Summer Scorcher

Another weekend with triple-digit temperatures found us camping at Loyd Park, where we enjoyed a shaded site and mild mornings with cool breezes off Joe Pool Lake. Most folks have the good sense to head toward cooler climates at this time of year, but our jobs keep us tethered to the immediate Dallas-Fort Worth area, meaning we have to mitigate the scorch of summer as best we can.

In an acknowledgement of Cliff’s hard work during a staffing shortage, his supervisor gave him Friday afternoon off, so Jon took some vacation hours and we headed to the lake in the early afternoon. By late afternoon, we had everything set up and enjoyed our first sangria of the weekend. A “proper” cocktail hour and Date Night dinner soon followed.

While Jon was keeping company with Cliff at the grill, an ant bit his toe. That may not sound like a big deal, especially considering an ant is so tiny. But Jon is allergic to ant bites, and usually experiences symptoms that stop just short of anaphylaxis. Within minutes, he felt pain, swelling and redness that radiated across his entire foot. He soon developed an itchy lump at the sting site, followed by a small blister. Cliff monitored him throughout the weekend to make sure his symptoms didn’t worsen, but the bite definitely had an impact on weekend routines.

For example, Saturday morning’s reading The New York Times and drinking of Bloody Mary’s was accented by Jon having to elevate his foot to minimize swelling. Our post-brunch nap and pre-dinner walk were punctuated by applications of anti-itch cream. Our post-dinner viewing of “Best in Show” necessitated additional foot elevation. You get the idea. The aftermath of that single ant bite extended from Friday evening well into Sunday afternoon.

It seems odd that adults develop more severe allergic reactions as they age. Our immune system is supposed to build resistance to repeated assaults, right? Unfortunately, like most things in life, the immune system starts to decline over time. Next time Jon is bitten by an ant, he may well have a more severe reaction. After all, people who have experienced an allergic reaction to an insect sting have a 60 percent chance of a similar or worse reaction if stung again. And so it goes.

Next time we’ll be better prepared, with ice packs and antihistamines. And from this point forward, Jon won’t wear sandals when we camp. At least that way he won’t get scorched by an ant.

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