Bees and other stings

Yesterday, I read on my office building’s  elevator computer screen that someone had smuggled bees onto an airplane. The bees escaped and stung several people before brave airline personnel managed to capture and/or kill them.

I got nervous.   After all, I was in an enclosed elevator, and people around me were carrying stuff.

“Whoa!” You say, “Your elevator has a computer screen?!”

Yes, but I can’t check my stats there.  So don’t hate me.

But the news that someone had gotten bees onboard an airplane made me look around at the folks riding up with me in the elevator with greater concern.  That man over there with the regular-sized briefcase looked “bee-free,” but what about the guy with the big square briefcase?  He could have a whole hive squirreled away in there and I wouldn’t know.

The third and last person on the elevator with me had a bag that was big enough for a bunch of bees, but I was pretty sure that it was tuna.  I don’t know if I could identify what bees smell like, but I do know tuna.

I was relieved when I got off on the 14th floor without being stung.  Relieved that I didn’t suffer from somebody else’s, ummmm, mistake.  That isn’t always the case, you know.

In addition to feeling relieved, though, I also felt stressed, and overloaded by information that I didn’t necessarily need.   Like how many times things go wrong when you least expect it.  And how frequently people don’t say anything about it.  Well, until they sue, that is.

It was later on in the afternoon that I realized that the internet is, in fact, making me crazy.  Paranoid.  Thoughtful in ways I don’t like being thoughtful.  Because I was sitting in a hospital waiting room reading an online New York Times article:

Report Finds Most Errors at Hospitals Go Unreported

Oh dear.   Now I was just there for a blood test, not brain surgery (although I DID consider a lobotomy after watching the GOP candidates preening for New Hampshire on the TV in the waiting room).  So you don’t need to worry about me.

I’m not so sure about you, though.  I mean I’m not so sure that I don’t have to worry about YOU.

Full disclosure clause:




And I have not jumped rope to that chant in decades.   AND I am way more politically correct now than when I did.  So don’t even go there.

I AM a patient, though.  More often than I’d like.  Consider me an expert patient, in fact.  Assume  it is has happened to me.  Consider also the fact that I am married to a lawyer.

So I have some advice.  Free.  No charge.

In any medical-type situation, if something doesn’t seem right,


Say it politely.  Say it clearly.  Keep saying it until someone looks you in the eye and answers your question, stops what they are doing and makes you comfortable that either:  they will stop, or there really is no problem and you can now relax and let them continue doing their work correctly.  Just remember that they are people too.

When your health or that of someone you love is the issue


Pay attention

Ask questions

Speak up

Do your homework

Write down questions

Keep an updated list of your medications with you

And, if you frequent planes and elevators, keep something in your wallet that says whether or not you are allergic to bee stings.


Filed under Family, Humor, Science, Stupidity, Technology

41 responses to “Bees and other stings

  1. Excellent advice about doing what you can to take care of yourself when you are under medical care. There are many people in the health care profession who are competent and compassionate professionals, and then there are some who don’t belong in the health care profession. There are also some good people who are just overworked and overtired who make mistakes… If you think there’s something wrong, speak up and speak out!


    • Thanks, Chris. I have spent way too much time with doctors! Fortunately in recent years it’s been working with them, rather than having them work on me.


  2. Personally, I think the real danger is from “Stupid People on Airplanes” rather than bees OR snakes. Stupid people cause way more problems. I am allergic to them. Sadly I have never managed to build up an immunity.

    As to being PC, well, I do try to only be offensive in the manner I intend to offend. Not the extras. Gotta save some material :).


  3. Hilarious! You preyed upon my very weakness which is an insane phobia about bees on an airplane (wasn’t there a movie called Snakes on an Airplane?). I laughed out loud when you wrote that you’re more politically correct now and not to “go there” 🙂


  4. Probably depends on whether you’re allergic to bees or not!


  5. That Snakes on a Plane movie really sucked. I wonder if Bees on a Plane would have been any better.


  6. Wow, Elyse, you can make me laugh right out loud! I rarely watch or listen to the news anymore. I think they try to find the most bizarre events and report them as if most of the world is doing whatever, when really, it’s one out of 7,000,000,000 people!


    • Thanks. I have a love-hate relationship with stories like these. They crack me up, but make me paranoid. What are some people thinking! Thanks for stopping by!


  7. Thanks Darla. I’m wishing I was the only one who needs to know to speak up, but alas, there are lots of us around.


  8. You always make me laugh! I love the line about the lobotomy…
    and “I don’t know if I could identify what bees smell like, but I do know tuna.”

    yes, the internet, not a good place to visit if you want to remain paranoid-free in life! And great advice about speaking up when it really matters if you or someone you love is ill. Been there many times before.


  9. Thanks Arindam! I hope can always avoid those bees!


  10. This one is funny post with the reality. You always captures instances from real life so beautifully. Bees in elevator, life can’t be worst than that. 🙂


  11. cooper

    so i’m not going to mention that i walked into a hospital recently that had a rather elegant player piano in the lobby that was playing Chopin’s funeral march. how nice. knuckleheads. thanx for coming ’round my blog. emjay is good people.


  12. The pressure is on, apparently.


  13. I’m looking forward to your birthday post than being on a phone or an elevator with bees – yep, they freak me out a bit.


  14. Well, I WAS confused. Reading a Phillipa Gregory historical novel, I couldn’t figure out where Bess came in to my post!

