Friday, February 13, 2009

What to Watch Out For

Well we end another week. Suppose to get up in the high teens this week. Just think a month ago we were -50 degrees. That will be close to a 70 degree change. Since this is Valentines Day tomorrow I am taking my bride to Two Rivers Lodge on the Chena Hot Springs Road. They even have outdoor dining.

When people think of dangers in Alaska the first thing they think of is grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, moose etc. But there is one that killed three people in one summer here in the Fairbanks area. In fact I almost lost my wife to it. It was the yellow jacket.

Last year we had hardly any in fact I don’t remember seeing any at all. But in the summer of 2006 they were all over the place. If you click on the 2006 you can read a news paper article on how bad they were. One person, who died,died trying to get himself to a hospital. Another man died at his home. The rescue squad was on the way but did not get there in time.

Now my wife that summer got stung once, and had a slight reaction. Not to bad it hurt and caused her arm to swell at the site and go red. But it wasn’t bad enough to rush her to the hospital. She was out working in the yard about two weeks later and got stung again. This time she went flush, her mouth started to swell, her heart was beating rapidly and she said she could feel the blood rushing through her body (found out later it was caused by the high blood pressure).

When she contacted me in my office at home, I took one look at her and we both piled in my corvette and I did in excess of 120 mph down the Richardson Highway to the Tannana Valley Clinic in Fairbanks. Got her inside and told the receptionist what the problem was and in less than a minute we were in the patient’s room being seen by a doctor and a nurse. They started an IV. They gave her Benadryl, steroids by mouth and a bunch of other stuff. Heck my wife doesn’t even take an aspirin. At this time my wife’s throat started to swell, her blood pressure was elevated, she was very flush.

Before I knew it there was about 8 doctors and nurses in the room. I found out later that this was on the job training for them. They don’t normally see cases like my wife’s because they normally go to the hospital. Heck I had been to the hospital one time and didn’t have time to look it up so I took her to the place where I knew they could help her.

After about an hour and a half my wife was released from the clinic. The nurse came up and thanked us for coming. He said “ I have never saved a life before”. Clinics normally see physicals, shots, colds etc.

The reason my wife reacted this way, the doctor explained, is when she got stung the first time, the body said to itself I don’t like this. And if it happens again I am going to do something about it. It did and it almost killed her. My wife now has to carry an epee pen so if she gets stung she can jab herself with this pen while we wait for emergency services.

That reminds me, she visited the local EMT and they have now put her in their computer so when we dial 911 it goes right to their phone and they are dispatched immediately to our home.