Saturday, September 25, 2010


Molly loves hot foods ie heavily spiced. Back when I was younger I used to eat hot peppers by the jar. There is, however, a limit that it seems I passed today. It's the day of the Winnipeg Radical Bookfair, and as is her habit Molly is down there flogging the pamphlets and distributing the balloons (A-loons) to the kids and the occasional kid at heart. It's just about closing time, and many are packing up their tables. Molly likewise, but I dip into the lunch bag for a final glug of orange juice. My mistake.

Understand that the event was being held outside at a time of year when wasps replace mosquitoes as the major insect pest in Winnipeg. They are also particularly angry this time of year as they are in full hunt mode for food for the upcoming winter. My experience has usually been that you should leave them alone, but even if you swat them away they won't attack as they have better things to do. The evil little critters were swarming all afternoon, and especially bugged the people at the table next to mine. I opened my mouth and bragged that wasps never bite me. Said mouth was soon to be my downfall.

In the time it took me from opening the bottle and getting it to my mouth a wasp zeroes in on what must have looked like the Horn of Plenty. I don't know if other people have enough danger sense to pull a bottle back because there is some moving blur in front of their face. It's impossible to focus that close unless you are so nearsighted that you can use coke bottles as an acceptable substitute for your glasses.

Down it Out it goes very fast as I get direct first hand experience with what a lot of my canine patients experience. But I didn't try to eat the wasp deliberately. In any case the wasp went into survival mode and started chewing on my lower lip. Phhhheeewww, out it goes with the unswallowed orange juice all over some of the pamphlets. Now that drink has kick. The spit stream hasn't touched down when I am already letting loose with the profanity.

Needles to say I kill the struggling bastard there on the table, and then continue cursing and killing a few more for good measure. OK, now it's really time to pack up. Hustle, hustle, back and forth, back and forth. A few people want to get a gander at my rapidly developing egg sized lower lip, and one woman in particular is concerned. One person suggests ice packs. Now where am I going to find icepacks outside a community centre ? I pack it all in, and find a lingering kid and her mama. Said kid gets five balloons that I have already inflated.

Off I go to the nearest pharmacy on the way home which just so happens to be Safeway, the edema developing all the way. All the way the lower lip keeps expanding until it is the size of an extra-large egg. Grab the nicotine lozenges (much more important than possible death from anaphylaxis- I ran out shortly before the end of the sale) and also a large bottle of Benadrl. Head to the "express" checkout where I have the misfortune of being in a line of five people. At least I wasn't behind grannie counting out payment one penny at a time and taking more time with each one than I would take running half a city block. Even so I'm tempted to push in and talk my way to the head of the line with some story about "right now" and "keel over right here in the store".

Back in the car. 100 milligrams Benadrl are under my belt. I get home and sleep off the antihistamine. Now what's interesting is the following. Statistics say that only 50 to 150 people die of insect bite anaphylaxis in the USA per year (about 7 in Canada). What I had was not general anaphylaxis, the sort of condition that these deaths are usually attributed to. It was localized anaphylaxis, and you can't die from that...unless. The swelling on the lower lip was quite large by the time I reached pharmacy. I do not, however, use my lower lip to breath.

Suppose that I would have 'half-swallowed' the "orangejacket". Those who die from insect bites are generally classified as "anaphylaxis". If, however, you get a large egg near the entrance of the trachea you will just as surely die as if you had real anaphylaxis. I really wonder if when the corpse or soon to be corpse was delivered to the emerg that there would have been a resident there with the smarts to recognize the difference. If he did he would undoubtedly be able to publish a paper on an unique manner of mortality. So I would have died from one of the freakier accidents in the world.

To sum up Molly missed her opportunity today to make medical history as one of the co-authors of 'A unique non-immunological mortality connected to an insect bite' by Drs W. Upp, Troy Age, T. U. Late and I. M. A. Corpse. It's an interesting possibility.

All of which goes to show:
1)Never search for fifteen minutes of fame. It may very well be posthumous and more than 15 minutes.
2)In connection with the above...never try this at home.
3)Some orange juice has a better kick than others.
4)Develop a sense of near object paranoia.
5)Look before you spew.


Larry Gambone said...

I am glad you missed your 15 minutes of fame. We need you more than that!
When I was 20 I was drinking a bottle of beer on the patio and one flew inside the bottle unbeknownst to me. Like you I had one hell of a fat lip and was damn glad I didn't swallow the wasp.

mollymew said...

Actually it brought to mind a scheme for a new, sure to be a hit, softdrink. Look for 'Buzz'® soon on your store shelf. Marketed with the teenage boy in mind. "'Buzz'®: the "drink with bite". "Are you man enough to try it ?"

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Also lucky for you was that it was just one wasp.