On Sunday I hung out with Mama and Daddy to celebrate Father’s Day. We enjoyed lunch together, headed to the Bargain Basement to see Brian and pick up a few air conditioners that Daddy needed, and then headed up the mountain to drop them off at our cabin. Okay, Daddy’s cabin — it’s not like I pay the bills! It’s one of my favorite places to be, especially on a beautiful Sunday when I’m avoiding laundry and housework like the plague they are. The cabin is about forty-five minutes from my house (and theirs, since they live four blocks from us) in a little place called Criders. It’s basically a few houses on a mountain, I think. Here is a gratuitous picture so you can wish you were there, too….
This is the view down the hill as we were sitting in the “pavilion”
Mama, Daddy, and I sat outside under the pavilion rather than hang out in the very hot cabin. We saw a mother deer and her brand new (like 5 minutes old) fawn and made plans for the Fourth of July.
Sometimes the gnats and mosquitoes on the mountain can be a bit horrid. Sunday, however, they didn’t seem to be too bad. The occasional horse or deer fly, the occasional gnat. I felt something start itching on the back of my arm, but figured it was just a mosquito. At one point, I felt something bite me on the right arm, near my wrist. I looked down to see a little bug, about 3 mm across. It was kind of a cross between a gnat and a tiny little fly. I have nary a clue what it actually was. And I can say ‘was’, because its already short life was cut even shorter by my left hand descending quickly. It had bitten me, and payback sucks. I brushed its carcass off my arm, saw a tiny bite mark, commented on the fact that it had drawn blood and, and thought no more about it, except for a little itch there for the rest of the night.
Monday morning, I woke up with a little white welt around the little dot of a bite mark. It itched mildly. Since I have the most sensitive skin on Earth, I know not to scratch often or hard, so I didn’t. By afternoon, I had hard, red, strangely warm knot all around that bite mark. Which, not to totally gross you out, was leaking some manner of sticky liquid. It was about two inches in diameter. I drew a line around it so I could better judge the Spread Of The Red.
By evening, I felt distinctly flu-y, and my arm was so swollen that it felt odd even just hanging there. It hurt to move my hand, and the heat was unbearable. The bite on the back of my arm (so close to my underarm that I could more accurately say ‘armpit’) was itching, so I asked Brian if it looked as bad as my forearm. It certainly didn’t hurt nearly as bad. When he looked at the second bite, he grimaced in disgust and proclaimed it to be ten times as bad. Apparently he has a penchant for exaggeration…. It was quite red at the actual site, and the surrounding redness went about eight inches down my arm.
By midnight, I was downright worried. As I headed to bed, I was able to see in the mirror of our bathroom that the redness had spread considerably, and was well over three inches in diameter. To save you the whole “pi R squared” business, it was about five or six inches around, I would estimate. I added a “Midnight” line, applied plantain salve, took a Benadryl, and subsequently passed out.
I woke up Tuesday morning to a crusty, nasty mess. The leakage had continued overnight and the swelling was intense. It hurt so bad I was in tears before I was even fully awake. Brian offered the friendly suggestion that he was scheduled to be off on Wednesday, so I should see if I could get a doctor’s appointment then. I have to admit that my anti-doctor, “I’ll just put some garlic on it” self was leaning more toward the ER. I would have smacked him if I could have lifted my arm. I informed him that I was going to the doctor that morning, so he should get up and watch the Munchkin Coalition. I was sitting in my doctor’s office by 9:20. Good man.
The doctor was pretty nonplussed by my terrifyingly red, hot, oozy arm. He was, however, astonished over the bite on the back of my arm. Apparently it looked worse than it felt. When I looked at it, it was simply red and angry. Not, you know, swollen and hot and oozy and hard! He assured me that my body was simply reacting to the venom of whatever kind of teeny, tiny bug it was that bit me. He prescribed an antibiotic just in case any cellulitis set in (I think it was already there, Doc.), and sent me on my merry way.
I haven’t been on an antibiotic in five years. I was ridiculously proud of this fact, and had worked hard to undo the results of many years of antibiotic overuse. I have avoided antibiotics for the occasional sinus infection, and in general have been healthy enough in the past five years to not need much over the counter medication or visits to the doctor. A week ago I was bitten twice by a spider. I applied plantain salve and it was fine in a matter of hours. If I can’t heal it with herbs, I usually just ride it out. I abhor antibiotics.
I nearly kissed the doctor when he gave me this one.
This is how my arm looked after my doctor’s appointment on Tuesday morning. Bear in mind that this is a crappy cell phone picture that really does not do it justice, and that none of this was here 24 hours previous.
One of my students said it looked like someone had slapped a biscuit on my arm….I don’t see it, but it cracked me up.
By Wednesday morning I had two doses of antibiotic in me, and the redness was down to a spot about the size of a quarter. The bite on the back of my arm is still red but not as angry as it once was and doesn’t itch any more.
I am in love with Keflex.