A velvet evening in rural La Mancha frolicking with a one-ton baby bull. What could go wrong? Three dozen of us from the Toledo program sat on a ranch patio drinking fruity red wine sangría. The main attraction was a Spanish capea; playing hide-and-go-seek with a bull no taller than our chests in a mini plaza de toros. When my turn came I spent the briefest of moments dashing out from the partition until the torito and his horns looked my way. Although I was 20, I believed in my mortality. Two others, un estadounidense (man from the US) and una mexicana (woman from Mexico), were far braver and vaulted the bull as if it were a stationary pommel horse. We cheered wildly and returned to the patio to enjoy more sangría.
Against the cardinal barroom rule, I went to finish my drink rather than asking for a new one. I chewed the fruit greedily, surprised when an orange crunched. A needle pierced the inside of my cheek. Pain radiated and my mind struggled to form the phrase, “Una abeja… No, una avispa me picó en la boca.” A bee… No, a wasp stung me in the mouth. As my left cheek swelled I told the program director my story. Moving swiftly to find treatment in my emergency, the directora sat me next to her in the back seat of a car, and her friend drove. This was the early 1990’s; the directora used portable phone technology I had never seen outside of Get Smart episodes. I began to ask her about it, but she emphatically told me to rest.
She found a closed pharmacy in a small town ten minutes away that we reached in five and called to ask them to treat my sting. Despite the late hour, the pharmacist came downstairs from his apartment above his work, looked in my mouth, asked me questions, and fetched a topical medication and an antihistamine tablet to reduce inflammation. For a week I looked like a chipmunk with nuts in just one cheek. Sometimes a tiny wasp is mightier than a raging bull.
Gracias for your support. Por favor, leave a comment to let me know you’ve stopped by. What was your most surprising health experience at home or abroad?
Olé! Fake Flamenco is six months old today! -Rebecca
Para leer este ensayo en español, haz un clic en La última vez que tomaba sangría.