Sunday, April 10, 2011
In which I learn why we always wear gloves while gardening.
When suddenly, a shot of pain right in the palm of my hand!
I thought I'd just poked a wood chip from our mulch until a second, stronger shot of pain made me scream out loud. Then, I saw it.
A velvet ant walking away. And I knew I was in trouble. Velvet ants aren't ants at all. They're wingless wasps. And they're bad news.
I ran to my husband (screaming "owwwwwwwwwwww" the whole way) and stared doing the pain dance. He was reinstalling the child safety seats into my car after they had become so dirty they grew voice boxes and asked me to please please wash them. I was, at this point, in shock and was still dancing around the driveway. I told my husband I'd been stung by "the bad red and black thing that looks like an ant but isn't an ant it's a wasp." He looked at me and chuckled and went back about his work... until I showed him my hand which was now so swollen it looked disfigured. All he could say was "that is going to hurt for a while."
And he wasn't kidding.
I was done for the day.
The pain of the stings made it so I couldn't move my hand, bend my fingers, touch the skin without actual tears falling from my eyes. Ice made it manageable but as soon as the numbness wore off the pain came screaming back.
Hours of this.
Hours of me googling in hopes of finding a magic cure or anti-venom.
Finally, around 5pm I had to give up and take Benadryl.
And it did nothing.
At 8 (after consulting with medical professionals) I took 4 motrin and 1 vicodin.
And they did NOTHING.
Well, they did make me tired... but I would wake up wincing in pain every hour or so.
I slept with ice packs all over my hand.
And still, I couldn't use or bend it.
After one of my kids woke up throwing up around 4 - I was now holding a puking child with one hand and trying to not scream in pain because of the other.
I got to sleep it off for an hour and when I woke up it wasn't as bad.
Finally this afternoon I can use my hand. It still hurts in that dull ache... the pain is down deep in my bones but I can deal with it.
So if you're reaching this blog because you're googling velvet ant sting or cow killer sting* then here's the deal.
Our best guess is that the Velvet Ant stung me at least two possibly three times.
It hurts like nothing I've ever experienced... and I've had two c-sections and 3 root canals.
The searing pain lasted for nearly 24 hours and nothing that I tried came close to relieving the pain. My hand was swollen to about twice it's normal size.
At nearly 36 hours post-sting the sting sites still hurt to the touch and are still visibly swollen but I have regained function of the hand.
The moral of the story:
WEAR GLOVES TO WORK IN THE GARDEN!
** the velvet ant's nickname is the cow killer because of the sting being so painful people thought it was strong enough to kill a cow. It's not. But it is rated a 3 out of 4 on the sting pain scale... with a regular wasp being a 2 and a bee being a 1.