Oh, Sh*t, There’s a Wasp in my Car!!!
Living in the Time of COVID
I’ve never been a fan of stinging insects. I’ve had friends who are allergic and always carry epi-pens with them, just in case. This tells me these small, ugly annoying things can be deadly, so I go out of my way to avoid them. If they’re hanging around a picnic table, I pack up and leave.
I’m more housebound lately due to COVID-19. I hadn’t driven my car in a few days so I was shocked when I opened the car door and saw a fuzzy brown winged insect on the passenger seat. I didn’t know wasps grew hair, but the size and shape identified it as something similar. At least it wasn’t big enough to be a murder hornet. I was afraid it might be as stir crazy about being stuck in the car as I was about being cooped up in the house. At least it didn’t have to worry about catching the virus.
I JUST WANTED IT OUT OF MY CAR!!!
Just standing there staring was no solution, so I left the driver’s side door open and walked around the car to open the passenger side. Hopefully the thing would fly away, anxious to finally get out of lockdown.
By the time I opened the door, he was no longer on the seat. I hoped it was smart and had flown out the opposite door while I walked around, but took my hat and swiped under the seats, just in case. I looked at the windows, ceiling, and all around but didn’t see it anywhere. Thankful, I got in the car and started to drive to the place I like to walk on nice days. I was looking forward to some exercise and fresh air.
As I was driving down the expressway, I felt something brush against my leg so, not really thinking about it, I held on to the steering wheel with my right hand and used the left to swing down in a sweeping motion. As I brought it up, I felt a sharp burn in the tip of my index finger. That thing was still in the car!
I never saw the thing, but the windows were open so I assumed it had finally gotten out of Dodge. Just to be sure, I did another inspection and hat swiping tour of the car after I got to my destination, leaving both car doors open in case the thing was stupid enough to still be in the car.
This must be the dumbest wasp in creation. After all the freedom I offered it, it was sitting in the map pocket built into the driver’s side door. I took the hat and tried to scoop it out, but it was ignoring me. Finally I just let the hat brim sit nearby and the thing climbed onto it. I told you it was stupid.
I swung my arm fast and wide. The thing was so stupid I made sure to inspect the hat and make sure it wasn’t clinging to it somewhere, since I never saw it fly away and it had already fooled me once.
“FINALLY!” I sighed with relief. “That thing was harder to get rid of then it should have been.”
I noticed my finger was stinging but I started on my walk. I usually go two to three miles along the river and I was glad to be out of the house for a change. I’m an older person with co-morbidities so I felt like I’d been in lockdown forever.
I had gone about a mile on the trail when my finger started to feel numb. A few more steps and I noticed it wasn’t my finger, but my whole hand. I wasn’t sure if it was due to the sting, but decided it might be a reaction and I should start making my way back to the car. The whole time I worried that the walking was pumping my blood through my system and making the problem worse. If it did get worse, there was an urgent care on the way home.
The numbness got up to my elbow. I felt it might be in my shoulder but then told myself I was imagining things. I held my two hands in front of me to compare then. Was the stung finger swollen and bigger than the other? I tried to be objective. Finally I decided both fingers looked the same and I had to admit they were just pudgy, not swollen.
By the time I got back to the car, the numbness was better. Had I just imagined it? I passed the urgent care but didn’t stop. At home, I took an antihistamine, laid down, and closed my eyes. Either I’d go into full anaphylactic shock or have a nice nap. I was starting to feel like I was imagining things again. Was “stir crazy” really a thing?
I woke up and I was still alive.
That was the drama of my day. As a retired nurse, I thought about how much worse it would be if I was still working in the trenches at the hospital, dealing with life and death every day.
My finger didn’t hurt anymore.