Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'm a Juicer

I have an explanation why I smell like DEET in the middle of winter.

A long, long time ago... um.  Blah blah blah.  Doo do doooo...

What was I saying?  Oh.  Right.  DEET.  Smells like.

So I woke up one morning.  I didn't look in the mirror.  I did what I usually do, which is get on the internet for 45 minutes and then run around like a maniac and get ready for work in 15 minutes.

On THAT day, though, something else happened.

I turned on the shower, took off my shirt, and then caught my reflection in the mirror.

Ho.  Ly.  Shit.

I had some... some kind of RASH or something.  I was covered in nickel and quarter sized welts. They were thick, raised, and bright red.

I ran screaming into the bedroom.

"LOOK!" I said to my boyfriend.  He blearily stared at me, smiled.  "Huh?"  Right.  No shirt.

"I'm... covered in... THINGS," I said, waving my hands around in the dark.

"Wha-?" he said.

"I better go to the doctor or something."

He nodded.  "Good idea," he said.

I headed back to the bathroom and climbed into the shower.

I was going to die.  This was some biblical thing, wasn't it?  THIS is what boils looks like, right?  Shit.  I'm becoming a zombie.  The world is ENDING.

I went to work and ignored the things I was supposed to do, but made an appointment at the little Take Care Clinic at Walgreens.  It's easier than going to a real doctor, especially since I don't have a regular one.

The appointment was for 11AM.  I fidgeted.  I opened Excel spreadsheets.  I gnawed on my fingernails.

I wasn't itchy or anything, but it felt like I was slightly burned or something.  But I wasn't sure.  I tried not to look at WebMD, and spent the morning Googling rare skin conditions.

Finally, at 10:45, I left the building and drove to the clinic.

I walked right in to my appointment, being the only person who wasn't an old man picking up a prescription present.

"So," said the nurse practitioner, "You have some kind of skin... thing?"

There is no way to describe her other than that she was very "Boulder."  Anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest probably knows what I'm talking about here.  She was... I don't know... new-agy. Nothing she said, in particular, but I got the yoga-Whole-Foods-vegan-align-your-chakras vibe almost immediately (and yes, I realize the irony of that statement).

I nodded, and said, "I'll have to take off my shirt."

She nodded, so I undressed.  I pulled aside my bra a little so she could see the bigger welts.

"Huh," she said, "Something's been biting on you."

I opened my mouth, but no sound came out.  "But... but... " I said, "But it's winter!  It's cold outside, there's no such thing as snow spiders!"

She nodded.  "It has been pretty warm out."


She said, "Have you been anywhere that there are spiders?"

"Spi... sp... " I closed my mouth and swallowed a scream.  "But there are so many!" I said.

"It could be something else," she said.  "Fleas, maybe."

"There are fleas in Colorado?" I said.

She nodded.  "Or maybe... huh.  It could be bedbugs."

At this point I think I may have seen a flash of light, heard a thousand damned souls screaming, roar of flames, something.  I blanked out for a second, and she was still talking, "...been traveling?"

I swallowed.  My mouth was very, very dry.  "What?"

"Have you been traveling?"

"No," I said.  "I stayed home for the holidays.  Are you saying I have bedbugs?"

"It's just a possibility," she said.  "You should check your blankets and matresses.  Look for..." she kept talking, as if I were going to listen.  I stared down at my bare chest, at the huge welts.

"Are you sure they're bites?" I said, "I can't even see bite marks."

She stopped talking, oh, yeah, she was talking, snapped on some gloves and came over for a closer look.

She peered at a particularly large welt.  "Hmm," she said, "I have seen something like this before when..." Blah blah blah really weird fatal bacterial infection, "... or when... " mumble mumble something about YOU'RE GOING TO DIE!!!!! "...but it's probably bites of some kind.  It could be a spider.  Or," chuckle, "Spiders."

I am going to kill you.

She prescribed me some steroids to help my body deal with the swelling.  After that, it was up to me to burn down the house clean the house and kill the fucking CRITTERS THAT WERE EATING ME.


