Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Apis Me Petit

Until this weekend, I had never been stung by a bee. On Sunday I was stung by a yellow jacket while hiking along the Snake River. Last night a bee dove inside my shirt and stung me three times while I was biking through town. Hives started to crawl along my forehead, around my back, up my arms and into my armpits. It felt like five hundred hornets and twice as many ants were having a family reunion on my skin and weren’t too happy I’d showed up.
My roommates told me to take a warm oatmeal bath and gave me Benadryl. While soaking in the mushy water, I called my mom. As we were talking, I started wheezing and coughing. Because I’ve had asthma for so long, I’m used to having a difficult time breathing. It doesn’t scare me anymore. But my eyes were swelling and my ears were hot and my whole body was red as a clown’s lips. Mom told me to go to the Emergency Room immediately.
Bobbi and Emma (two of my lovely roommates) and I piled in Bobbi’s ancient car, which smoked and shuddered us down the hill to the hospital. In Orlando, people are spilling out of the ER. You have to wait for hours as smashed skulls are sewn up and tree branches pulled out of stomachs and dangling bones set until it’s finally your turn to get fixed. At the Moscow hospital, however, there wasn’t a single person in the ER waiting room but the receptionist, who immediately led me into a room.
A nurse hooked me up to a pulse and blood pressure monitor, and handed me a nebulizer tube. After years with my dear Mr. Neb, this all felt very routine. Then she went for my elbow pit with a giant needle; I quickly told her that the veins in my arms are too small for needles. So, the thick needle went in my hand and I could feel the cold medicine shooting up my arm.

Doctors and nurses kept popping in and out of the room to check on me. It must really have been a slow night. But once I was finished being hooked up on the IV, we had the room to ourselves.  As I sat there in the hospital bed, feeling my veins carry the medicine through my body and getting loopier and loopier, I talked and laughed with Bobbi and Emma. In Latin. It was then I realized just how much of a nerd I am. I kept talking in Latin. After experiencing a severe allergic reaction and being taking to the emergency room, I was speaking Latin. And asking Emma to read her Lingua Latina chapter out loud to me. And telling her the story before she could read it. Gotta love Latin.
Hours later, I feel fine, albeit a little shaky.
And beware: I now carry an Epinephrine pen.

Friday, August 5, 2011


As Gary snapped pink gloves onto his hands, I tried to find pictures in the blur of tattoo ink all over his arms and legs. His ear lobes, empty of their gauges, hung floppy against his cheeks. Jessie, Julia and I joked around with Gary as he cleaned my nose and prepared the needle; all of us had been there before, for other piercings. Finally everything was ready. He stuck a metal tube up my nose and I squeezed my eyes shut as he pulled a thick, hollow needle through my nostril. The needle hung there for a minute, stretching. Then he pushed a hoop ring in and pulled the needle out.

After three years of begging my parents to let me pierce my nose, I finally got it done! Even though my mom gave her permission, she is not happy about it. She thinks I look like a bull. But that was actually why I wanted a hoop: it’s symbolic. A bull’s nose is pierced so that it can be controlled by its master. I pierced my own nose as a sign that I want to be controlled by my master, the Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the first things that made me want a nose ring were these Bible verses:

"And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver…And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord GOD." (Ezekiel 16:12, 14)

"Then I asked her, 'Whose daughter are you?' She said, 'The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.' So I put the ring on her nose and the bracelets on her arms. Then I bowed my head and worshiped the LORD and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son." (Genesis 24:47-48)

The first verses are from a passage in Ezekiel that is an analogy of God’s unwavering love and faithfulness to Israel, even when they are whoring after other gods. The second passage is from the story of Isaac and Rebekah, when Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for Isaac. In both of these passages, the nose ring seems to signify a sense of ownership, but loving ownership.

My Savior shed his blood to make me his own. I am his, just like Israel was God’s, just like Rebekah was Isaac’s, just like a bull is his master’s. I am Christ’s slave, and the silver ring in my nose is a symbol that I serve him willingly, with all the love I have.