Thursday, January 26, 2012

when a friend turns into a killer

friendly bee



Mr Bee. He used to be my friend. A happy and welcome visitor to my garden, working his magic to help my garden grow.

But now I know him in a different light.

Killer Bee via

Yesterday I learnt that he poses a real and significant risk to my son’s safety.

We’re going to have to carry an EpiPen at all times, my son will have to spend a day in hospital being poked and prodded and then have a monthly injection for the next three years. Yep. Three years! Yesterday we went to the pathologist so that E’s blood could be taken, he totally freaked out. He has had blood tests before and been fine but I suppose he is just that little bit older now, that little bit more aware. He was absolutely terrified. It was awful. The phlebotomist couldn’t get enough blood because he was so stressed. We have to go back to try again tomorrow.

After the horrid experience we came home to have a swim, a chance to relax and unwind after the ordeal. It wasn’t relaxing at all. There were so many bees. There always have been because they’re drawn to the water. It never used to bother me before, but now it does. Now all my maternal instincts are on high alert and whilst I’m saying “we just have to be careful not scared” I’m pretty much terrified on the inside and have doubts that my performance of confidence is convincing.

On Monday we have another appointment with the doctor so that she can teach me how to use the EpiPen. I’m hoping after that I’ll feel more relaxed. More empowered and less terrified.

Maybe in time I can be friends with Mr. Bee again, but just now I’m rather angry with him.

Are bees your friend or foe?


  1. I'm sorry to hear that. That's a long time for injections, poor guy. One summer camp I worked at we all (counselors) practiced with an EpiPen on, I think, an orange. I think with time you will be more comfortable assessing risk and benefit and you will be able to relax and send your son confidently out into the world. I wish that for you, anyway!

  2. HI Sal, sounds really traumatic. We have had an epipen in our house now for 9 years, Jack was two and had an anaphylatic reaction to- what we weren't sure- food, something outside (they were playing on the hay). Off to the royal childrens for tests etc- they were great at the blood tests- traumatic as they are and I have found one fantastic pathology nurse locally and only like to go when she's on. It changes your parenting and I find that really hard still- I really want to be a laid back, tack a risk , off you go on your interesting journey kid, kind of mum but now that is clouded by the more controlling 'do you understand my childs medical condition- and that it's life threatening' me. Hard, you must be in shock. Day by day, the hospital etc will become more familiar as will the tests- do they have a kids room? We go to the kids play room as a treat after, still. I was hoping Jack would grow out of his allergies, and one year, I think when he was about 8 I just had it in my head (not hope, more like a belief) that he wouldn't be allergic anymore- I think because the dr. had said, if he's going to grow out of it, he will have by about 8- anyway he was still allergic (all nuts except almonds are the life threatening stuff, and then moulds, dust etc for sinus, asthma stuff, and he has coeliac disease- so gluten).
    Sorry for using your comment box to blab on about me, but I wanted to say abit that I get it must have been a really hard day. And bees- unpredicable unlike food (to a certain extent). this crowd might have some useful fact sheets- there are some pretty cool epipen holders out there too, that he can strap around his waist- google them, but let me know if you can't find any, I will hunt around for where we got ours. Take care, Tan

  3. oh my sally, your poor guy. as tanya said, it must be so much harder with the un-predictability of bees opposed to food allergies. my 5.yr old recently had bloods done & he was the same. never an issue before, but like you said, i think he has cottoned onto it!! lots of praise & 'what a brave boy' he was got said. i cant imagine what the next 3 yrs will be like for your little man though. very brave :) nice words only go so far with kids. wishing you all the luck i can give you during this time :)

  4. Terrified on the inside is understandable. I hope you all find a way to deal with it so that it isn't the focus for you in the next few years of needles and tests.

    Once it sinks in I am sure you will be fine. Our ability to cope with any situation is a remarkable gift.

  5. Oh that must have been AWFUL. I would have been in tears if I was you... Even thought you know why you are doing what needs to be done... NEVER feels better.

    Is he with it enough to know he will be getting something really special when he finishes his session... So he has something to look forward to. Not making him "behave" more just soemthing you can wisper in his ear to help hi think of something good to look forward to...

    The poor little thing and you...

  6. Oh poor E, and poor you and D as well having to watch your son feel terrified. Even as an adult when you understand everything having blood taken is not particularly fun. Especially when it takes them upwards of 5 goes to get a cooperative vein. While I was in hospital I told a few medical staff they had 3 goes and if they didn't get it they had to go and get someone more experienced. Don't be scared to ask for someone else if you don't feel comfortable. Feeling like a pincushion sucks!

    What are the monthly injections for? Is it the allergy program to help him develop an immunity to it?

    E is a brave boy and I'm sure given time and some good phlebotomists he will become okay with the whole blood taking experience and the allergy side of things too. In the meantime though it is no surprise that you are all feeling extremely cautious about bees. It's way too hot not to be in the pool today though so on the plus side, at least you are facing your fears and helping E face his rather than letting them build up into something bigger.

