Welcome the newest members of our family, Benadryl and an EpiPen. These two will forever be with us, never ever to be separated from their owner.
It all began around 11:30a.m. Thursday morning with a phone call from my husband.
He had been running errands for church and received a phone call from a church member. This man had been trimming the hedges that morning and was halfway finished when he was stung multiple times by what he thought were wasps. Thankfully he was fine and was resting at home.
So, not thinking much about it, my hubby stopped at the hardware store, picked up two cans of exterminating spray, and sought to kill the little boogers. He began looking for the wasp nest in the bushes and accidentally stepped in a yellow jacket nest formed in the ground. As they began swarming him he sprayed them and managed to get all but one away from him...one small yellow jacket that stung him on the lip.
Almost immediately, he could feel it swelling and he called me.
"Hey Darlin, I'm coming home to get some benadryl, I just got stung on my lip by a yellow jacket."
"Oh! Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I think so...well, I don't know. My hands are starting to tingle and feel weird."
"Honey, go get some benadryl right now! Stop at the Food Lion by the church and get some quick."
"Uummm, Laine...I'm not feeling so good. I'm starting to feel tingly all over and I think my face is starting to swell...I'm just going to head to the hospital...oh man...my feet and hands are swelling too...I'm just going to go to the fire station in Newton and get some help."
"Do you want me to come there?"
"Yeah, you come on, I don't know what's going to happen."
We exchanged our "I love you's" and "good-byes" and hung up. I frantically began getting the kids ready while they peppered me with questions.
About 4-5 minutes later the phone rang. I was relieved and fear stricken all at once. It was a fireman from the station.
"Mrs. Chambers? This is ____________, we have your husband here and just wanted to let you know what's going on. He's not doing too good and the EMT's are working on him. Once he's more stable they'll put him in an ambulance and send him to the hospital. Don't come here, just head straight to the hospital."
I thanked him, hung up, googled and printed directions to the hospital, loaded up my crew and left. On the way I called one of our deacons wives and she said she would meet me up there to take care of the kids.
The whole way there I just cried and prayed. Then the directions were wrong. Thankfully, I saw an ambulance heading down the right road and I followed it. I just knew Steven was on it.
We pulled in the ER parking lot and sure enough, that was the ambulance my hubby was riding. When the EMT's jumped out, one took my husband in and another saw me and told me he'd meet me in the ER. I thought that was strange...how did he know who I was? (I found out later that when they pulled up the EMT asked, "How will I know who your wife is?" and Steven told him, "She'll be the gorgeous brunette with three kids in tow." Isn't he sweet?)
Once I was in the ER, the EMT found me and gave me the whole story.
By the time my husband got to the fire station, he was in rough shape and having a severe anaphylactic reaction. They immediately sat him down and started taking his vitals. They could get neither a pulse or a blood pressure on him. (Found out that is a symptom of going into anaphylactic shock.) While he was sitting in the chair, hives began traveling swiftly up his body. The EMT said it was like watching popcorn pop on his skin. They administered epiniphrine (same as in an EpiPen), began IV benadryl and then brought him to the hospital.
Soon after talking with the kind EMT and going through the whole registration process, we were allowed to see him. My poor husband! Steven's body was literally covered in red, raised hives like I have never seen. (And the EMT's said he was looking WAY better!) There was hardly a patch of white skin anywhere! His face, along with his hands and feet, were bright red and very swollen. His lips, ears and around his eyes were dark purple.
While in the hospital they administered steroids and another antihistamine to help his body calm down. By the time we left around 2:45pm, Steven was doing much better. His hives were all but gone and the swelling in his face, hands and feet was getting better as well. He was sent home on steriods, benadryl (to be taken around the clock) and a prescription for an epi-pen.
I wish I could say "End of story...he's healed!" But I can't, and that's the hard part. This is an extremely dangerous allergy that has to be taken seriously. In the words of the EMT, "If he gets stung again...well, it could be much, much worse. He could die."
It was truly only the grace of God that protected him this time...had he attempted to come home or go to the hospital, he would have never made it. I could be a widow right now.
While I could hold it together and put on my brave game face at the hospital, it all came pouring out tsunami style later. It was ugly. I pretty much cried all of Thursday night and most of Friday morning. You would think a normal reaction would be to mushy-gushy, lovey-dovey to your husband, but instead I could hardly look at him or talk to him without crying. I was in shock at all that happened. Everytime I looked at him all I could think was "Oh my goodness, I'm so thankful he's alive!" Gratitude flowing through tears....I guess that's how it happens sometimes.
But then my attitude took a turn. I wish I didn't have to admit this but I began to get bitter. I was so filled with fear about what could happen to my husband that by Friday afternoon I was in full, "Why, God?" mode. I knew what was right but felt completely zapped of all strength to do it. And then my sweet husband, the godly man who loves me enough to set me straight, said, "Laine, do you just want me to be healed, or are you willing to let God use this to teach us to trust Him more?"
Trust God. Short and sweet...that is the answer.
Does it make this problem go away? NO! Is it really, really, really hard not to worry 24/7 about my husband?? Yeah, it is. But when I'm afraid I have to choose to remember that the same God who got him safely to the fire station for help, can protect him everyday. I'm continually comforted by Psalm 121.."I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth." It continues on for six more verses about the protection of the Lord...you should go read it.
I do ask that you please pray for my husband. It's easy...when you see a bee, pray for Steven!
And all you wives out there, make sure you squeeze your hubby extra tight when he comes home, okay? I know I will.