So I started telling you yesterday about my last camping trip. That name was chosen carefully, because it very nearly was my last camping trip. Ever.
So after an awesome fire on the Friday night, and spending most of the night keeping my fellow campers awake with my incessant coughing, we had the most beautiful day on the Saturday. I mean it was lovely, and warm, and the sun coming over the hills lit the cliffs up and the glowed with gold.
I don’t think we actually moved much that day, except perhaps to follow the shade. My kind of day. As it got later, we decided that while the fire we had last night was awesome. Tonight’s one was going to be frigintastic. We abandoned our plans to bring wood back from the orchard by hand. Instead, four of us got into a bakkie (which is a pick-up truck ,for you foreigners) and drove up the hill. We were going to do this thing right, even if we had to bring back every tree in the orchard. Great plan.
We got to the orchard, which was about a quarter mile from the camp site, and we set about collecting wood. Visions of fire danced in our heads.
Then I saw IT.
Or more accurately, it saw me; and started chasing me.
Now if you read my post on Friday, then you know that I am extremely allergic to bee stings. At that point I had not been stung in nearly twenty years. I had spent my whole life avoiding bees like the plague. So I did what I normally do; I screamed like a girl and ran away.
I kid you not.
That usually works, because bees on their own do not attack people. This bee apparently had other ideas. After running about 50 yards I stopped, and it was still following me, buzzing my face. Cue mind-numbing fear. We are about a quarter mile from camp - and my medical kit. I have the necessary medication, but that only helps if I can get to it in time. So getting away from the bee became very important to me.
To cut a long story short(ish) I ran up and down the path four or five times before the bees eventually managed to sting me on my arm. While I was running away! How rude!
Luckily we had the bakkie, so I jumped in, and the driver rushed me back to the safety of my tent. Once at the tent, I was able to get the sting out with my pocket knife, and reached for my allergy kit…
Which was gone!
I have been carrying that box with me for 25 years. 18 of those years without incident, but the kit has gone to all four corners of the country with me. And now that I needed it, there was nothing. To this day I don’t know how it ended up being left at home, but it was. So I was stuck, miles from the nearest town, and probably at least an hour from the nearest medical help. There was not much to do except look for a dying hole, and wait for anaphylactic shock to set in. So I took an anti-histamine tablet, and sat down to see what would happen. Not that I had any hope for the tablet, which was a sustained release, and thus would probably only start working after I was dead. What happened next was…
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I mean, the spider bite I had from the night before was swelling more than the sting. I could not understand it. Absolutely no reaction whatsoever. Last time I got stung on my hand, it took three days before the swelling stopped spreading, and here it wasn’t even starting. After a few minutes I couldn’t even feel it, and the next day I was fit to drive home.
A few days later, after explaining the whole story to a friend of mine, I had a thought. Luckily the friend was also my pharmacist, and thus perfectly qualified to support my theory. It turns out that the cough mixture I was taking for my annoying cough has quite a strong anti-histamine in it. So I had spent the entire night before, and morning, flooding my body with a prophylactic dose, strong enough to repel a dozen bees. In fact I reckon the way I was drinking that stuff, the bee may have saved me from overdose by using some of it up.
So I didn’t complain about the cough anymore, even though it didn’t clear up until February. I still don’t know what causes me to cough every year, but it just might have saved my life.