  7. Oh poor little E - I can only imagine trying to do a blood test on such little one. I know my kid would go berserk. I hope it is not too awful for you both as you go though this.

    Amanda xox

  8. Oh Sal - that's terrible - and I can understand you feeling scared and anxious when you are out enjoying the world - because you now feel you have to be on high alert all the time.
    We've got an Epipen here for peanut allergy and never had to use it (touch wood!) but there is the constant alertness that I think you now know.
    I'm so sorry you had such a terrible day and the monthly needles will not be fun.
    Good luck for the next blood test, I will be thinking of you and E tomorrow.

  9. Oh poor E, and poor you having to see him that distressed- awful. we are epipen holders too- the Mr is allergic to tics- anaphalaxis and all. I have had two hospital admissions from them too but thank fully nothing since.

    sending hugs. xx

  10. Oh no that must have been a scary experience for all of you. I'm not sure if you can use it when you have an injection, but you can buy some numbing gel from the chemist to put on the area where you have a blood test. When Miss 7 was small they put some on for her when they did a blood test which helped her a lot. Bees are a not great for the Miss 7 she reacts quite badly, but it hasn't been deadly but I am weary of them around her.
    I'm glad that you were able to have a relax, and unwind after such a horrible experience. Take care. x

  11. How scary and awful for both you and E! all round terrifying experience and hard for a little one to go through.
    No Epi holders in our family.
    My allergies are just plain weird ones, methalated spirits and bubble bath. Luck for me nothing life threatning just either one makes me sick and pass out the other I break out into a rash. xo

  12. oh no Sally...what a stress! knowledge is power they say.... x x thankfully bees are our friends....but the wasps making nests everywhere on the other hand..not so much!

  13. That's sad because it makes the summers hard for you. I don't envy the worry that it adds to your parenting. I was fortunate in bubs that we had no major problems like that - only a cleft palate and failure to thrive with my first. Come on the winter (although I think it is here anyway). Cherrie

  14. I think you're right, once you know how to use the EpiPen (and the shock has worn off and the idea of it all has sunk in) you will feel more relaxed. But give yourself some time to adjust. Think how many times you have ever been stung by a bee?

    Poor little man. The monthly injections sound just as bad. He will be a pro before long.

    All the best to you both. xx

  15. Oh Sally I hope today went better for you and E. I think once you have lessons on the epipen you will feel more in control but I know what you mean about suddenly there are bees everywhere. On a plus note it's a good thing you don't live in our house as my neighbour is a beekeeper! Are the monthly injections to build up an immunity? Megan is right some nurses and doctors really suck at taking blood...if you are not happy ask for someone else. Its a knack and you either have it or you don't. Hugs to you all xx

  16. My Mum's in the same boat...she has every insect repellant known to humankind dotted around her house. It's a change to life but she's doing well & if we're ever in doubt as to what to buy her we can always go for citronella candles. (Going through security at airports is always interesting!)

  17. Oh, Sal. That sucks.

    My oldest is scared of bees because he remembers getting bitten at kindy age. But it is a fear rather than a threat.

    I have a close friend who lives with epipens for each daughter so I
    understand what you are feeling right now. You will always be alert but with time you will feel more confident about it all.

  18. Hi Sally,
    Sorry to hear about E's bee reaction. The worry does fade a little with time and when you get to know the in's and out's of anaphilaxis better. Esther is allergic to dairy and tree nuts (not anaphilactic though). She used to be allergic to eggs too, but has grown out of this. My nephew had anaphilactic allergies, but they all reduced around the age of 10. Try not to worry.

  19. Hi Sal,
    Sorry to hear about little E's allergies. My son has many, many allergies and we have several trips each year to the ER. Over time we have become less anxious and have learnt to respond to his allergic reactions (I have to carry a small medical kit that includes an epipen). I found that my son hated me hovering, it was causing him to feel excluded from his peers and we had to build up a trust where he would come to me straight away if he was feeling the slightest onset of symptoms and we would quietly start treatment from my handbag and if after 10 minutes he was not feeling any better we would head straight to the ER. I tell you this in a hope that will help with lessening your anxiety and give you confidence to develop stratgies in managing a life long condition.

  20. Oh scary +. How did you go with this?? I dread my 3rd girl having shots, she works herself up but happily watches others have their blood taken. Honestly, with the tiny gauge needles they use & vacuum tubes, it's so painless. Wishing you well on this dodgy bee journey. I too was allergic to bees as a child, for some reason, doesn't worry me now - why are children more prone to stings, are they just hanging out in bee areas?? I know i got stung a few times from the wisteria, so pretty but i was always playing so close to it?? Add to that clover. Children huh?? Good luck, love Posie


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