On a completely unrelated note, I started dieting and exercising as a New Year resolution.  Taking steroids has NOTHING to do with my current success.


PudMonkey said...

Oh, Leauxra. How I have missed your blog.

Yikes!!! OK, seriously, though, if you've got bedbugs, I retract my invitation for you to move to Alaska. I've heard they're a gigantic pain in the ass to get rid of. One thing I've heard that helps is putting the legs of your bed in vaseline. I guess that's supposed to stop the little critters from furniture hopping too much. And wrapping your mattress in plastic wrap, like they do at the store when they're new. That should also keep them from biting you. Good luck.

Leauxra said...

We don't think it's bedbugs. But looking through everything with a magnifying glass, we can't find ANYTHING (bedbugs leave signs). SO. That brings us back to... spiders. FUCKING SPIDERS.

MakingSpace said...

Good gracious!!!! And good luck!!!

Leauxra said...

Yes, sorry. I should have left a disclaimer and warning that this post may cause the heebie-jeebies.

Stephanie said...

Oh. God. This story is even more horrific when it's filled with details. Luckily, I already knew what to expect...but god. Good luck!

Hospitable Scots Bachelor said...

Very good blog.

Love said...

You're right L, bedbugs leave creepy signs that are pretty trademark, I started reading about them when I heard about the outbreak in Denver some months ago.

But spiders? They'd have to leave little pincer sized holes right? :-(

I still (perhaps stupidly) think it could be a reaction to soap, or sweat, or some contact dermatitis-y thing.

Anyway, true to my grandma's form, I'd get in the bathtub and take an oatmeal bath (rolled oats straight into the water) with some honey and olive oil squirted in for extra moisturizing.

Then, I'd spray your whole body with a natural antibacterial and antifungal, like some pure lavender oil in a spray bottle of water- shaken up. You can also use tea-tree or lemongrass, (but be careful with the tea-tree, it's INTENSE and strong).

Then, I'd take some benadryl (crazy stuff, but it's great for anti-itching and inflammatory reactions, and it's not as intensely emotional as the prednisone, which I assume you'll be done with after 5 to 10 days.

You can also get some anti-mite, anti-allergen, anti-bug spray (for beds, upholstry and carpets) at target. It comes in a white bottle with a blue label and it's GREAT. You spray it on and leave it for a couple hours, then vaccuum it off. It smells really strongly, but in a fresh sort of way, and after you vaccuum it up, it's just CLEAN smelling.

Since you've been dieting and exercising (mainly a raw diet) it could also be your body DETOXING gluten, or just toxins in general. When I was doing a cleanse, I got hives the second day and it was horrid, but my doc said it was a normal sign of detox!

Also, I've heard that people who started "healthier diets," by drinking green tea everyday have had reactions to it. What new foods have you been eating/drinking?

It could also be a reaction to a medication. If you're on anything you can google side affects, to see if that could be the culprit.

Calamine lotion is also REALLY good for any itchy, skin thing.

BIG BIG BIG HUGS and LOVE! I hope you feel better soon.


Misty said...

Wow. That is crazy. And now my arms are all itchy. Huh. Wonder why that is. :p

But on a side note . . . Yay for a new post!! I am so glad you are back. I love reading your craziness. Wait, that sounded bad. It was means to be a compliment, btw.

Yeah, try that oatmeal bath thing. I got an insane all over body rash when I was preggers, both times. My body is an asshole and was reacting negatively to whatever foolishness was going on in my body. Yeah, good times. If it's not itchy, though, maybe it is just a reaction to some foods or drinks you are injesting. Whatever it is, good luck!!

Sandra said...

...and you leave us hanging! UGH! As someone who makes her family stand out in the hallway of hotels while I frantically pull back bed linen and flip over mattresses to look for tell-tale signs of bed bugs, I need to know: what has been biting you???
PS: Congrats on your success with your resolution :)

wagthedad said...

Wait. Were they bedbugs? I got the shit eaten out of me in Florida last month, and then I kept scratching the bites, mainly when I was drunk, which was most of the time, and then my legs looked like the kind of rash you see in old pictures of syphilis patients. Yikes. Then my wife was all "I dunno...looks like a rash to me." I never get rashes. So I automatically assume that I have syphilis.

