Recently I haven’t posted as much as I normally do. I’ve been having a medical adventure. About a month ago I started getting what I thought were bug bites. It made sense. I garden therefore I will have bug bites. But as time went on the bug bites started appearing even on days when I wasn’t gardening. About two weeks ago I realized that the situation was getting totally out of hand. I had bites on my under knees, bites on my waist, bites on my ankle and some nasty, infected-looking things on my shoulder. It was time to see the doctor.
My medical adventure (five visits to three different doctors in the last two weeks) can be broken down into distinct phases:
The Bed Bug Phase
One doctor suspected I’d been bitten by bed bugs. Another doctor assured me that I’d been bitten by bed bugs. After doing some research on the Internet I discovered that bed bugs had almost been wiped out in the U.S. However now that we’ve become more environmentally aware, and aren’t using things like DDT, bed bugs are making a comeback. Bed bugs feed on people’s blood. They get into a person’s house with used furniture, used clothing or by hitching a ride in a suitcase when people travel home from a bed bug infested area. Bed bugs are VERY difficult to get rid of.
I really didn’t think it was bed bugs since I’d never seen any. But if the doctor said I had bed bugs then I wanted to check it out. I called several exterminators. The national chain said it really sounded like I had fleas. Haven’t seen fleas? No problem. For a mere $500 a year they would come out and spray to eliminate every creepy crawly thing that we had in and around the house. When could they come? How soon could I sign?
The second company seemed nice enough but said they wouldn’t come. “If you had bed bugs you would have seen them by now. I’m sure you don’t have bed bugs.”
“But I’ve got something and my doctor thinks it’s bed bugs.”
They were sorry but they weren’t coming.
Then I called Eastside Exterminators. They didn’t think I had bed bugs either but if a doctor had said I did, then they would check it out. Their representative was on time, professional and knowledgeable. He didn’t try to sell us anything he just took a look and gave us his opinion, “You don’t have bugs.”
Thusly ends the bed bug phase. At least we got a great exterminator out of the deal. If we ever do have bugs the folks at Eastside Exterminators are the ones we’re going to call. I highly recommend them to anyone else in the Bellevue/Eastside area.
The Allergy Phase
OK, if I didn’t have bed bugs maybe I was having an allergic reaction. The only problem was that I hadn’t changed laundry soap, lotion or anything. Also, my outbreaks didn’t ease up and go away like hives. Nope, I probably didn’t have an allergy.
The Big Name Disease Phase
I turned to the Internet to research my symptoms. Some of them matched the symptoms of lupus. In some ways it almost seemed like shingles. Maybe it all had started out as a bite after all. Maybe it was Lyme disease.
I forced myself to stop doing Internet research on my symptoms as it was just making me paranoid. Later I asked the doctor about everything on my possibles list. She assured me that my possibles were impossible.
The Answer – Skin Infection
Doctor Number One is now fairly sure that I have a drug-resistant skin infection. I understand that these things used to be common only in hospitals. Now they’re spreading throughout the general population. I’ll never know how or exactly when I got it. The good news is that the antibiotics seem to be working. I’ll stay on my antibiotics for another 10 days and that should be it. My outbreaks are lessening. I’m no longer running a fever. I hope I’m at the tail end of this medical adventure.
- Limit Internet Research – A person has to be informed but a person can also be scared silly. Know your limits.
- People Love Me – I’m truly blessed with family and friends that care about me. They’ve been very supportive through this whole ordeal. The Man of the House has been wonderful. He really knows how to keep me from going into total freak out mode.
- Keep a Diary – My mother suggested this to me. I wish I would have started it sooner but even the little bit I wrote in my personal journal helped me establish the timeline of the illness. Later I started keeping better records. If this isn’t the end of this adventure I know I’ll be able to give the doctors some good information.
- Nothing is More Important Than Your Health – Good health is such a gift. Be sure to treasure it.