Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When The Bugs In My Bed Are All In My Head

Barbara: I woke up the other night, my back itching like crazy. It was smack dab in the middle of the night—I was almost REM I was so out, I was so out I’d have to be pulled physically out of bed for any of nature’s calls––and so I was in no mood to discover the source of the itching. I’d rather have just flopped over and gone back to sleep and waited for a more godly hour. But my back had other plans.

This itching was driving me so absolutely crazy that I started to scratch and squirm. I wriggled and writhed. And THEN I remembered that there has been a lot of talk lately about bedbugs infesting city homes. Well, I live in a city. And they were especially infesting the homes of people who travel a lot. Well, Phil travels a lot. And suddenly I had to replay every article I’d ever read or report I’d ever seen, going through the nauseating lists of the ifs and whats of bedbugs. If they were bedbugs, then I’d have to completely overhaul my home, maybe throw out my mattress, maybe fumigate the entire place, toxins infiltrating every nook and cranny. And what were bedbugs anyway? Minute, invisible creatures that attacked and disappeared, that were impossible to trap, that crawled up out of the darkness of your precious sleep-space, ate voraciously of your flesh, then crawled away again, leaving no evidence of their route except drops of blood on your sheets.

Of course I spent way way too long considering all this and not getting up to see for myself if there was any actual evidence on my body of these scurrilous creatures––beyond the itching. It was twofold: the aforementioned mid-night laziness and the dread at having my fears confirmed. But finally I couldn’t take it anymore. At the very least I had to put something on my itchy skin or I’d be up all night.

I managed to heave myself up and out and I stumbled to the bathroom. Then I got a handheld mirror and positioned myself to look through it into the large bathroom mirror so I could inspect my back. It was inconclusive. My vision was blurred from lack of sleep and my back was covered with incriminating red scratches. But all I could see when I looked closer were tiny bumps the size of rash-spots, not red or all congested like a rash, but spattered here and there like dead skin cells sloughing off. And when I googled bedbug bites—as we are so compelled now to do, right?—I saw how alarmingly awful they looked and how thankfully different from my own itchy skin. And, no, it wasn’t psoriasis either.

As I’ve told you all before, I am a habitual creamer, but despite that I think my skin is just really really dry from the cold air and the endless heating. I slathered on the cream and my itchiness abated. It is an unhappy skin I sport these days, but I will say this, it is a happy happy thing that it isn’t friggin’ bed bugs.

Deb: Okay, I can barely type, what with one hand busy scratching. Pavlov’s dog lives and I am he!

Barb, I think you showed great restraint frankly. When my mind goes to the dark place of anything, do NOT be in my path. In one sweeping motion I would have had the bed stripped, and my husband up, a flashlight combing his back. Then the mattress would have been turned on its end, inspected within an inch of its coils. The dogs would be barking and the lights in the house blazing. In the end, I would have been, as you were, covered in cream. I would have also been uttering a string of apologies to my disheveled husband and receiving a grunt in reply. And sleep? Fuggedaboutit! 


  1. ARGH! *scratching* This reminds me of how I get sympathy itching on my scalp whenever a friend calls with a tale of woe about her child(ren) bringing home lice from school or a spend-the-night party. *scratching* Bed bugs. Lice. Scratching. Middle of the night foreboding. Sympathy itching. Forget Jedi mind tricks --- this is definitely from the dark side of the Force!

  2. I itch as well all the time-dry skin according to my doctor. Also, it doesn't help to take hot showers which I do. Lukewarm much better for dry skin. I had a tenant once in an apartment bldg I own and it was the most awful experience. She had to do a thorough cleaning put her mattress in plastic and we sprayed endlessly with a professional company. Also had to put every leg of her mattress and furniture in a bowl with water so the creatures would not crawl up while waiting for them to die. It was a nightmare for the tenant and this landlord. She got bedbugs from an upscale hotel in Vegas. Glad it was just dry skin.

  3. Argh, yes, winter skin and sympathy scratching. In our heads or on our bodies, not fun...

  4. I hate the winter for my skin. It makes it horrible. Bedbugs sounds bad. If for one minuite that I started scratching and I thought there were any kind of bugs in my bed of any kind I would be out of that bed so fast and frecking out. I hate bugs with a passion. They are horribe and nasty. You handled it better than I would have because I would have been just out of my mind and frecking out.

  5. LOL that's quite a picture you've painted there, Deb.
    Barb, who knew YOU'd be the calm, cool, collected one?

  6. Oh, Deb-I am having the exact same reaction, scratching all over because just the SUGGESTION makes me itchy. I've never had that happen with bed bug suggestions, but MAN, have I been sure fleas were getting me. never mind that in 55 pet years we've only had fleas twice--once from a kitten when we very first brought her home, and once when we'd had a mild winter and apparently ALL the dogs were getting them.

    There I go scratching again.

    Barbara-I get super dry skin, too--I should be more diligent, but it doesn't surprise me that was the source of itchiness... Hope it's better!

  7. Oh, you guys, you're all so funny! And, Kate, while I appreciate being considered "calm and cool" (lol), I have to reiterate that I was "lazy" and "lazy".

    STOP SCRATCHING,everyone. I don't want to be the start of an epidemic :)

  8. The scratch,uh..I dont wanna think about it when I had those...very very annoying,its the worst thing that could happen to me,and just on the back..nasty !

  9. Well, looks like you have the necessary skills, htgrobbah! I pray pray pray we avoid that experience. But sometimes I worry it's inevitable. Nooooooo!!!

  10. i cannot tell you how many times i have checked for bed bugs. And if I ever find them, I will freak. FREAK YOU HEAR ME?!?! FREAK!!!!!


    carry on.


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