Health: Friend or Foe? Painful Lesson From Bee Stings

Health: Friend or Foe? Painful Lesson From Bee Stings

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#HealthTip #Tuesday

Health may not be your friend, but should definitely not be your enemy.  I am reminded of something that happened to me this summer. One morning, while mowing our yard on the side of the house, I mowed over a hole. A bee stung me on my ankle.  I immediately stopped mowing, sought out my husband, and went into the house to care for my bee sting.

Close-up of a live Yellow Jacket Wasp on a white background.

A week later, I was mowing the lawn again in the same area.  This time, I was stung six times on different parts of my body.  I was in pain of course, and very upset.  I knew from my first bee sting what to expect: pain, swelling, and itching for about seven days.  Only this time it would be worse.  I told my husband I was done mowing the yard on that side of the house forever!  Later, I learned from a friend who is a bee keeper that I was stung by a yellow jacket whose sting is far worse than a honey bee.  At that moment, I felt like yellow jackets were my enemy.

I think health is often viewed as something to ignore until it fails you.  As a nurse, I hear what patients to say at the very moment of health failure and proposed treatment.

I just wish these doctors would find something they could fix, so I can feel better.

It is one of my favorite recent quotes overheard.

The Battle

I was not aware of the bees. They stung. They became my enemy.  Dealing with the yellow jackets became the perfect health relationship metaphor.  I should not have mowed in that area again after being stung the first time. I could have learned more about what I was dealing with. I could have had my husband use the weed trimmer around the hole. I knew the yellow jackets were there. I did not give them attention until it was too late.

In the case of health, when you ignore the steps to ensure your health, it turns bad.  Then, you find yourself fighting to gain it back.  Arrest your detrimental habits. Take the time to research and investigate your opponent.  Partner with health professionals and coaches who can support a healthy lifestyle. Your health is an important consideration. Give it proper attention before it stings.

I hear hospitalized patients lament that they don’t know what happened with their health.  All they know is they were doing fine one day, and they started having problems the next day.  Health issues like diabetes, obesity, heart disease do not happen in one day.  You don’t get an ulcer from stressing one time.  These problems result from repeated insults to your body.  A consistent lack of attention perhaps focusing on other, seemingly more important (or more immediate), things.

No Take Backs

On the third day after being stung, I felt like jumping out of my skin literally.  I was swollen and the inflammation had set in big time.  The constant itch that is not relieved by scratching is was the worse.   It didn’t matter how much I wished, I couldn’t turn back time.

TomorrowSome health issues are just as unforgiving.  Say you flirt long enough with the thought that you have plenty of time to exercise and eat better.  Later comes, and your heart has failed you.  Now, you need stents to keep your vessels open so blood and oxygen can get through, or you may need bypass surgery.

Let’s say you have mulled over developing a more productive response to stress, but decided you would do it later. Your preferred way to cope with stress in your life is to drink alcohol in excess.  Not the night cap of red wine that you tell your doctor about. I’m referring to the 5th of Vodka or the case of beer you finish before you know it.  Later comes, and your liver fails you.  No matter the wishing, your treatment options are limited.

Establishing a Relationship with Health

The first step in establishing a good relationship with health is to get to know it.  After I researched and spoke with my friend, I found out that yellow jackets build their nests in holes in the ground.  They kill insects that eat on your plants and grass, are attracted to sweet smelling things and bright colors. They will attack if they feel threatened.  Their stingers are even different than bees.  Every time I mowed over their nest unknowingly, I threatened them.

Similarly, your health will take care of you if you give it what it needs.  Good food that provides needed nutrients for the body to perform at its best, physical activity that keeps the body flexible and in shape.  A well thought out way to de-stress, like meditation, talking to someone you trust, or having an active support system (they do without you asking).

I can be thankful that I didn’t have a severe reaction that needed medical attention.  My body stood its ground and fought to bring me back to homeostasis.  But, if I was more aware, it would not have been adversarial at all. Take the steps to know where to put the effort into your health.  The point is to gain knowledge and take control.  Don’t threaten your health unaware of its importance like my encounters with the yellow jackets. Engage constructively in a lifestyle of mutual support.

IMG_1682[Taunya is nurse, author, and a three-year homeschool veteran. She is currently working on two books, the 3rd in the Brady Boe series, and Truth–the first in the End Time Saga Trilogy. #ReadTSW at]