Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How you know it's bad.


When the doctor says the words "mites or scabies" and you think, "Thank God he's not saying 'bedbugs,'" even though you're still sure that those now-huge, inflamed bites on your arms were, in fact, made by the Welsh bedbugs you're now sure you've carried back into your own dwelling by means of your suitcase, or your sweaters, or your shoes, or all of the above--and that you've been washing everything all day in very hot, hot water trying to eradicate--then you know that it's just no good, no good at all.

Those of you who have ever known anyone who's had bedbugs know what I'm talking about. Cross your fingers and help me hope that I'm not carrying an infestation around with me. Meanwhile, I'll be the kid in the corner, smearing insecticide cream all over herself ("everywhere but your face," says the doctor) (this cream is also meant to kill crab lice--when I saw that at the pharmacy, I thought a thousand narratives that the doctor might have been thinking: "she was travelling: she was having unprotected sex with wild strangers: she came back with crabs"). What's absurd, of course, is that if it actually is scabies, I'm carrying an infestation around inside me--not in my suitcase, or in my mattress, but in and under my skin. But bedbugs are the evil I know, and in this case, somehow, the evil I know is more frightening than the evil I don't. One of the bites on my arm is now bigger than a quarter, having started out last Thursday as something that looked like a mosquito bite. "This is going to heal, right?" I've been asking the few of my friends who remain.

I find myself thinking all the clich├ęs, chief amongst them: I never thought this would happen to me.

I'd blame this on Aberystwyth, the doctor said. Damn you, Wales! I replied.

It's time to start the smearing. "30g is plenty for one hairy individual," says the package insert. Yes.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, at least it isn't lobsters on your piano!

7:18 PM, July 16, 2008  
Blogger Dr. S said...

It's true. It's true: at least it's not lobsters on my piano.

Those of you who get the joke: welcome to my upbringing. I'm as good a close reader as I am in large part because of the sense of humor that governed the household in which I grew up. Everything has at least two meanings. One of those meanings is unfailingly dirty. Hooray!

7:39 PM, July 16, 2008  
Blogger Boricua en la Luna said...

I'm so sorry, honey! Poo hoo to those Welsh bugs, whatever they are. I think you and I share an abhorrence for crap (mites, crabs, lobsters, whatever) on our skin (mine is nearly phobic). I hope the cream the doctor gave you annihilates the darned critters soon!

7:44 AM, July 17, 2008  
Anonymous MG said...

Bedbugs suck. (Actually, they bite, don't they?) I got them once in a hostel in Italy. Blech. I don't know if Bactine is available in the UK, but anything with lidocaine will numb the itchiness. (I've used it on bites and poison ivy after some "slapping bites makes them numb!" advice failed) And, for what it is worth, yes, you will get better.

9:32 AM, July 17, 2008  

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