a few sundays ago, we had a covered dish dinner after church, to visit with laura’s parents, who were, in turn, visiting our little village.

I made a crock pot of barbecue, an italian cream cake, and a lemon cheesecake which turned out very tart. unfortunately, I didn’t eat any of them. I have this very ugly habit of eating fast, and not chewing well. I think it developed when I worked at the school and only had about 15 minutes to scarf down my lunch; when I realize it, I slow down and count my chews to make sure I don’t inhale it. most of the time, though, I don’t realize it until I’m sitting and waiting for everyone else to finish.

on this day, however, I took the first bite of my bbq sandwich, chewed it a couple of times, and suddenly became aware that it was stuck. I tried to make it unstuck, but pretty quickly realized I couldn’t do it on my own. I jumped up from the table and got rich’s attention, then I ran outside. ~I had the presence of mind to think that when that the chunk came up, I didn’t want to gross everyone out~ so, rich and bobby followed me out. my loving husband gave me the heimlich and beat the hell out of my back. after a few gasping breaths, I was back on track, but my stomach hurt too bad to eat anything.

while the same loving husband was petting me and comforting me, he swatted away a japanese hornet. after he swatted it the third time, it landed on his hand. when he swiped at it again, it stung him…right on that vein that runs on the top of your hand. we went back inside and to different conversations. he sat down with bobby (the unofficial ‘father’ of the church-he’s the one everybody goes to with concerns-he’s also on the fire department) and showed him the sting. while he was sitting there, he started to feel warm.

bobby ran home (not even a quarter of a mile from church) to get some benadryl. in the meantime, rich was turning red and getting warmer. soon after, his breathing became more shallow, and he quit communicating. a couple of guys pulled him off the chair onto the floor. bobby came back with the pills, but there was no way rich was going to be able to swallow them. he ran upstairs and called 911, and right after he came downstairs rich started shaking, in anaphylactic shock. he had guys on each arm and leg, and someone fanning his face. they were all telling him it was gonna be okay, he was gonna be fine. meanwhile, I’m standing there crying and watching all of this. I’ve got a woman on each side of me sobbing and holding on to me for dear life. I just knew that I was watching my husband die and there was nothing any of us could do.

FINALLY the first responders got there with oxygen, which helped revived him just enough that we could see his chest rising. the ambulance came close behind and in short order had him iv’d and medicated. bobby drove me to the hospital and I stayed with rich. we were there for a little over 4 hours, while they dosed him with steroids and anti-allergins. he had huge, quarter sized blisters all over his torso and arms, which slowly faded to hives, then disappeared altogether.

he was released on his own recognizance that evening, and we decided to go grab some food, since we had abused our lunch hour with our antics. I chewed my food good and slow, and he ate like a man back from the dead.

things have settled back down, now. he carries an epi-pen with him, and he even got stung a few days ago, but nothing happened. it was just a little honeybee feeding on the hummingbird nectar, and thought rich’s knee looked like a nice spot to park his butt. the area swelled but he had no other affects, which proved my theory that he’s not really allergic, it’s just that those japanese hornets are bad bad news…especially if they get your blood vein.

we’ve had a few of them up around the porch and I swat the piss out of them, while rich runs inside. he’s not taking any chances now.

it’s funny ~not funny ha-ha, but funny ironic~ rich has been seeing a therapist for a couple of months now, is on a great medication, and he’s been like a new man. our relationship is great, almost like new again. and now this episode has made him even more grateful, thankful, appreciative of life. he truly is not the man I married, but newer, better than before. he’s my six million dollar man.

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