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!