Friday, July 15, 2011

Bug In My Bonnet

It was one of those rare, sleepy, quiet, warm Sunday mornings in East-end Ottawa in the summertime. I decided to finish my morning coffee sitting in a lawn chair in my garage with the door wide-open. It was early July and! I was admiring my Yamaha Virago 920 . She looked good. She was clean and her chrome sparkled in the sun. Then it hit me! “What on earth am I doing here?” ...Ten minutes later I was dressed for the road complete with leather jacket, leather gloves and my full-faced Bell Helmet. This was my favourite helmet because I had won it in a competition a year or so earlier.

My plan was to go down the Ottawa river parkway; continue through town; proceed south on the Rideau Canal to Dow's Lake and then make my way back home via Riverside Drive. I'd even planned my lunch in advance. A jam and peanut butty washed down with a cold glass of milk sounded just great. What could possibly go wrong?

I raised my visor for a while to allow that extra bit of warm breeze to ventilate my face. You could smell the fresh air ….and suddenly I got smashed in the face right out of no-where! It hit me so hard that my head recoiled backwards causing my visor to slam shut forwards thereby sealing the intruder within the confines of its new prison – my helmet. I felt a poison sac pumping hot venom into my right eyelid. The rhythmical contractions of that bag of stinging poison continued indefinitely. I couldn't get at it. I had to get that beast out of there.

I also had to get off the road - fast. I pulled over on a bare patch of asphalt as soon as I possibly could. I hit the kill switch but I couldn't find the side-stand. It felt like someone was driving a red hot poker into my right eye and that venom sac continued pumping. I found the side-stand and got off the bike. I tried to remove my helmet but I couldn't. I had to remove my gloves first. It took forever to finally get my helmet off. I brushed my face with my hands and out fell the biggest, meanest, nastiest bumblebee you ever saw. He was the evil grand-daddy of bumblebees and he had completed the delivery of his venom right down to the very last drop.

My attention turned to my right eye. It was swollen and starting to close. The swelling was beginning to spread to my left eye as well. I felt my entire face starting to go stiff. I calculated about fifteen minutes to get home and about the same amount of time for both eyes to seal shut. I turned out to be a pretty good guesser. My visor remained closed for the trip home.

I was barely OK to drive. I was unable to see the numbers on my garage key-pad to open the door so I left the bike in my driveway while I went inside using the front door. I was starting to feel sick so I laid on my bed for a while. I must have passed out. By the time I woke up several hours later my face was a mess. There were thin slits were my eyes used to be; my face was swollen and distorted; and it had taken on an unnatural rosy-red colour.

It took a trip to the doctor's office and several doses of anti-histamines to get me started on the mend again - and it didn't come quick. But, it was not all bad news. Since I didn't choke to death, I learned that I was not allergic to bee-stings; I had to take a few days off work because I couldn't see, so I got a good rest; and I got the chance to pig-out on peanut butter and jam sandwiches for a few days.


  1. Did you know that bee and rattlesnake venom are the same? Bees just have smaller amounts.

  2. Then I'm glad it wasn't a rattler