Accio Jacksons!

An 11-inch holly blog with a phoenix feather core

Night, night! Donʼt let the OUCH!

by Rebecca on 2008-09-16

At the end of July, I noticed that I was breaking out in a rash on my arms and back, with a few other isolated breakouts on my legs and feet. They were red and very, very itchy. At first, I thought they looked like bug bites and wondered if we had fleas or some other bug in our apartment. But William had no such red spots, which led us to rule out the bugs as the cause of my rash.

I started going through other possibilities, thinking that I was having an allergic reaction to a new allergen in my environment. The only problem was that nothing had changed! Lotion, no. Perfume, no. Laundry detergent, no. Shower cream, no. Shampoo, no. Dryer sheets, no. Then I started thinking about foods that might have triggered it, and the only thing that had altered is that Iʼd switched to 1% milk from skim for about a week. And I dearly, dearly hoped that it wasnʼt the sign of a milk allergy, since that would pretty much suck all of the joy out of my dairy-rich diet. But I even went off of milk for a week to see if that helped, and it was awful. I needed my milk.

I went to a doctor, and she had nothing to add, except that she confirmed that I didnʼt have hives. She prescribed a steroid cream that I was to apply “sparingly, as needed” three times a day. Whatever! I put on the cream whenever my arms itched, which was often. So, so itchy! And we still had no idea what was causing this. This went on for about a month. I even made an appointment to see an allergist.

Then one morning, William woke up with a brilliant stroke of genius. I think he was truly inspired, because he doesnʼt usually think that easily in the morning. Anyway, he started thinking about the tiny dark spots weʼd found on our sheets and couldnʼt explain, and did a little research online. Hereʼs what he found.

Bed bugs! It all made sense! We took our bed apart and found a small colony of them in our box spring. We moved our mattress into the front room, since it didnʼt look like it had any bugs in it, and quarantined our box spring in our bedroom until the special $90 zippered cover that we ordered arrived. We also ordered a mattress cover, just in case any bugs decided to try to come back. Our mattress is only 10 months old, so I really didnʼt want to chuck it. So, we have been sleeping in our living room, like this.

William sleeping in the living room

But yesterday, our mattress cover arrived, so we will be moving back into our bedroom. Hooray!

How on earth did we get bed bugs? I mean, itʼs not like we are untidy people who havenʼt caught up to modern hygiene practices. We have two ideas. Our apartment manager thinks they came from the nice people who live upstairs. However, I also couldʼve picked them up from either of the ghetto hotels where I stayed for business trips in June and July. Who knows?

And one other question: how come they only bit me, and not William? I mean, Iʼm glad they didnʼt bite him because it simply would not have done to have both of us scratching like mad, but the bugs were even on his side of the bed! They must have walked all the way around him and headed straight for me. I donʼt know if I should be flattered or slightly appalled.

So, now, if someone says, “Donʼt let the bed bugs bite,” I might just have to say, “Too late” and smile knowingly.