recap of mini horror

above you can see a bed frame that i made for my air mattress and to the left the all but abandoned bedroom. you see, three weeks ago to the day, tod and i went to help jared clear out some property that dan owns. thoughts were, if it got organized and fixed up this area might make a good workshop/headquarters for the phoenix commotion. they wore pants and boots and i tagged along in shorts and tennis shoes knowing that i had errands to run but wanted to help a little.

next day jared (our neighbor see post below) said he got poison oak and went off to get treatment. a day later tod noticed bumps on his arm that itched like crazy as well as a horizontal 'mark' on his leg. the arm stuff stayed the same while the leg stuff scattered more into almost branch like scratchy red welts. i was fine. tod suffered that week with itching and a slight spreading of this 'rash'.

a week and a few days later i woke up with those scratch marks. and they itched. there were also lots of red dots. within 3 days my lower legs were covered and i was going out of my mind. we started researching online and came to a 98% conclusion that it is bed bugs. the 2% left is possibly bat, rat, bird mites, fleas or microscopic ants. or just the universe really fucking with us.

last weekend we spent in an econo lodge. couldn't take another night of being bitten. my legs were oozing pus, throbbing, on fire and itching beyond belief. tod continued to get bit as well but he has more self control than i do and wasn't rubbing/scratching them so they stayed more tolerable. this has been a nightmare really. pest people wont call us back. even the landlords pest guy didn't return his call. after 2 weeks of researching bed bugs we see that they are becoming almost epidemic again and alas, they are resistant to most chemicals. i didn't want to post about this on facebook or the blog until it felt under control because the last thing i want is tons of questions and suggestions. i trust my instincts and feel we have done the best we can do. my bed frame that i made has little bowls underneath each foot with diatomaceous earth. i am using other things for them too and incessantly vacuuming and cleaning what little we have in our bedroom. luckily the landlord is letting us use a vacant loft to sleep in if we want and tod goes there at night. i choose to sleep here and i suppose be the 'test' to see if what we are doing is working. plus i made my bed frame and figure may as well use it.

today i feel i have turned the corner, my swelling is down (the back of my knee was swollen and tight and i couldn't even bend it), it doesn't appear i have new bites and the 'new' ones on my arms i think are just residual bites from a few days ago. my life had all but STOPPED and the online art selling probably saved me from going insane. i found it ironic that during this 'convalescence' the only thing i was able to do was be online, pack up art and painfully go out to mail it off. hence the reason i've not been going to the job site, learning, doing....living.

there is a stigma about bed bugs. its shameful. you feel slovenly. almost like a leper. i took pictures of my legs and when i saw them i couldn't believe how awful they looked. how did this happen we dont know. it might have been the box spring tod bought, it looked clean and had been in a climate controlled storage unit. we tossed it after this started even though we couldn't see any of the tell tale signs. in fact we have yet to find a bug, a body a single THING. this isn't even a normal apartment as its an old industrial building. no carpet. no neighbors other than to the other end of our place and it is unlikely they have them coming over here. i shudder when i think about all the times i've gotten used mattresses and furniture and never gave bed bugs a thought. now feel like i have to hand make any bit of furniture we have. bed bugs can live a year without 'feeding'. i'm surprised the world hasn't been taken over by these bastards.

anyhow. thats what i've been dealing with. doesn't really belong on my 'art blog' but since most of you know me pretty well by now i thought i'd share why i've been 'idle'. i'm sure we still have whatever it is here, but at least we've found a way to cease the deluge.


Dawn of LaTouchables said...

Sounds frightening--but sounds like you have a good plan...get rid of those things and you'll be okay.

jeanamarie said...

oh how awful!!! Hope it stays under control - I remember reading an article about bed bugs a couple years ago...that they were becoming a problem once more. ouch ouch ouch. :(

feel better soon!

Ellen said...

Parasites have been on the increase everywhere. My friend had brought home bed bugs after a stay at a very nice hotel. I so feel for you and know how it consumes your life after it happens, especially since you can't see them biting you. I remember when my daughter came home with head lice. Much, much easier to get rid of than bed bugs, but I felt like a slave to cleaning everything and was completely obsessed and bummed out by them. Glad there seems to be some improvement, hope they go away, sucks to have to be so vigilant all the time.

ArtPropelled said...

Ohhh noooooo, you poor girl!!! A nightmare! So relieved you're managing to get on top of the situation.

Karen Jacobs said...

You didn't say why you totally ruled out poison oak/ivy but assume you had reason... it sure sounds like my annual experience with same.

paula said...

yeah send good wishes, still not sure what or if its gone, so far my little bed area seems safe.
kj, we know it isn't poison oak because jared's wasn't like that and ours continued to grow and get worse every night. its definitely bites when we sleep. when we slept in the lodge for 2 nights we got no bites. the pharmacist we went to didn't recognize it etc.
my arms just now are going through the same thing my legs did...end is in site i hope!

Angela Recada said...

I was getting itchy just reading this. You poor thing! Whenever I hear about how the bedbug infestation is growing, it totally freaks me out. We've been lucky so far, but with our teen-agers going here and there, who knows what they'll bring home.

I hope you and Tod feel better soon and get rid of the problem, whatever it is.