I didn't think anything of being stung and was on my way home when I realized I was having anaphylactic shock, my body tingling, itching, numb in places. I looked in the mirror and my face was a big old blotchy red blob and my breath was coming out sounding just like an old wheezy accordian.
So two miles down the dirt road, I turned the car around and went back to Sue's place where I calmly announced, "I think I need your epipen." And then I went to the hospital and received more drugs to ensure the reaction didn't recur.
It was just a year ago I received my first two hives of bees.
I nurtured "the ladies" and became a confident beekeeper. I fed them up with bee tea that first summer and fall, worried about them all winter, tucked into their hives in subfreezing weather, but this spring they emerged healthy and busy. Last month I purchased a small local hive to make three, and looked forward to harvesting honey for the first time.
Beekeeping taught me to listen to the bees to see how they were feeling. With sunny weather they were busy doing their jobs and indifferent to a stranger opening up their home for an inspection. When the atmosphere became close with an impending thunderstorm, they could be temperamental, time to close up and give the girls their space. I learned that a calm demeanor made for a good beekeeper and became a confident, patient, and respectful bee steward, making a tiny difference in our world with my three little hives.
But the doctor said I should not handle bees since another reaction could be worse and we are 30 miles from a hospital. I carry an epipen in my purse now. Maybe I will explore desensitizing shots sometime in the future. I don't know.
Friday at dusk a local beekeeper came to pick up the bees. I know they will be well taken care of, but it's like a death, a lack, an empty space.
I stood there, looking at the truck driving away, taking the ladies to their new home, and I cried.