Sept. 23, 2009
As my teammates Kristina and Lacey have stated in their previous entries, cross country is definitely a sport of self-discovery. We discover how hard we are willing to push ourselves, how much pain we're willing to endure and most importantly, what insects trigger mass allergic reactions. Last year I was the unfortunate victim of a full-fledged fire ant attack. Being a native of Chicago, I was not aware of the havoc these nasty little bugs could cause. My ankle swelled to the size of a grapefruit, making it difficult to put my running shoes on. I was confined to the elliptical for the next two days.
Until this last week I was convinced that no one could trump my fire ant story; however, Colleen Standridge, a fellow Chicago native and roommate, felt the need to one up me once again. After completing a 90-minute long run at Oak Mountain State Park, my teammates and I were talking and stretching when Colleen noticed some small bites clustered around her ankles. We thought nothing of it assuming she merely encountered a few harmless bugs while she was running. Little did we know we would soon be making a visit to the E.R.
Ten minutes into the car ride home, Colleen started frantically itching her back, ankles, stomach and scalp. We all thought she was overacting, assuring her she was only having a minor allergic reaction, but then her face began to swell. I suddenly had flashbacks of Will Smith's swollen face from the movie Hitch after his allergic reaction.
Kristina Vaughn and I dropped Colleen off at the training room and ran to CVS to purchase calamine lotion to ease the itching. When we returned, no less than eight minutes later, Colleen had taken a turn for the worst. She was hysterically pacing in the lobby of the training room covered from head to toe in hives. It looked as if she had come across a new skin disease that could have been the cousin of chicken pox, acne or third degree burns. Melissa, our trainer, promptly arrived and immediately began covering Colleen's body with wet towels to ease the burning itch. We soon realized an emergency room visit would be necessary. Kristina and I carried Colleen to the car because her feet had swollen so severely it hurt to walk. Being the faithful teammates that we are, the two of us loyally waited for Colleen while she received a quick antihistamine shot in the buns. A few hours later Colleen's reaction had subsided and her once swollen limbs had deflated.
If this sounds completely outlandish, don't worry; we have the pictures to prove it.