Saturday, February 05, 2005

Stop and Smell the Silk Roses

Pictured is the protective apparel Joe Tornatore wore to stay alive after successive bee sting attacks nearly killed him. Joe suffers from a rare skin disease, Mastocytosis, which effects only one in a half million people. Insect venom is one trigger for the unusual disease. In 2001, Joe nearly died from two ordinary bee stings before learning the medical frailty of his skin disease. Believe it or Not, Joe was stung twice in the same location four weeks apart. His wife is credited with saving his life after the second bee attack. While driving with Joe dying in their minivan, Diane miraculously came upon a car wreck with an ambulance on the scene. Diane disregarded the police detour and drove to the accident scene. Rescue workers transported Joe ahead of the intended accident victim to the closest hospital, where life-saving measures were taken and he was placed on life support. Once he fully recovered from the second attack, Joe wore a beekeeper’s suit outdoors as a justifiable precaution against insects until he successfully finished a complex immunotherapy program at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital.
Stop and Smell the Silk Roses is his humorous autobiography about his many cases of mistaken identity navigating the community like a Boy in the Plastic Bubble during the post September 11, 2001 era. He has been mistaken for everyone from an astronaut, World Trade Center worker, butcher, fireman, dogcatcher, to terrorist. His odd journey has been featured on two television shows, in newspapers, in a comic strip, and as an exhibit in The Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum in Atlantic City, New Jersey plans on re-creating Joe’s likeness for a life-size display. Read his memoirs and share his unique sense of humor.


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