Mr Wasp, You Shouldn’t Have

Nasal congestion – check. Cough – check. Nausea – check. Stomach pain – check. Feeling faint and confused – check. Hoarse voice – check. Sense of impending doom – oh shit, that’s me self-diagnosed with anaphylactic shock, as per the symptoms listed on the internet.

Of course, when my trembling legs carried me into a doctor’s office at Chiang Mai Ram Hospital, I get the Thai equivalent of “pish” to my self-diagnosis of an allergic reaction to a wasp sting. And perhaps a snort of derision. And that was without me mentioning the word anaphylaxis or the sense of impending doom that had descended on me the day after I was stung.

The Thai doctor announced that because my face wasn’t swollen I had not, in fact, had a reaction to the wasp stings. He proceeded to prescribe a powerful anti-histamine, on top of the one I had already taken, and ushered me on my way. This left me quite confused.

I was already feeling dazed as I followed directions to the fourth floor of the hospital, back down to the first floor, into the nurse’s office, into the doctor’s office, then to a prescription waiting area, then to the cashier, then to the “prescription counselling room”. I decided to ignore the doctor’s Thai “pish” and focus on the fact that I felt better than I did the day before and the nurse’s check had shown my vital signs were normal.

But I’m left wondering whether I should now carry an epi-pen in case I get stung again. Perhaps I can ask Darling Man to get me one next Christmas.

This Christmas has pretty much been a write-off. We had a fabulous Christmas Eve at the local bowling alley, and a sumptuous Christmas brunch at a five star hotel.

And then Christmas came to a screaming halt as we rode home from brunch. Actually the cheery mood ended with a gasp of pain and some awkward scrabbling around down the front of my shirt.

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Mr Wasp, you shouldn’t have. I know it was Christmas, but there was no need to be so generous. Just one sting would have let me know you were stuck inside my clothes and needed some assistance. The delay in your rescue was the result of the multitude of items I was carrying – baby, milk bottle, giant balloon toy. Four stings, really, was too much.

I was already feeling sick from the neverending head cold that I think I’m stuck with for the rest of my life. But I started to feel even more blah about an hour after we got home. I obviously looked less-than-fantastic because my mother said so when I finally caught her on Skype.

So this year, we seemed to have taken a Christmas bypass, through a combination of ill-health, poor planning and Thailand and Darling Man’s prevailing Buddhism. Next year, I plan to make more of an effort to create a Christmas event worthy of our cross-cultural multinational family, as I did last year in Singapore.

I am now focussing on the new year, a healthier happier new year full of exciting adventures. Here’s to a great 2012 for everyone!

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9 years ago

By: Barbara

A career girl who dropped out, traveled, found love, and never got around to going home again. Now wrangling a cross-cultural relationship and two third culture kids.


  1. Oh no! Four wasp stings? OUCH! That said, I doubt you are allergic to the point of danger – I would imagine it would have hit this time if you were. A doctor once told me that the only time we have to worry about stings is if we’re having trouble breathing – as in, the throat constricts to the point where air can’t pass through.

    I hope you’re feeling better!
    Nancy from Family on Bikes recently posted..Are your actions in line with your priorities? If not, why?

    • Barbara says:

      Hey, thanks Nancy. I am feeling much better – well enough to joke about it, in fact.
      I’ve known I’m allergic to insect stings since I was a child. But the last time I was stung was when I was 15. I was trying to monitor my airways but I kept falling asleep (then waking up gasping). I was just too out of it to really know what was going on.

  2. How terrible! Not a very merry Christmas for you… maybe that’s supposed to mean you’ll have good luck in 2012.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Have You Seen the Whales Show?

  3. Winnie says:

    Now that the worst is over Barb is all I can say. Look forward to a wonderful new year.

  4. oh, i am So sorry – i am allergic to wasp stings, as well. bleah. add to it your never-ending cold, and you’ve just had a tiresome christmas, for sure. hope things are getting better!
    wandering educators recently posted..Florida Culture for the Holidays by Josh Garrick

  5. Snap says:

    Barbara, so happy to hear you made a speedy recovery. Anaphylactic shock must be a scary thing! I only come close if I use black hair dye…easy to avoid, unlike wasps.

    We can recommend the Chiang Mai Ram (Lam) hospital, they were wonderful when Stray broke his collar bone…a bit expensive by Thai standards, but wonderful all the same.
    Snap recently posted..So we came all the way back, just to go back – Cambodia

    • Barbara says:

      Snap, I’m not *totally* convinced it was anaphylactic shock. But it was a full-body reaction that definitely had an effect on my emotions too. Chiang Mai Ram hospital was fine. They just couldn’t quite understand what I wanted, which was basically to get my vitals checked and talk to someone about the reaction. So I got half of what I wanted. 🙂

  6. Scarlet says:

    I like your writing style! I stumbled!

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