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Patty Leon: Buzz, pop, burn: Fourth of July fireworks? Nope, a bunch of angry hornets
Patty Leon new

Nothing says welcome to the Fourth of July weekend than being stung five times by hornets. It’s just another reason this adulting thing has to stop. Forget being a responsible homeowner and let your yard turn into a jungle.

SERIOUSLY! It was bad enough to be stung on the palm of my hand, but to also get hit on the upper left cheek, and under my left arm, was just as bad. Worse yet was the sucker who got me right on the eyelid.

THAT HURT! I bet my neighbors were wondering what type of new-fangled dance I was trying to come up with — a cross between shuffle the hell on out of here and break-dancing gone wild.

And it was a double attack, no less.

The first was when I was cutting the grass next to the first bush. As I pushed the mower around it, a hornet buzzed out and latched onto the palm of my hand. I reacted by swatting it away from my hand, only to have hornet number two fly out and nab me on the cheek.

I ran into the house yelling, and probably cussing. I put some ice on my cheek and hand and put some cortisone cream on both. The itching and burning were intense. I sat in the house and drank some water while complaining about the scenario to my mom.

It’s bad enough it was 93 degrees with intense humidity, and I still had half the front yard to mow. After several minutes of moaning and complaining, I went back outside to finish the front yard. I was just about done when suddenly, from the second bush, a hornet swarmed out and, BANG, got me right in the eyelid.

As I frantically raised my hands to swat it away, BOOM, another two came out and went for that soft spot on the left side of my body, just under my arm.


My brother just happened to step outside to get his mail. He heard me yelling and running around like a lunatic on fire.

“Bees?” he asked. “Bees, or hornets, or something else just as evil,” I said back, while running toward the door.

As my eye began to swell shut, mom looked at me and said, “Again?”

“Yes,” I replied. “You know your brother mowed over a yellow jacket nest once and got stung by several. The next day he set that nest on fire.”

“So, I have permission to burn the two bushes dad planted?” I asked.

“Because I’ll torch them right now if I need to.”

“Oh, it’s in those. No, don’t burn those down,” she said.

Defeated again, and now with one eye shut and a swollen hand, side and cheek, I sat in my recliner, wishing I had never pulled out the lawnmower and done my chores at all.

After some icing, I drove to Walgreens and walked up to the pharmacy window.

“Oh, my,” said the pharmacist.

“Yep, I lost this fight,” I replied.

“Take Benadryl,” she said. “The liquid gel pills are best for quick absorption. Get some Cortisone 10 for the inflammation and itching. But don’t use that on your eyelid.”

I guess she thought since I got stung five times, I would be stupid enough to put the cream on my eyelid. Fair enough. I probably deserved that zinger. I told her I was only applying ice and cold packs to my eye.

Day one was bad enough, but the following morning was worse. The stings on my cheek and hand had subsided fairly quickly, but the double hit to my side was large, red and irritated. And my eye — well, really, what eye? I didn’t have one that morning, not even if I tried to pry the lids apart. It was just a swollen mess of eyelid and dried tears.

But the Benadryl was slowly taking effect and, little by little, the swelling did come down. I’m thankful that they pegged my eyelid and not my cornea, which would have meant a trip to the ER during the Fourth of July weekend.

My vision never blurred. I never got a fever, or worse. Thankfully, I am not allergic to bee stings, wasps and hornets.

Sadly, throughout my years, this scenario has been repeated a few times. I’m all for saving the pollinators, but right now, they can take a long walk off a short pier, for all I care.

As for the possible remaining hornets in the bushes, COME AT ME, BRO! See how far you get when I wear gloves, long-sleeved work shirts, safety googles and, if need be, bee-keeping attire when I mow the lawn again in 10 days.

Patty Leon is senior editor of the Coastal Courier.

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