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Snug as a Bug in a Rug Part I

February 2, 2015

We had only been home for Birmingham for a few days, and I thought we were settling back into a good routine, when the wheels fell off. Fortunately, they only fell off for a brief period.  But I can wreak a lot of havoc in a brief period.

As I mentioned in the previous post, Elisabeth is a delicate flower, and very “in-tune” with her body.  She takes great care to keep herself in tip-top shape. Last night at dinner, she asked for more water explaining, “I am trying to stay hydrated.”  As soon as she was done hydrating and was dismissed from the table, she began jogging laps around the coffee table stating breathlessly, “I need to keep my body healthy with exercise!”

She leaves no stone unturned when it comes to inspecting for possible ailments.  It is not uncommon for me to receive calls during the school day from a concerned Elisabeth needing to let me know that:

“My skin is looking pinkish.  Also I can see the veins on my hands more than usual.  And the area under my right eye is sore.  And today I had a sharp pain in my side.”

I have encouraged her to wait to report these concerns to me when she gets home and suggested that she didn’t need to let Mrs. Miller know unless it was a real emergency.  Some days she is more successful than others.  I overheard her telling Charlie as they got into the van one day last week:

“I really struggled with my body today, Charlie.”

Because she often “struggles with her body” I was not initially alarmed when, a few days after our return from Birmingham, she woke up and reported itchy bumps on her arms and legs.

She continued to itch and even I could see clusters of what looked like little bug bites around her wrists and ankles.  Each morning she had a few more.  On Wednesday night, while Dan was at church I started googling itchy bumps.  Almost right away, I read: “Are you waking up in the morning with bug bites? Have you stayed at a hotel recently?  You may have bed bugs.”

I gasped.  We did stay in a hotel recently, a Holiday Inn to be precise.  And not just any Holiday Inn. The Madison Wisconsin Holiday Inn Holidome: a hotel and waterpark in one!

I called the Holidome and was told that there had been no reports of bedbugs in several months…which I did not find reassuring.

So I started researching bed bugs.  And looking at pictures of bedbugs. And reading about people whose lives were ruined by bedbugs, and families displaced from their homes.

Within minutes I lost my head.

When Dan arrived home from church, he met Elisabeth’s bed in our front yard and our sheets, towels, dolls, and stuffed animals lined all the way up the steps from the basement waiting for their turn to be burned up in our drying, because heat is the only sure way to kill bedbugs.  There was also a thick layer of Diotomaceous Earth, which is a black dust that is supposed to be a natural insecticide, and which I keep a large supply of for the chicken coop, covering the floor of kids room.

Dan, who never loses his head, called out cheerfully as he came in, “Honey, is Elisabeth’s bed supposed to be out in the snow?”

I will never know if we had bed bugs or not. It is possible Elisabeth just had a little allergic reaction. As I write, the house is all put back together again, and my four little bugs are snug in their rugs.

A few of our more sensitive dolls and stuffed animals apparently had an allergic reaction to the heat in our dryer and ended up with little afros on their heads, but other than that there is no evidence that we had anything other than an ordinary Wednesday night.


I like to think that my quick reaction prevented an infestation.  If nothing else it was an early spring cleaning.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Craig MacIntosh permalink
    February 2, 2015 1:19 pm

    I can only hope that when I am old and wrinkled, my personal care attendant at the assisted living facility will bring me…along with my tea (with lemon wedge and honey)…the daily reading of Three Little Peppers to brighten my day.

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