Two days ago I met a wasp. It flew into my left arm as I was running around Lake Rotoiti, an area renowned for wasps, and large sandflies.
The wasp stung me, just the once. At first it was just an angry red mark with a small white hard swelling, about the size of a small coin, a NZ 10 cents. It did not hurt. It did not itch. It was just annoying. I could finish my run, though I was wary of it.
I was running to the head of the lake where I was to meet Andrew and the boys who were boating up. Although I carry emergency supplies and a first aid kit, I didn’t have antihistamine. Or the kitchen sink. I had everything else. Note to self – buy some antihistamine cream for kit. Don’t bother with the kitchen sink!
It was about an hour later that I could spray some Stingose and then my afternoon was filled with packing up and cleaning the bach we had rented for the week. We had given up on the crappy weather and chosen to head home a day early.
My arm was swelling. It was now noticeably bigger than the right arm. And radiating heat. But not enough to illicit any sympathy from any of my boys!!
When we arrived home in Christchurch I put some antihistamine cream onto it.
That night I could not sleep. It was nice to be back in my own bed. The bed at the bach had been playing havoc with my back. But it was a hot sticky night. Aaaah, summer, how I had missed you.
My arm itched. It throbbed. I got up twice in the night to take Panadol and one of Juliet’s hayfever pills. I wrapped a cold flannel around it. More cream.
By the time morning came, my forearm was huge, red, swollen, hard, throbbing, sore, and itchy.
I measured around it. It was 26cm in comparison to my right arm at 22cm. My wrist was unaffected and measured 14cm. My left bicep is only 24cm. Yes, I have chicken arms!
I took more drugs. Used more cream. And put up with mocking derision from three teenagers. “Oh, your biceps are so big. Oh, wait that is just your wasp sting.” “You look just like Popeye!”
I took a nap and slept for two hours. Possibly the drugs. Possibly the restless night. When I woke my arm felt better. I mowed the lawn, with a push mower and tackled two weeks of weed growth. It was lovely to be in the sun, but it did not help my arm.
It grew even bigger. 27cm around the widest part, and the wrist swelled too, into the hand. My wrist was now 16cm.
More cream. More Stingose. I tried arnica too. And wrapped it in ice. Living with a dancer we always have ice packs on the go.
Now almost 48hours later it is still swollen. 26.5 cm and 16.5cm around the wrist. Still itchy but not as much.
It is now annoying me as I have things to do which I cannot.
Oh well, it could be worse. It is, after all, only a wasp sting. And while it has affected me, it is not life and death. Just a normal reaction to a nasty insect. And it will go away. I just need to be a patient patient.
the Department of Conservation’s wasp eradication plan
Dealing with wasps at Lake Rotoiti