I’ve been dog-sitting my pal, Bentley, the last few days, and when we began our early morning walk today, she was checking out an interesting hole in the ground. She’s noticed it before, sniffed at it, and then moved on, so I assumed it was just a hole in the ground worthy of smelling.
But today, suddenly she reacted — pawing at the air in front of her. Because bees! Or rather, yellow-jacket wasps, which nest in holes in the ground. Small ones, but equipped with stingers nevertheless. I whipped my hat off and started trying to clear the air (there were only three or so that I saw, not a swarm), swatted one off her side, and then we high-tailed it across the street as fast as we could run.
As we walked away, I noticed that my left hand hurt: one of them got me!
About an hour later, the area was slightly red and slightly swollen. An ice pack reduced both, but there’s still a bit of an ache to remind me not to mess with wasps.
Bentley seemed fine, I never did find any signs of damage, although she did shake her head a few times during the walk. (But her ears seem fine as far as I can tell.)
I’ve written before that she’s an American Pit Bull Terrier, but we now think she’s actually a Staffordshire Terrier with some bulldog (she has that wide chest).
Lots of people who meet her think she’s a bulldog, and her mom has always thought she had some Staffordshire Terrier in her.
And she really doesn’t look like a pit bull, so there ya go.
Looking at my hand in the photo up top, you might notice the large white scar on the back. There’s a story to the scar, of course.
It’s been sitting in my queue of possible posts since I started this blog, but I never got around to telling it. The text file in my queue is a brief account I wrote shortly after it happened. This was back in the early 1990s (or possibly the late 1980s). I can say it was before I got my dog, Sam, in 1994.
Anyway, that photo triggered the idea that I might was well post it now, so here it is (some very minor syntax edits, one correction, and one addition):
The short version is that I burned my hand very badly Friday night with a large amount of boiling water and now it looks like shit and hurts a lot. I lost a couple square inches of skin!
Want the long version? If not skip down to “Anyway,…”
When I got home from from my bud’s last Friday night, I made some tea to make into ice tea for Saturday. I have a large glass mug, really large, holds about a quart. It’s very heavy glass, and I’d carefully poured hot water in it before (with it in the sink) to make tea and had no problem.
So this time, I wasn’t expecting trouble, and had just poured in most of a kettle of boiling water, and was just starting to gently stir the tea bags… when the glass shattered!
[Editor: Actually, the glass essentially split into two halves vertically. The weight of the water pushed the two halves apart, so the water was free to flow in its entirety.]
I was kind of leaning against the counter on my forearm, so my left hand was just in front of the glass, and it took the brunt of about a quart of recently boiled water! That was quite a surprise.
I put my hand under fast-running cold water (which, fortunately, is ice cold this time of year) for several minutes. I could see that a huge part of the back of my hand was losing skin. After a while, I switched to the bathroom and continued the cold water, but added soap and scrubbed and then cut away any left over dead skin.
Then I poured large amounts of hydrogen peroxide over my hand. Twice!
Now that hurt as much as the burn! And it turns the skin all white… really weird. I thought I was going to have to go to emergency that night, but my first aid seemed to be effective. I let it dry out and scab over all weekend and it looked pretty good on Monday.
I went to my doctor Monday, and kindly young doc Stolpman told me I came very close to needing a skin graft! He told me that, if it weren’t for my first aid procedures, he’d have a surgeon in right this instant starting a graft! Wow. It’s nice to know I did the right thing… and in an emergency situation… and while hurt!
[Editor: His nurse, on the other hand, thought that was a crazy thing to do. She mentioned it would leave a major scar. But the scar is a memory, and who wants a surgeon doing a skin graft?]
Got a tetanus shot that’s good for TEN YEARS out of the deal, too.
Anyway, that’s the deal.
The photo makes it look whiter than it really is. A combination of the lighting and the camera, I think.
The wasp sting is just a red dot now. Still stings a bit, though.
Funny thing is, Bentley almost got in serious trouble with wasps again near the end of our walk. She was about to check out a large hole in the ground, but I saw a bunch of wasps flying around it and pulled her away before she pissed them off.
It’s that time of year when they get aggressive. I’ve heard that, at least in some species of wasp, the soldiers are “disowned” from the nest — no longer fed, so they have to fend for themselves.
Which makes them hungry and nasty.
Worse, they’re drawn to fermented fruit (or spilled beer or sugary alcoholic drinks, easily found in back yards, beer gardens, or outdoor restaurant seating), so then they’re hungry, nasty, and drunk!
Stay unstung, my friends!
September 6th, 2019 at 7:11 pm
I wouldn’t have thought of scrubbing with soap and cutting skin (ouch) and pouring hydrogen peroxide.
September 7th, 2019 at 8:40 am
I’ve heard that one major problem with bad burns is infection (open path to the bloodstream), so it’s important to clean the wound and disinfect it.
The skin I cut off was dead, so that didn’t hurt. The hydrogen peroxide sure did, though! (The scrubbing wasn’t pleasant, either.)
September 7th, 2019 at 2:10 pm
I’ve had my share of bee and wasp stings. Once as a boy, I was stung on an eyelid. I saw the wasp coming right at me, closed me eye, and felt the sting. It was swollen shut for several days. Lots of fun.
Pretty wild about the glass. I once had the glass inside of a coffee urn shatter, although however it was made, it held together enough that no glass came out, but you could hear the glass shifting around when you moved it. I also know someone who once had a glass container with water in it being heated up explode in the microwave. Luckily no one was near it.
I’m with you on the scar. I definitely would have preferred it to a skin graft.
September 7th, 2019 at 3:22 pm
“Once as a boy, I was stung on an eyelid.”
I had that happen while I was sleeping in a sleeping bag “under the stars” — woke up with that same sort of swollen eyelid.
“Pretty wild about the glass.”
As I mentioned in the post, not being a complete idiot, I’d used it to brew tea several times previously, but always in the sink. I suppose repeated stress was what did it in, though.
I kind of miss that mug. It was an A&W 32-ounce mug a friend “liberated from servitude” for me. (In fact, a lot of my more interesting glassware is liberated from a life of being used by multiple strangers. Now they’re safe from all that, and only one person drinks from them. 😀 )
“I’m with you on the scar. I definitely would have preferred it to a skin graft.”
Badge of honor, it is!
The doctor gave me this sulfa cream to apply regularly. It was kinda neat: white cream, but when you applied it, it turned a beautiful shade of gold (due to the sulfur, I imagine).
October 9th, 2019 at 3:51 pm
Yikes! Good thing you didn’t need the skin graft! I never would’ve thought to pour peroxide on it. My God.
We have Africanized bees here, so I try to keep vigilant. One time while we were out walking, a swarm went by overhead. Pretty scary. It’s very very loud and looks like a black cloud. All I could think to do was squat down low to cover Geordie. Luckily they went on their way.
October 10th, 2019 at 11:33 am
Africaniszed bees! I’ve been hearing horror stories about those for years. Very scary, indeed!