The Sting

waspI was stung by a wasp. Inside. My. Home. Yes, you read that right. I was working from my home office, and decided to take a short break and grab a snack – one of the benefits of working from home. I was in the basement kitchen, fixing my snack, when I noticed the bag of onions my husband brought home the day before. Onion skins were flaking everywhere and so, I decided to pick up the bag and do a little kitchen counter clean-up.

While holding the bag, I felt something sharp digging into the cuticle on my right thumb. Maybe a staple? A twist tie? What in the world could be sharp on a bag of onions? Suddenly, I felt a piercing pain; in my shock, I dropped the bag, only to discover…a giant wasp?

waspLike most people, this wasn’t my first bee rodeo. I’ve been stung by bumblebees, hornets, and wasps before, but never in all my years have I felt the pain I felt after this sting. Not only did my thumb swell up; my whole hand swelled up to the wrist. Any horror movie you’ve ever seen where they stick something sharp under someone’s fingernail? I imagine this is what it felt like.

I went to my trusty First Aid kit and tried everything in it for the pain including Tylenol and commercial wipes made specifically for relieving sting pain. And…they didn’t work. More bad luck: I was out of the trusty Benadryl relief sticks we usually have on hand. Then, waspas if by magic, I remembered an old folk remedy passed down by my grandmother. She always said that when she got a bad bee¬†sting, she’d put tobacco on it to “take the fire out.” I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but I was desperate. Consider it the one time in my life that it worked in my favor to be a smoker.

I picked up a cigarette and removed the tobacco, wetting it a little. Then, I applied the wet tobacco to the sting in a makeshift compress, holding it for about ten minutes. Imagine my surprise as it actually alleviated the pain! When none of our modern medicines did the trick, it was an old folk remedy that saved me. (Here are some others that might work too….)

So while I won’t advocate for smoking, I’ll say it might be a good idea to grab a small bag of tobacco before your summer camping or fishing trip! Or in my case – before cleaning up a bag of onions in the kitchen. Keep it in your first aid kit – you’ll be glad you had it when your whole hand swells up!

If by chance you’re one of the few wondering what happened to the wasp… let’s just say I followed the classic code of “an eye for an eye.” Since I don’t have a stinger, I felt like it was only fair to go with the next, most reasonable equivalent – my flip flop. SPLAT!

Happy Monday,
~Mary