July 2014
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On being responsible

No two days are alike. Sure, there are days that are similar in nature, office work, filing, FCC compliance, etc.  However, there is always something different, some new problem, person, fault, error, client, site or situation to deal with.  It helps to be well versed.

So, when the tower climbers started climbing a 1,000 foot (304 meter) tall tower to find a damaged section of transmission line, I thought; Just a routine day.

Even when they encountered a hornet’s nest at 50 feet (15 meters) AGL, still, fairly routine:

Tower climber applying bee spray to paper wasp nest

Tower climber applying bee spray to paper wasp nest

Tower climber A received a nasty bee sting to his left arm. He climbed part way down the tower and is in the lower part of the picture hugging the tower face. Tower climber B moved up and killed the nest with Wasp and Bee killer.  All is well and work resumes, right?  Except, no.  Tower climber A is apparently allergic to bees.  He states he is not feeling well and his arm begins to swell up.  He comes down the tower and I start looking for Benadryl.

Now, we have a problem.  This is a mountain top tower site, there is a long dirt road with a locked gate at the bottom of the hill.  There is almost no way an ambulance will be able to find its way up here.  The tower climber says the he has not been stung in many years.  I also notice his face is beginning to swell up.  Right, so lock the door, in the truck and get to the bottom of the hill as fast as possible.  It took about five minutes, but at the bottom of the hill, we were in a much better position if things got worse and an ambulance needed to be called.  Fortunately, his condition was the same, so we drove to an urgent care facility were he was treated.

Benadryl, something else to add to the go bag.

Always keep ahead of the situation.  Even if we drove to the bottom of the hill and his symptoms completely disappeared, it still would have been the right decision.

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5 comments to On being responsible

  • Chuck Gennaro

    Smart move, heading to the bottom of the hill. That allergic reaction can be life-threatening. Hopefully he’ll carry an epi pen from now on if it’s appropriate.
    I learned some years ago to always check around the eaves and such of unfamiliar buildings before entering or slamming the door.
    Lesson taught by 30-some wasp stings before I stopped counting and dove back into the truck. Of course back before cell phones, working alone and the nearest phone was back inside the building.

  • Wesley Horton

    As a critical care RN of 20 years, I have to agree with Chuck, diphenhydamine (Benadryl) is good, but in a serious reaction, you need epinepherine. Epi will reverse airway swelling and increase blood pressure rapidly, whereas benadryl is slower and primarily blocks histamines (which are only part of the allergic reaction). Simply put, if the person can’t breath, getting a capsule down their throat becomes problematic…
    Wesley H. RN K0WHH

  • Paul Thurst

    If an epi-pen had been available, I would have made sure that he got it. Unfortunately, that simply was not an option this time. The best plan I could come up with was to get him to a spot where an ambulance could respond, if needed. Fortunately he did not need an ambulance. I would hazard a guess that he will be carrying an epi-pen from now on…

  • Wesley Horton

    Without a doubt, under the circumstances, you did the right thing. Most importantly, you kept your head about you.

    Just curious, how did the tower guys deal with the “Stinging beasts?” I’ve been wondering about THAT since you posted!

    Kindest regards,

  • Kent Teffeteller


    Keep an Epipen in the tool bag. As I have wasp sting allergies and a bad latex allergy. And my crew know what to do if allergic attacks happen.

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