Monday, July 11, 2011

Pokes and Jabs and Stings and Tatoos (or "Musings on Mosquitoes")

Pokes and Jabs:

Boyfriend stepped on a nail two days before we left to go backpacking.

It wasn't deep, and it wasn't messing up his walking, but was worried he would get lockjaw or something.  I had just written about how my booster shot was totally overdue, so the night before we left, we headed over to Walgreens so we could get immunized.

I glanced at the factoid sheet about the shot while the nurse practitioner chatted. She upsold us on the idea that we should get the pertussis vaccination at the same time. It's something "they" added to the booster shots several years ago, and "they" want you do do it once as an adult.**

Boyfriend was a little worried about the addition to a tried and true booster shot, but relented when I said I would get the pertussis one with the others under the "might as well" flag.  Who knew how long it would be before I decided to do this again?

Boyfriend went first, and it was a done deal remarkably fast. While the nurse alcohol swabbed my arm, he started really reading the factoid sheet.  I had seen the information about the possible moderate and severe side effects, but hadn't bothered reading carefully.

"One in four adults who receive this shot will experience sleepiness," he read.

The nurse stuck a needle in me and I fought to not cry like a little baby.  I was startled by how much it hurt, but tried to be a grown up.  "Huh," I said.

"One in five will get nausea."

"We're going backpacking tomorrow," I said to the nurse, "If we get one of these side effects, it would be before we left, right?" 

"You'll be fine," she said.  Thank you for not answering my question, lady.

I looked at the fact sheet while she Band Aid-ed my arm.  Nausea.  Diarrhea.  Also, my arm felt like someone punched me really hard.


Just what I wanted on a backpacking trip.

Luckily, we were living in the lap of luxury, and this toilet was only about a 40 minute walk away, uphill and through snow.  It even has three walls!  THREE!

Stings and Tattoos:

I started feeling a little sick on the second day of our trip.  I didn't know if it was something I ate, allergies, elevation, dehydration, or what, but I was a bit woozy.  It occurred to me that I was feeling some side effects from the shot because I was also super-duper tired.

It was also possible that I was about to die of hypochondria.

I decided to take a little nap under a tree near the tent, sort of in our "dining area", hoping that some rest would make me feel better.

I dozed for a few minutes, but woke up again when the sun went behind a cloud and the temperature dropped a few degrees.

Boyfriend came over to check up on me, and in the middle of a sentence, reached out to brush a mosquito off my forehead.  It exploded with my blood.  That little asshole was EATING ME.

Mosquitoes love me for some reason.  It's like they take a sip and they're all, "Hey bitch, you taste good.  Gimme some more of that shit!"

Either I'm just hot (temperature wise) or there is so much sugar in my blood that they just CAN'T FRICKIN' RESIST me.  Serious.  Medical science will figure it out one day.

I had been bitten several times that day even with the Skintastic with DEET I'd been spraying on myself, but I am use to it so it was almost tolerable.

Frustrated, cranky, and still tired, and now bit on the forehead, I decided to go lay down in the tent for a bit.  The bite was aching, though, so I decided to see how bad the mosquito bite really was, and took a self portrait.

Am I sexy now?

Yeah, I should never have looked.

I curled up into a little ball among the sleeping bags and passed out for about an hour.

When I got up again, I decided to pull out the big guns.

100 percent DEET.


It occurred to me that maybe all the DEET was what was making me sick.  That shit is CRAZY.  If I forget to double bag it in my pack, it will EAT THROUGH THE MATERIAL.  For reals.  There is a three page warning on the back of this bottle starting with the following statement:

"It is against federal regulation to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling"

Seriously?  What will it do?  If I drink it will I develop some kind of mosquito repellent superpower and finally be able to join the Justice League?  These guys need to be more specific.

This stuff did seem to work.  Either that, or the fumes made me so high that I didn't notice anymore.  Either way, WIN!

That night I had a dream that I joined a secret society and this lady tattooed my forehead in her kitchen.  It was a ridiculous looking six-shooter and some bullets that had wings.

Thanks, brain, I needed that.

**I have no idea who "they" are, but the nurse practitioner kept talking about "them" and "they" and I was a little afraid of asking.


Julia said...

Jungle Juice...that could be a name for a porno...

Are you feeling better now? Damn Nurse's...they never take the "warnings" seriously.

You make camping seem ....soooooo.... exhilerating!! hahaha...I am going north for camping the first week of August.

Anonymous said...

(This is hoodyhoo, can't get the damn comments to work today...)
Once again, "outside" = BAD. Also, never read the side effect warnings on anything -- we're all hypochondriacs, this will not end well.

Angie said...

I'm all for hiking, but that toilet scares the hell out of me. I am also a little bit afraid of putting jungle juice all over my body. What if Deet is secretly Yeti urine? Keep that camera close by!

Leauxra said...

Julia: Hah! Believe it or not, I actually enjoy camping quite a bit. So much fodder for blogging, too!

hoodyhoo: I think you're right. NO MORE WARNING LABELS. Got it.

Angie: That toilet IS scary, but the other option is to dig a hole next to a tree. Yeah. Sexy.

LeeAnn said...

Sleepiness and diarrhea are two things you should never combine.
I love the ad I see on TV from time to time for some medication so older guys won't have to pee all the time. Two side effects mentioned side by side are "decrease in semen" and "runny nose."

Leauxra said...

LeeAnn: Sleepiness + diarrhea + 6 miles from the car and farther from the nearest running water = BIG FEAR. OK, there was running water. But it was snowmelt, and raging in the nearby creek. They would never find the body.

Yeah, I like it when the side effects are worse than the original symptoms. Like when it says, "Danger of death" and people are like, *shrug* "At LEAST my NOSE stopped dripping, that was driving me CRAZY."

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

Caprice said...

Damn. That mosquito bite. I'm itching my forehead now! Love that toilet, though!

PudMonkey said...

When we first moved to Alaska, we were house-sitting for my parents' then-neighbor who, when she showed us around her house, neglected to mention that it DOES NOT HAVE AN INDOOR TOILET. We moved up here at the end of December.

So, of course, it was the middle of the night, and nature called. I tried to tell it to call back later, but to no avail. I put on my boots and bundled up and headed down the path to the outhouse with the trusty flashlight (December in Alaska is dark). I kept expecting to find the outhouse, but the path just kept going. Eventually, I was pretty convinced that I had made it onto the Iditarod Trail and was headed to Nome (the house was right off the trail). Finally, though, I saw something vaguely outhouse-shaped in the distance. It had three walls and a 50-pound bag of air-freshner!!!

Anonymous said...

Jungle juice? I thought that was the stuff I drank in college.

That remind me...I'm due for a tetanus shot...Ouch!

Leauxra said...

Caprice: What's funny is that it hurt more than it itched. And the photo does not do it justice. It was HUGE.

PudMonkey: That. Is. Awesome. Sorry, I am trying not to laugh, but DAMN.

thoughtsappear: The effect is pretty much the same as that grain-alcohol-and-koolaid stuff, just less fruity. And you don't drink it, you smear it on your skin (it isn't really a liquid). At least, that's according to the "federal regulations". But it still gets you punch drunk off the fumes. And if you haven't already done it, they'll want you to upgrade your booster to include the whooping cough one. Weird.