Bed Bugs

I have a serious problem with anything that wants to feast on my blood. Mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, lice, leeches… all are personae non gratae in my world. But bed bugs… sorry if I’m being prejudiced here… they are the worst.

I mean… they’re in your bed. And they prefer to attack you at a time when you’re most vulnerable, when you are asleep and all, like, defenseless. Shudder.

So imagine my horror when I thought, for a brief time, that I had a bed bug infestation. I’m itching just thinking about it. Suddenly I want a hot shower.

I woke up one day with what appeared to be 6 bites on my body. And this is Seattle. It’s not like we have mosquitoes. I checked Quagmire for fleas. Nothing. And suddenly I thought of bed bugs. I did a quick and lazy Google search to discover the telltale signs.

There were no spots of blood on my mattress. The bites weren’t along any of my major blood lines. And they were a lot bigger than the average bed bug bite. That was a huge relief. Still… something was biting me. I tore my bed apart. Truth be told, I tore my entire bedroom apart. Nothing.

But now I couldn’t get the thought of bed bugs out of my head. I vacuumed. I washed and dried all my bedding. I washed my dog. I washed me. And the next night, a few more “bites”.

Intolerable. I could not live like this. Seriously. If I were a home owner I would gladly burn my house to the ground and start fresh rather than have bed bugs. Ugh, I felt so dirty and ashamed, even though I had done nothing out of the ordinary to cause this horrifying turn of events. Most people do not. And they shouldn’t be judged. But still. Ick. You know?

I didn’t want to pay an exterminator without any sign of anything. So I decided, as a precaution, to buy some diatomaceous earth from a local garden center. It’s made up of crushed seashells, and when bugs go across it, it cuts open their creepy little carapaces and they dehydrate. But it’s pet friendly.

Take that, you little bastards!

The diatomaceous earth I’m used to getting is in a powder form. Unfortunately, the only kind I could find this time was the consistency of kitty litter. But such was my disgust that I spread that stuff beneath and behind my bed, and between the mattress and the box spring, and after a few minutes of consideration, what the hell… on my sheets.

So for a night, I actually slept in “kitty litter”. I know. Totally weird. And not recommended. But such was my level of yuck.

I didn’t have any new bites the next day, and haven’t had any since. And all of that stuff has been vacuumed and or/washed off in the interim.

By the way, it turns out that I was going through an unbelievable amount of stress, so my doctor thinks what I had was hives.

Live and learn.

One friend did suggest something delightful, though, that has since become a habit. You take a spray bottle, drop in 5-8 drops of essential oils, a splash of rubbing alcohol or vodka, and then fill the rest of the bottle with water. Before bed, spray your sheets and pillows. Apparently spiders and the like don’t appreciate the odor and will leave you alone.

I use lavender, and the bed smells great. And I haven’t had any critter encounters of any kind since then. Of course, I rarely did before, so who knows? But it definitely makes for a peaceful night’s sleep, knowing you’ve got a real or imagined line of defense between you and all the blood suckers out there. And it beats the hell out of sleeping in kitty litter.


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Better Living through Trepanation for Fun and Profit… or Something…

I get epic sinus headaches. It feels as if my head is going to explode. When that happens, nothing seems to help. And believe me, I’ve tried almost everything. At the height of my pain I’ve been known to ask people to drill holes in my head so as to relieve the pressure. Fortunately no one has ever taken me up on the suggestion.

Imagine my shock, though, when a friend recently sent me a link to the International Trepanation Advocacy Group. Seriously? There are still people out there who think it’s a good idea to drill holes in people’s heads? And they have a newsletter! For crying out loud, how much activity can there be in the world of trepanning that it merits a newsletter?

Their belief is that “making a [sic] opening in the skull favorably alters movement of blood through the brain and improves brain functions which are more important than ever before in history to adapt to an ever more rapidly changing world.”

Proving that any lunatic concept can gain a following, they actually got 15 volunteers to come forward to be trepanned, and found a surgeon crazy enough to perform the procedure. The site claims the people were satisfied with the results, but that the data was inconclusive.

Well, duh. Always assuming that when you expose the dura matter in your head to bacteria and infection you don’t wind up getting meningitis or some other malady, and that your surgeon doesn’t accidently drill too far and scramble your brains, you would be hard pressed, in my opinion, to then demonstrate any benefits of this procedure other than the fact that by some miracle you were still alive.

There was a guy named Bart Hughes in the 60’s who drilled a hole in his own head with a Black and Decker drill. He said the increased blood flow would be as good for the brain as ginkgo biloba. He should know. After all, he was a librarian. The man should have been placed in a rubber room and never let out.

I firmly believe that nature has a plan, and that evolution is its brilliant handmaiden. If having a hole in your skull actually made you a more effective human, I strongly suspect that nature wouldn’t have elected to cover your fragile brains with a hard coating in the first place.

Yes, there is sporadic evidence of trepanning throughout history, but that doesn’t vindicate the practice. You can also find evidence of bloodletting by leeches and intentional cranial deformation, but I’m not going to run out and do those things either.