5/14/2010

Don't Be(e) Stupid

I've never liked purses. I don't just mean fancy, $1500 Coach bags (which, in my opinion, are a stupid waste of money); I mean, in general, having enough stuff that must always be on my person that it requires a special piece of luggage to keep it there is quite unappealing to me.  If I'm with my husband usually the only thing I'm carrying is my trusty Klean Kanteen water bottle, and possibly my sunglasses if it's 70+ degrees and GORGEOUS like it is here in Seattle today.

So, speaking of the sun, and hating carrying stuff around, I decided that since my workout was in the gym this afternoon I needed a little sun time... but, back up for a moment.

First, waaaaay back.  When I was a kid, I remember getting new shoes. They were black and white Mary Jane types, and they were awesome.  I was so excited to wear them to school, but then I stepped on a bee, and my foot swelled up so badly that I couldn't wear anything but a flip flop on that foot for a full week.  The doctors warned my mom that with each subsequent sting I would become increasingly allergic.
Image courtesy of wolfpix via Flickr

That would have been no biggie, had my friend's annoying younger brother not stomped on a very productive yellow jacket nest the next year. To his credit, he didn't know the nest was there- he thought he was just stomping on a big pile of cardboard.  Long story short, though, I was stung 42 times (the awful part about yellow jackets in particular is that they can just sting over and over and over, whereas a bee can only sting once, and then it loses its stinger and eventually dies) and almost died.  My deathly-allergic reaction was fast tracked, and after that one sting sent me into anaphylactic shock. To this day, just seeing a picture of a yellow jacket makes my heart race and it takes great care to breathe properly.  To be blunt, those dang little creatures scare the crap out of me and I dread the day I finally get stung, since I'm assuming I won't make it the rest of my life without another lovely near-death experience unless I never go outside from March-November.

Now, fast forward to a little more recently.  Earlier this week I had an annual check-up and my physician was aghast that I don't carry an Epi-pen with me at all times.  I haven't been stung since I was 14 (*cough* half my lifetime ago *cough*), but at that time the ER docs told my mom that I had about 3 minutes to get the epinephrine shot after a bee sting before my throat would close off.

Upon hearing that useful bit of information, the doctor quickly e-mailed a prescription for two Epi-pens over to my pharmacy, I picked them up, and promptly placed one in my purse and now carry it on my person at all times.

Jus kidding.

I wish that were true.  I didn't pick the prescription up until the next night, and then I set them on my kitchen counter where they have hung out for three days.  I've been thinking about how I need to commit to putting one in my purse (I do have a purse for when it's necessary, despite my hatred of the things), and committing to having said purse with me at all times.  Thinking about is as far as I got... until this afternoon.

After my awesome workout (I plan to write about my workouts sometime next week, because they really have been awesome!), as I said earlier, I realized I could use a few minutes of sun.  I decided to sit in the sun for 20 minutes, which is long enough to churn out some vitamin D and short enough that I won't burn into a tomato.  As I was enjoying the sweet warmth kissing my (getting buff!) bare arms, the fragrant smells of freshly mowed grass,the cute babies out for walks with their parents and passing by,  I realized there were a bunch of yellow jackets on the two bushes nearest me.  I reminded myself not to freak out, that they likely wouldn't bother me if I didn't bother them.  As I thought that, I realized there was a bug on my (bare) calf and immediately reached down to swat it away.

Just as my fingers flicked the little creature, I saw the telltale black and yellow thorax and abdomen and just about had a heart attack.  The yellow jacket flew away, and my heart immediately jumped to about 120 beats per minute.  I literally felt like I was going to throw up.  It took me a second or two to gather myself, and figure out if it had stung me or not. I could still feel the sensation of it having been on my leg, and honestly didn't know if I'd been stung.

Praise Jesus, I hadn't. I sat there, trying to again breathe normally, thanking God for his grace, that he saw fit for me to not get stung, and wondering if, had it stung me, I would have had the time and presence of mind to go up the walkway to our apartment complex, use a key to get into the main (controlled access) entry, then get into our apartment, to the kitchen, to the Epi-pen?

Even if I did, would I have had time to use it properly, since I just tossed it on the counter and didn't look at the directions, thinking, "Oh, yeah, later I need to show Jason how to use one of these just in case."  And, as those thoughts raced to a conclusion, I asked myself why I didn't just carry the dang things with me in the first place?

As a realized that something so simple as carrying a purse could literally be the difference between life and death for me, I was convicted of how utterly foolish and irresponsible I was being. I mean, I wouldn't step out in front of traffic at a busy intersection because waiting 30 seconds for the light to change is just too inconvenient for me.  That would be stupid. Not carrying a purse because it's annoying when an Epi-pen is the safest assurance that a bee sting won't kill me? Equally STUPID!

Guess what? I am now committed to carrying a purse with me at all times.  An Epi-pen is placed safely inside, and tonight I am going to show Jason how it works, where it is in my purse, and we'll decide together where to put the second one.  The moral of this story is don't be stupid! By God's grace, that yellow jacket this afternoon didn't sting me, but it was something that the Holy Spirit used to convict me of my own stupidity and repentance looks like keeping an Epi-pen on me at all times.

That is all.

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