What I Did On My Summer Vacation (That Vacation Really Stings)


Shannon O'Donnell

Last week, the O’Donnell Family went on vacation. Well, we’re really not the O’Donnell family–that’s my maiden name that I still use professionally. But my husband just LOVES it when you call him Peter O’Donnell. Try it…!

Regardless, we hit the road with designs on making it to San Diego, visiting SeaWorld and seeing Pete’s cousin, who is a Shamu trainer (how cool is THAT?), do her thing. We didn’t make it even to Los Angeles, let alone San Diego. Our ‘eyes were bigger than our stomachs’–or something like that–in terms of how far you could reasonably travel with two tots in virtual STRAIGHT JACKETS in the backseat for hours on end. So we settled, happily I might add, for just the Central Coast, hanging out in San Luis Obispo, Cambria, and Santa Barbara for the week of the 4th of July.

But this was the vacation that almost wasn’t… several hours into this southbound experiment, I checked my cell phone (which had been on ‘silent’ so as to preserve peaceful progression due to napping children) and discovered not one but two urgent messages from my boss here at KNTV. He didn’t detail what the problem was, only stating that they needed some help here at work as there had been a little ‘incident.’ I phoned in to find that our Chief Meteorologist, John Farley, had been in the ER due to a bee sting. Apparently, the reaction wasn’t as bad as he had feared it would be, and he was able to make it into work after all. Phew! Vacation saved!

My husband queried, “how can you not know if you’re allergic to bees or not?” This coming from the guy who had been trimming our lavender bushes earlier in the week, bees stinging him left and right, his reaction not being more than the occasional cuss word and jump backward. This being the guy who, as a child, captured bees, put them in the freezer for a bit so as to ‘subdue’ them, tied strings around their necks (do bees have necks?), and let them thaw out and fly around on leashes as little ‘bee-pets.’ Obviously, Peter the Beekeeper does not possess the average fear of stinging insects that most of the populace does.

Being QUITE afraid of bees myself, I backed up John’s (perhaps) over-reaction. I, too, had suffered a lot of swelling from my last bee-sting at the age of 17. Having a terribly bruised and welled-up leg for about a week afterward, I told smug-Peter that I was also afraid of what would happen to me if I was ever stung again, as allergic reactions tend to get worse with each incidence. Would I go into shock, unable to breathe and right beside Farley in the ER?

It didn’t take me long to find out. With two car seat-strapless children happily unleashed at the beachside-park in Santa Barbara, our vacation was going along quite well when BZZZZZZ! I was zapped! My little 10-month-old was crawling in the grass below me, and I think he must have disturbed a bumble-bee, because it madly shot up at me, burrowed it’s little backside into my elbow, and let me have it. Better me than my baby, at least! But boy, did that hurt. That’s what we get for making fun of Farley (but hey, shouldn’t the bee have stung Pete, not me? Wrong half of the couple!)

I whimpered over to my husband, who quickly transformed from smug-Peter into ‘Dr. Pete’ (one of his best roles, in my opinion). He yanked the stinger out, and proceeded to ‘squeeze’ a bunch of venomy stuff out of the puncture would, claiming it would “get the poison out.” What? I hadn’t been struck by a rattlesnake! I protested that this was simply an excuse to abuse me, but I think he was right in his medical procedure because: voila! Within a few minutes, it barely hurt at all. In fact, I would say this particular bee sting was far less bothersome than the countless mosquito bites that seem to plague me summer after summer.

So the moral of this story? Karma’s a bee-aahhh-sting.

Shannon O’Donnell
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist


2 Responses to “What I Did On My Summer Vacation (That Vacation Really Stings)”

  1. Christine Says:

    Shannon, you are hilarious! This definately gave me a giggle, especially your husband ‘sedating’ bees part.

  2. Heidi Ayala Says:

    If you are stung by a bee, wasp, etc., allergic or not, tape a penny over the spot and leave it there for 15 minutes. The nickel in the penny will draw out the stinger!

    Heidi Ayala

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