Friday night I killed a wasp. It was sitting on a table with some pre-dinner munchies and I crushed it with my napkin. We had company. A few minutes later, as I stupidly sat continuing to visit with the crumbled napkin in my hand, it crawled out and stung me on my left ring finger just above my wedding rings. I didn’t say much at the time, other than, “Oh, he’s still alive!” I really crushed him after that.
Later that night, by the time our friends left, my finger was swollen. I ran it under some cold water, took a Benedryl, and went to bed. I slept well. But, Saturday, the finger continued to slowly swell. It itched like crazy, too! Soon, I had red blotches forming on the outside edge of my finger. I took more Benedryl through out the day and kept a close eye on it.
My former nurses training is helpful in situations like this, but really it’s just common sense. I watched for color changes, signs of difficulty perfusing (blue, pale), numbness, and inability to feel. Everything was intact, my circulation did not seem to be too compromised. I wasn’t going to loose a finger.
But, by late afternoon, I showed my finger to my husband again. His response was to ask me if I thought we should go to get my rings cut off. I thought I could just watch it. By after dinner, though, we made the decision to get my rings cut off.
You see, we’d been through this once before – 27 years ago, almost to the day! It was late 1994 and we were expecting our first child. I had gone from a 95 pound waif to an 140 pound tub, carrying a basketball around in front of me! It was a hot summer and my fingers (all of them) began to swell. Being first time expectant parents, I did not realize how much my fingers would swell at the end of pregnancy. Soon my rings started to cut into the skin on my finger. It was time to get them off and I had waited too long! They had to be cut off. We made a trip to the ER where my husband worked and borrowed their ring cutter. I was afraid, felt stupid, and cried. I remember it all too well.
We had the rings soldered back together and I continued to wear them as I have for the last 34 years! Until yesterday, when we made another trip to borrow ring cutters and get them off my finger once again. Same finger, same rings. Luckily, I knew what to expect from my prior experience. This time, I did not cry and was not really scared. I just wanted relief. My husband and I laughed about this all the way to the hospital.
Within ten minutes they were off, my finger was intact, my rings were in a plastic baggie in my purse, and we were on our way home with a stop for ice cream on the way to reward my good behavior and his skill!
Saturday night, I didn’t sleep well. I took two Benedryl tablets and had a paroxysmal reaction – instead of inducing sleepiness, they rev one up. I couldn’t get comfortable, my body was readjusting the fluid in my finger due to the new lack of constraint and the swelling continued. The red blotches that had started to form on the distal edge of my finger, near my knuckle, were spreading. The itch was incessant. It was a long night.
Sunday was another foggy day spent reading and laying low. Thankfully, I had a good book to keep me company. I tried making some jewelry but that was short lived. Another nap ensued. The finger still itched. I went outside to read on our deck – the site of the incident two nights before – and immediately saw another wasp, which sent me inside.
In the late evening, I felt my finger change. It stopped itching so much. I could touch it without being hypersensitive. I could even bend it a little more than I had been able to earlier in the day. A corner had been turned!
Taking only one Benedryl at bedtime last night, I was able to sleep well. Thankfully, I knew the worst was over.
Next time, I’ll let the wasp have some of the pre-dinner munchies or dispose of the napkin with which I choose to squish him! As my friend said, squeeze them hard – until you feel the snap!
I will. I will.