Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Story About a Wasp

My app now has me running over 20 minutes without stopping.

I cannot run 20 minutes without stopping. I keep trying. I can make it 11 minutes. Sometimes I can make it 13 minutes. But I cannot run 20 minutes. Or 25, like I was supposed to run today.

It ended up working out just fine, because this morning I took Darcy with me, and she was not at all interested in running. She wanted to sit on the ground and watch me run, resulting in my running away from her. Then I had to stop and coax her to join me. And I'd run again, and we would repeat the process. Darcy is not used to going out and running at 8:00 AM. She is used to walking around with Mum and being able to sniff everything. It is a leisure walk. More of a stroll than anything.

Poor Darcy. It was even misting, meaning she was getting wet, and she hates being wet.

By the time I was halfway done, I was exhausted, but Darcy was so happy to be going home that she finally decided to run without any begging or pleading. She used her Shetland Sheepdog herding skills to get me home. It was probably good that she did, as I was dying by then.

It's a good thing that I'm about two weeks ahead of where I SHOULD be. That makes it okay that I'm not running 20 straight minutes. But I can't help but worry that I WON'T do any better, and that on race day I'll be gasping my way along, then stopping to walk for the second half. It would be just like the president's physical fitness tests we used to have to take in gym class, only with me all grown up and with more asthma. There will be just as many people staring at me, so I'll get that added humiliation and possible flashbacks.

The last time I ran a mile with people watching, I had been stretching in gym and had no idea I would soon be subject to such torment. I felt a slight tickle on my arm and, thinking it was a strand of my own hair, I brushed it away. Except it was not a hair, it was a wasp.

The wasp, believing I was about to murder it, stung me as my hand approached. When I touched the wasp half a second later (discovering as I did so that the stabby thing was a giant angry wasp), it became lodged in my arm like an insectoid hypodermic needle.

Did I mention it was in the crook of my elbow, right where they always draw blood at the doctor's office? It was there.

One of my fellow students had to remove the wasp for me, as it was stuck and its attempts to walk away or fly were resulting in nothing. Meanwhile, it was still mid-sting, with more and more wasp venom entering what could only have been my veins, since all my blood vessels are right at the surface and easily accessible to wasps and medical staff alike.

The wasp, once freed, flew away. It was probably out of venom by then. It did not come back, meaning it was probably as traumatized as I was after the whole experience.

My arm began to blow up like a balloon.

As I wondered if this counted as an excuse to go to the nurse's office, our teacher led us out of the gym for...the track. Yes, we were running a mile that day. For the stupid fitness test they made us do every year. Spoiler alert: None of us were ever fit.

I asked the teacher if I could go to the nurse's office. He said no. So as I walked out of the building toward the track, I noticed a room I'd never seen before. It was unmarked, and it contained a washing machine, a dryer, and a big ice machine like they have at hotels. This was the best thing I'd ever seen up to that point.

I ducked into the room, grabbed a paper towel from the holder above the ice chest, wrapped a handful of ice up in the paper towling, and went back to join my class.

holding the ice to my arm, I stepped into the hallway again, only to be turned on by the teacher at once. "WHAT WERE YOU DOING IN THE BOY'S VARSITY LOCKER ROOM?!" He bellowed.

"That's the boy's locker room?" I asked. "I was getting ice!"

"Oh." He replied, mollified. "Come on then."

And then I ran a mile while I felt progressively sicker. My forearm was the size of my thigh by the time I was finished. I ran the whole mile clutching the rapidly-melting ice to the spot where I'd been stung.

When I finished (I think at 12-14 minutes), I walked over to where the class was waiting for me and the other two asthmatic runners. I may not have known I had asthma then, but my pace matched the other asthmatics. Tell me that's not a clue.

The teacher wrote down my time and then noticed my arm, which, I reiterate, was THE SIZE OF MY THIGH.

"What is wrong with your arm?" My teacher asked.

"A wasp got stuck in it. It was in there for two minutes or so. And now I have a balloon arm. It feels like fire and my heartbeat."

I was sent to the nurse's office at once. Only, the nurse had already left for the day, as she was only in the school until noon or so. She had also left the elementary school and gone home. She was really, really gone. The secretary, who was also my drama coach, was freaked. But the buses were also leaving, so I was given more ice and strict instructions to make a baking soda poultice of some kind to pack over the sting-mark.

And then I went home. That was the last official mile-time I have on record.

Who had this great idea to sign up for a 5K anyway? Was it me? I don't think I would have done anything that foolish.

Moral support would be greatly appreciated. Either that or chocolate. Or maybe mozzarella sticks. Also wasp repellent, if you have any.

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