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Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
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is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 08.31.05

JIM AUSTIN

If it can go wrong, it will -- just wait a while…

Think you had a bad week? Did your car break down or did an important e-mail come back undeliverable? Well that ain't nothin'.

Last Monday I went to the quack and found out that I had a basal cell cancer on my noggin'. Nothing to worry about, really -- just too much sun without a chapeau is all. The doc took his cleaver and it was history except for a throbbing skull and big ugly bandage.

Next morning I took my throbbing head into the dentist to get two crowns cut off and the previously interred stumps drilled and filled. Two and a half hours of sawing and drilling later I lurched out of the office with a jaw that felt like I had gone six rounds with Tex Cobb.

I took Wednesday off from invasive and painful medical procedures. The throbbing subsided just in time to re-enter the dentist's chambers on Thursday morning and have the same procedure done on the upper jaw. I staggered out into the daylight having finished the remaining six rounds with Tex. He won on points.

Thank God it was Friday and time for a little golf and recovery time.

What could go wrong? I suppose there was always a chance of getting conked by a wayward Titelist or Maxfli but that's pretty remote and besides, I had the requisite chapeau in place to ward off further head cancer. Who'd have thunk I would get attacked by yellow jackets while searching for the wayward drive of my playing partner.

The irony would have been less had it been me in the glade but I had driven a beauty down the middle. Normally I would have shaken off the two stings as I had countless times before but this was not a normal week. I took my second shot, a graceful 9-iron that landed twelve feet to the right of the pin. Hello birdie putt.

And hello adverse reaction.

While I waited for Joe to hack his way onto the green I began to feel really strange. My head got numb and I perceived a black halo start to take over my peripheral vision. This couldn't be from the stings could it?

I walked to my ball and putted. About the same time I felt some labored breathing and itching all over. Time to hit the trail. I carted back to my car and broke all the traffic laws on the books including DUIBV (driving under the influence of bee venom). Had I been thinking clearly I would have called 911 and waited for an ambulance but with all my vitals shutting down I wasn't making good decisions.

I hit the emergency in Brattleboro, Vermont, with no further injury and was rushed onto an examining table. I had hives from head to toe and breathing was labored as my throat swelled to soda straw dimensions.

The nurse tried to comfort me by saying "Don't worry, you are in the right place."

Her eyes said, "Uh oh, Bee-Boy is in big trouble."

It was then that Sue and Bev went to work on me. I was punctured repeatedly and hooked up to an IV bag full of secret sauce in about 35 seconds. The doc came in and looked over the situation, nodded approvingly, and suggested another few kilograms of ephedra or something like that.

These two lovely ladies saved my bacon. Thanks again, Bev and Sue, and thanks to some guy running around in his PJs. I didn't catch his name but I believe he jabbed me with something.

One hour later I was normal and the doc told me I could have easily been worm food had I not sought attention. He recommended an epi-pen for self-administration if any varmints decide to feast on the old corpus again. (I bought one on the way home from the hospital).

There is nothing like a brush with death to make you realize what is really important in life. Yes you guessed it, I missed the birdie putt.

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