Then I had five or six more beers and stopped scratching and everything was cool.

Leauxra said...

Stephanie: I know, it's completely horrifying. Seriously. It isn't even a "white girl problem", as they say.

Love: Yes, I did the same thing. And yes, anti-allergen stuff because I am obviously allergic to whatever is eating me. I think it's down to some kind of bug (but not bedbugs) or a shit-ton of very small spiders. The food thing is less likely unless I am ACTUALLY allergic to vegetables, which is possible.

Misty: I AM NOT PREGNANT. Ahem. I think I just spend too much time in basements.

Sandra: Still haven't found any "signs", but I am not getting bit anymore. Seriously, where did this come from? I was only slightly joking when I said I was going to burn down the house.

And I started dieting and exercising like a maniac. Down 4lbs in January. Woo! Only... ah... 30 to go.

Wagthedad: No, not bedbugs. PROBABLY spiders.

I didn't think of syphilis. It could also be that you are allergic to the fabric softener they have at the hotel. Or you are allergic to Florida. Or it's fleas. Fleas live in grass down that-a-way. Try wearing DEET 24/7. It totally won't give you birth defects.

Leauxra said...

Hospitable Scots Bachelor: Thanks for saying so. I'll go check yours out soon!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to go with spiders as well. The bastards. They've started popping up at my house. Dammit, Mother Nature, send a blizzard to wipe 'em out!

Leauxra said...

Thoughtsy, the sad thing here is that it IS cold outside. I think the little bastards came in the house to get away from the cold.

Jen said...

Aaaaaaarrrrgh! I have m-a-j-o-r bedbug/flea/lice/random parasitic bug anxiety. ((shudder)) I feel the need to go home and boil my mattress now.

Leauxra said...

Jen, I am right there with you, if you add in "debillitating psychotic phobia of spiders". Shit.

The good news: I have stopped swelling up like a balloon, and the bites are all faded.

The bad news: Two new bites in the last week. WHAT ARE YOU!

alonewithcats said...

You better copyright "Snow Spiders," because that's definitely going to be the name of a horror film someday.

Preschool Math Games For Kids said...

nice posting:)

Anonymous said...

My official diagnosis is: cooties. Have you been on any playgrounds lately?

Leauxra said...

alonewithcats: Nice imagery, right? YOU'RE WELCOME.

Preschool Math Games For Kids: Thanks much!

hoodyhoo: Damn, I didn't even THINK about cooties. I DO hang out a lot with my boyfriend, and everyone knows that boys have cooties. On the plus side, nothing has bitten me in about 2 weeks. We never found what it was.

Bill Dameron said...

You are one brave lady. I would have moved....

Leauxra said...

Bill Dameron: Don't think it didn't occur to me. Hah.

Anonymous said...

Y'know, my dad was (and sometimes still is) on steroids as a result of the organ transplants he's had. As a result, he sometimes has a craving for Peanut Butter. Usually heaping tablespoon-fuls, that he eats like a lollipop.

Ain't prednisone fun?

karensomethingorother said...

That's HORRIFYING! I need closure though--what was the problem? Was it spiders?!? I'm going to take up biting my nails again after reading this.

Leauxra said...

karensomethingorother: No idea. It just stopped. I am convinced it was snow spiders...

Maybe we got the last of them the last time we boiled the sheets and burned the mattress in a bonfire.

We're pretty sure it was spiders, although apparently, we also have an ant problem. In the middle of winter.

beebee said...

Heehee, I am happy for you for making such a great New Year resolution... it reminded me of a post I wrote about similar New Year resolutions that fail miserably. I hope yours didn't!!

And ugh... if I found out spiders were eating me in my sleep I'd probably freak. Although I have a much deeper fear of moths... and we've got TONS of those in Colorado!

Leauxra said...

beebee: Resolution? What's that? Ha ha.

And yes. I almost burned down the house to get rid of the spiders, but they mysteriously stopped bothering me. Now I am suspicious...