’s worked for us 3 times now.

You also need to talk to your regular doc about getting an epipen. Clearly you are allergic to getting stung, and medical wisdom says that you react worse every time you get stung, so while this swelling was limited to your hand/forearm, the next time you get stung could cause an anaphylactic reaction, and that’s nothing to mess with.

Oh, and fwiw, they definitely weren’t bees if they were able to sting you more than once apiece. :)

If you’ve already done the spraying, I hope it all goes well. After you’re sure the yellow jackets are all dead (in a day or two), go back and make sure you knock down the nest and grind it into dust. Otherwise, a new batch will be thrilled to find a home that’s move-in ready. :)

I got badly stung while watering flowers a few years ago. Some of the damn things had a nest in the ground that I didn’t see. I had a whole swarm of them chasing me but managed to run away and eventually get into the house with only a couple stings.

8 Margot December 2, 2008 at 09:29

Don’t kill the bees, please!!! First, there have been huge, world-wide declines in bee populations and some scientists fear they could go extinct, which would be a huge problem for our food chain. Second, maybe they help your garden and flowers. You don’t want to get rid of the pollination assistance. Third, given that you care about animals, consider that they were only defending themselves in a manner that any human would do when under attack. I’m sure that they will leave you alone now that you know not to spray their home.

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