I had hoped to share a slightly more fun post than this one, but now I’m just out for revenge against anything with a stinger. Why I thought it might be fun was because I paddocked at a local show on Saturday, and as it was the rain date it was small but enjoyable, and it’s nice to hang out with the Austin h/j community if you like snacks, saintly horses, and neuroses. My plan had been to post about what all goes into being a paddock master … until I discovered I needed hazard pay.
As it is wont to happen occasionally at a small show, if you are paddock master you are also jump crew. Before classes got underway, a trainer brought to my attention that a jump had to go both ways. I “borrowed” another flower box from a different jump to create a similar ground line on both sides of the fence. So the jump I borrowed it from need some fill back. I grabbed a brush box from somewhere and started moving it … and felt a fire ant bite on my arm. I looked down and it was a yellow jacket. He had brought friends. Apparently the brush box was home to a yellow jacket colony, so it was not going to stay in my arena. (Also how did no one notice this sooner? Presumably the jumps were moved around a lot Friday night while setting courses?) A trainer came in the ring to help me toss the offending brush box over the rail and my trainer came over with wasp spray and drowned the yellow jackets in deadly chemicals.
I still had to play jump crew and musical brush boxes a few more times, but we were done by 2:30pm so really it wasn’t too bad. The yellow jacket sting felt sore but actually wasn’t that bad so I figured I’d take some Benadryl before bed.
I woke at 3am with a horrendously itchy arm on fire. I took more Benadryl and hoped for the best. At a more reasonable hour of the morning, I took Conrad on a walk and my arm was still itchy. The sting had swelled up and reddened. But that wasn’t the only itchy part — basically my entire arm from wrist to elbow itched. I took more Benadryl, slathered cortisone all over my arm (which helped exactly two minutes) and iced the sting. Then I had to go about my day. I just wore one of my long sleeve shirts for sun protection but also hopefully to forget about my arm. But I could tell throughout the day that it was getting worse. My arm was hot and tight and the redness was spreading. I borrowed one of Eli’s ice boots after taking him on a walk. The icing provided the most relief. I iced more once I got home and took even more Benadryl. I slept through the night this time, but woke up with a bright red itchy arm with an area of tightness nearest the sting and an ache all up and down my arm to the shoulder.
Luckily, we have an in-house nurse at work (when you work in 1,000,000 sq ft of office space you get a dedicated nurse) so I thought it would be easier to just go see her than trying to go to urgent care. After discussing the whole thing and looking at and poking around my arm, she said she had concerns that this was turning into cellulitis. Like the texture of my flesh was troubling. Eesh.
Really, yellow jacket? Cellulitis? I am killing everything that buzzes from now on. Butterflies can pick up the pollinator slack.
So now I get to fill a few prescriptions after work and hope my arm starts to feel better in a few days. I really want to just scratch my skin off, but I think I can make it one more day without doing that … I actually cut the toes out of some knee highs to wear as a base layer arm sock under my regular shirt. I have no idea why this helps, but it stops me from digging at my skin directly with my nails. I don’t handle itching well at all. I would rather be in pain.