August 27, 2013 |

YOUR LETTERS | August 28, 2013

Please beware of the bees

Dear Editor,

I am a 61-year-old woman and I pride myself in being a prepared northwestern hiker. On most weekends I take my dogs for a swim in the mountain rivers or on long walks in the woods.

Often at trailheads the rangers will post warning signs that read, Beware of Bear or Cougar. Last Sunday I decided to stay close to home.

We ventured only two blocks, to the Frisbee Park on the eastside of Mt. Pilchuck Elementary School in Lake Stevens. I did not read the warning signs and I did not think to bring my cell phone or water.

As is our tradition we headed from the parking lot directly to Catherine Creek. The creek flows south along the east side of the park. A few yards north of a neighborhood footbridge someone strategically placed a stepping stone across the creek.

I obliged and stepped my way across the creek. I walked through the grass climbing a small null to peer upstream. There the trail ended. I turned around to go back down when I got stung, then again, and again. Obviously I disrupted a hive.

I hurried back across the creek but the bees seemed to attach themselves to my hair and my shirt. Like little warriors defending their home they flew under my tee shirt sleeves and dropped down to my waistband.

They kept stinging. I did my best to remain calm, calling the dogs to climb the hill back to the parking lot.

In the past I had a local reaction to bee stings, this time I knew I was in trouble. My hands started itching, a bright red rash appeared on my arms and legs, my breathing became labored, and my tongue was swelling.

My friend lives near the park and I knew she had an Epi pen. I got the dogs in the car and headed to her house.

With presence of mind she and her husband administered the Epi and called 911. By the time the Lake Stevens Medics arrived my blood pressure dropped to 70 over zero.

That means I was going into anaphylactic shock and had only minutes.

I am alive today because of my courageous friends who happened to be home and the stellar crew of the Lake Stevens Medics.

The moral of this story is never leave home unprepared no matter how near or far you might be going. Read the warning signs; beware of bear or cougar but also the BEES.

Tread lightly on the land and be kind to all.

Christy Richardson

Lake Stevens

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