Bee Sting & Ambulance & Drugs, Oh my!

How was your Tuesday evening? Mine was typical, other than the fact that my child was:
  • stung by a bee
  • having difficulty breathing
  • rushed to the emergency room in an ambulance
  • completely unrecognizable from swelling and hideous hives
  • ordered to spend the night in the hospital for observation
  • pumped with enough drugs to make him fall asleep...before midnight
You know, just a typical day. Let me tell you how this story began.

My phone rings. On the other end is Kaden's grandfather. He's not quite panicked, but there is a slight case of urgency in his voice. Apparently, Kaden was on the deck and a bee stung him on the head (we still haven't found the exact location). He screamed, ran in the house, and in less than ten minutes his body was under attack.

While in route to his grandparent's house, I received another phone call. This time it was his grandfather letting us know that Kaden and his grandmother were on their way to Urgent Care. We wasted no time getting there.

Upon arriving at Urgent Care, we saw an ambulance waiting in the parking lot. The doors were opened and waiting for a patient to occupy its back quarters. That patient would be my son.

Ian and I stormed into the backroom where an entire cast of medical professionals surrounded Kaden. I counted at least six. It was total chaos. There were technical terms filling the air, bloodied rags covering the floor, and a machine providing oxygen to our son. He stood their with an eerie calm, tears escaping the corners of his eyes, and was swollen to the point of no recognition. I remained calm for the sake of my son, but deep inside I felt a big ball of numb settling comfortably. This was unreal.

Kaden was placed on a black and yellow stretcher. I made a joke to him that it resembled Bumblebee from 'Transformers', but he was in no mood to acknowledge my playfulness. I think it was more of a way to calm my nerves than a failed attempt to be funny. I just needed some lightness to balance such a heavy situation. I re-focused my attention on the chatter filling the room. Kaden wanted me to ride in the ambulance with him. That may seem normal to most mothers, but I have a real "daddy's boy" on my hands (He adores and admires his he should).  Ian followed closely behind in the car.

Inside of the ambulance more questions were asked about his medical history. His vitals were monitored and radioed into the hospital before our arrival. The medic kept asking Kaden if he was chilly because his feet were a bit cold. I noticed the same thing as I held his hand the entire way there. He insisted he was fine.

We pulled up to the hospital's emergency room and rushed through the automatic doors. An ER nurse greeted us at the desk. More questions asked. More answers given. Blah, blah, blah. The repetition was nauseating. Still, I obliged and gave the same, scripted answers again. It was all for my son who needed his parents to take care of business so that he could get healthy.

The steady beat of monitors and continuous flow of medicine through an IV made the situation more real. This wasn't a put-some-ice-on-it bee sting, this was a life-threatening bee sting. One that was doing damage on the inside, as well as showing physical signs on the outside. In that moment, I was truly blessed that his grandmother made the quick decision to rush him to seek treatment. Every second was precious and according to the medic, "Grandma made the right decision on this one."

His body was covered in hives.
As his upper body begin to clear, his legs took on a different look. The hives appeared to be growing at a rapid rate, in which even the doctor was concerned. She met me in the hallway to tell me that if the hives continued to attack as they were, he may have to be taken to Children's Hospital in D.C. where they were equipped to handle more severe cases. Apparently, allergic reactions aren't just about what is taking place on the outside. The body can be under attack inside as well, i.e. the lungs. Kaden remained on oxygen for a bit to help with his breathing. It was me who needed it, or a hug would have been sufficient.

The clocked ticked. We grew restless. The entire family was hungry. No one had eaten dinner, including Kaden. He wasn't allowed to, and that devastated this growing boy. So, we turned on the television and found a soccer game. In some weird way, it made him normal again. He was happy to sit there as Peru took on Uruguay, with his Dad and I right at his bedside. Rotations of Benadryl and potassium were flowing. Things were looking up. But my eyes were shutting down.


There is no such thing as relaxing in the hospital. At least five separate nurses, in what felt like hourly intervals, came in and out of the room to check Kaden's vitals, give him breathing treatments, change his medicines, and to make note of his recovery. I had flashbacks of our family's days in Pediatrics when Kaden was a premature baby. No sleep. Tossing and turning. Constant monitoring. Ugh! But there was good news around the corner. We could finally have food!

Just a little after 8 am the next morning, a tray of food entered the room. Kaden's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. One tray was for me, the other for him. I knew he was starving (as was I), so I gave him both trays. I'm sure it was way too much, but at this point I didn't care. Let them eat cake!!



In our short stay, we received a bunch of phone calls. Grandparents and the aunts of course. Daddy called from work a bunch of times to check on his "man". I felt a slight disconnect from the world because my cellphone died early-on the day before as I was headed to the hospital. It was actually a blessing. I did not have any distractions and I was forced to pay attention to every moment of my world. Especially the little man in my life.

Around noon on Wednesday, the doctor came into the room to inform us that we would be able to leave in a couple of hours. I wanted to jump out of the chair, but I didn't want to startle anyone. The fifth floor was just two stories up by the way. Ha! Want to see our faces after hearing the news?!

Kaden was finally himself again. He was out of the bed and looking out the window. He could not wait to get outside.

Discharge orders were in. More instructions to go over. More papers to sign. More drugs prescribed. More appointments to be made. But we were okay this time. I was leaving the hospital with a happy boy who I could finally recognize.

This experience taught me a few valuable lessons. One, check for bees and wasps around your home. Two, react immediately to all injuries, no matter the severity. Three, appreciate the people in your life that have your back. Four, life is fragile and can be altered at any given moment. Five, LOVE!

The weeks ahead are filled with more doctor visits, administering drugs, and staying alert. Kaden is in a small percentage of people in this country who are allergic to bees. Roughly two out of every thousand people are allergic to them. We are more aware of our surroundings and will continue to do so in order to protect our little boy. Luckily, he is doing just fine now.

Now, how was your Tuesday again?!

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