If only we could!
Nearly two years ago, on a gloriously warm and sunny day I spent the day out with the family. A long walk on Exmoor, with the dog searching for any rogue pheasants, it really was one of those days where you could appreciate the world around you.
As time passed it was clear that the time had come to set off home, the kettle and cake was calling and everyone was slightly weary.
Now, at the time I kept bees, and as some of you may know when the conditions are right a Queen bee will fly out of the hive, avoiding the swallows and sending pheromones everywhere to attract the males, then she flies back. Sometimes, bees can get confused and you may find small clusters in a hedge or tree, where they notice the scent and assume the queen is there but she has actually left. Its not normally a problem, they find their way back eventually.
When I got home I found such a cluster, and concerned that it was going to be a cold night with rain also heading in, and hating the idea that some of our bees might die, I made a decision to get a box, drop the cluster in and introduce them back to their home in the morning.
Unfortunately things did not go quite to plan!
I cut the small branch and slowly lowered them into the box, probably about 80 bees, however one did not want to go, dropped onto my arm and decided to sting me! A hazard of the hobby I'm afraid, I'd been stung many times in the past, no big deal. I put the box in the shed started walking up the path and felt a strange tingling in my fingers!
Within around 3 minutes I told my wife that I had been stung and started to feel a little strange, my hands were really itchy, this then went to my groin, it was incredible the speed of reaction was fascinating to me. I knew I was having a reaction, with anti histamine in the shed I thought that would be enough, off I ran to get it, my wife was telling me to sit down but would I listen? Even as a first aid instructor and ambulance responder I knew what I should be doing, stay still, feet up but 'macho man' decided he wanted to be in control and knew best. By the time I came back from the shed I was not good, I wanted to scratch my skin off it was so itchy, hives appearing, and starting to slur my speech. I had to phone for help... 111, big mistake! never again I wont go into that now! Phoned 999, still trying to control the situation until my wife wrenched the phone out of my hand. I was slurring so much the operator couldn't understand. My lips were swelling and my throat was tightening, I was definitely having an anaphylactic reaction, a severe one!
The ambulance took 35 minutes to get to me, I do not want that feeling ever again, I will admit I was scared, and I can confirm that the bees have gone never to return, but I feel lucky that I do what I do! Why?
Well, for those of you that do not know my company provides lifesaving equipment and first aid training. My wife has attended my training sessions and knew what I should be doing(even though I wouldn't listen), but I also have a defibrillator and my oxygen kits in the house. I'm sure right now some cynics will say this is just a sales ploy, but I assure you these are facts, and I carry two epipens now for insurance!
That 35 minutes waiting for the ambulance seemed like a lifetime, I used my own O2 kit, and if things had got really serious the defib was on hand. Just using the kit I believe lowered my stress levels and helped me cope, but I do wonder what might have happened or what does happen to others in the same situation.
We cannot see into the future!
We never know what will happen, when its going to occur, or who its going to happen to but we need to be prepared. Yes, I sell my O2 kits and hope one day they will be thought of just like a fire extinguisher available everywhere, but would encourage all of you to at the very least get some basic first aid training. Yes, courses have a reputation of being boring but that is just a poor instructor, do some research, get a recommendation and spend about 6 hours of life learning a life skill, if you can afford it buy some kit, we're talking generally of less than an average mobile phone contract, and some anti histamine, it could just save your life!
Don't leave it, act today!