    I have some stories about psychiatrists — they are all nuts, as my Swiss doctor proclaimed (that said, to the Swiss, anyone who laughs aloud is a bit nuts). I will have to think of how to tell them! Thanks for the opening!

    Feel better. Glad you’re back among the computers!


  15. Hahha typing too fast, meant BEES among us…


  16. Bess among us, good way to sum it all up before we get … well, stung. If we are lucky. Agree on psychiatrists wholeheartedly, once saw one and that was it for me. He had a timer on for 10 minutes, tried prescribing mega drugs when we had only just met and announced that working through the issues I brought to the table would take years and he did not have that kind of time. Block/delete psychiatrists and psychiatry for me since then. Besides, I still don’t believe my mom would have attempted suicide when I was 13 and found her, if she hadn’t been seeing a psychiatrist who just doped her up right out of her own mind. My belief to this day and not changing my mind any time soon. Sorry for blogging on your blog. Coincidentally, I just had a flu shot and have not been well since. I would not have done it but I got H1N1 and was sick 12 weeks after so trying to be cautious. Ah, what is caution in a world of unknowns. Thanks for the read, off to do some more now that I have computer, will surf LOL


  17. I had a family member who was very ill .. in the bowels of a drug induced mental breakdown. Working to understand the situation, because I was going to be helping care for him after his release, I diligently took notes at the discharge appt. The staff Psychiatrist didn’t like my note taking, as he rattled off details … and told me I was probably OCD.

    I looked at him like he had 3 heads and told him I probably was and it was going to be my notes that helped this kid survive so he could go ahead and pour himself a tall glass of “shut the h_ _ _ up.”

    Pompous idiot.

    The family member? doing great now …

    Important post; you will help many with your words of wisdom here.



    • Shrinks are the worst. The WORST. They need a shrink. When I lived in Switzerland and needed help after losing my sister, I went to my doctor saying I wanted to get counseling. He said “A psychiatrist? But they’re all crazy!”

      He was right. Glad you took notes. Glad the family member is fine now, too. Good for you and him.


  18. Very good point on making sure you get the information you need from the medical staff. My mom, bless her heart, had a stroke, and couldn’t talk at the time. She kept saying she needed her xanax, but no one understood until the next day. She had panic attacks waiting for them to figure it out!


    • Oh dear, that is tough. It is so hard when it is a close family member and you can’t help them communicate. My mother-in-law had a stroke a few years ago (when I backed the car into the garage wall, actually) and it was horrible trying to get the attention she needed and understand what she needed AND reassuring her that she’d be ok.

      Your poor Mom. You should have a list of her meds and her conditions. Strokes have a nasty habit of coming back :(.


  19. Wonderful advice and words of wisdom. Too much information is not always the best thing, it is?


  20. Thanks for the new phobia about bees on elevators. Taking the stairs will be good for me. Very funny post and very good advice.


    • Taking the stairs in my building is a great idea — especially if you don’t want to actually get to work. Because all of the doors are locked. Then again, if I took the stairs I might just be as slim as you look in that photo!


  21. I can’t help but ask – why did the bees need to take a plane? Can’t they fly all by themselves? Sorry – couldn’t resist.


    • Good question. Could it have been a whole group of queen bees?

      I don’t think that bees travel all that far (at least not under their own power) but I have seen groups of monarch butterflies head out for sea. They do migrate long distances which is pretty amazing. Down to Mexico. Here’s a map of sightings: So cool.


      • Just last night my brother’s sister-in-law shared with us a photo of a monarch chrysalis. On January 1 she had taken a picture of the caterpillar and by yesterday, January 7, you could see the wing markings through the chrysalis it had spun! She is so afraid some creature may disturb or dispatch of it. She’s calling the butterfly museum today to see what she can do to be sure it reaches the end of this beautiful cycle.
        You give us much to think about in your post today.


  22. You managed to get a very important message across in a very funny way. Not to mention that I’ll never look at a piece of carry-on luggage the same way again.


    • Sorry. I have that effect on people — making them worry about stuff that they never did before. I’m not sure that’s a skill I’ll put on my resume, though.


  23. JSD

    Perfect, perfect, perfect! Everything you’re saying here is so important. And, if you can, have a friend or relative as an advocate. They may pick up on something that goes right over your head.


    • Ooh, you’re right. I forgot that one. Even if you are a person who normally understands what doctors are talking about, when you’re sick, you just don’t focus. So absolutely — bring someone along. A bitch is probably your best bet.


  24. Hi,
    It never ceases to amaze me what some people will do next, bees on a plane that somehow got loose, that is just unreal, you can only imagine the chaos that would of caused, especially for someone like myself, I’m allergic to bee stings. 😀


    • I’ve always thought that folks who get all upset when they see a bee were a bit crazy (albeit not as crazy as the guy who smuggled them on board). Except those with allergies. If I could die because of a bug, well, I would probably not like them very much either!

      Keep your epi-pen close by on airplanes and elevators. That’s my advice!


  25. RVingGirl

    Excellent post! Wow! Bees on a plane. There are a lot of crazies out there!
    Someone once smuggled a snake into Bermuda…..a boa constrictor. Yikes! Thankfully they caught him.
    By the way, I recall that your birthday is in January so whenever it is or was….Happy Birthday Elyse!


    • This particular crazy was actually in Russia. It struck me as one of those “how can anyone do such a stupid thing.” Glad they got the snake, though. Is it boas that are causing havoc in the everglades??? I can’t remember.

      And my birthday isn’t quite yet, but yes, it’s coming up. I will post to celebrate! But thanks in advance!


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