So, in case you missed it, I have a horrible reaction to bug bites. Spider, mosquito, sand flea, whatever: it bites me, I have an allergic reaction. I always seem to get bug bites at the best times, like on my honeymoon, or before big birthday bashes. For the last five days, I have been dealing with another bug bite situation.
I noticed my first bite on Friday night. I’d just arrived at my friend Maya’s house in Brooklyn, and when I sat down on her couch I felt a little itch on my ankle. On investigation, I found two bites on the front of my ankle. “Please don’t get all gross and swollen,” I thought. That night when I put on my pajamas, I discovered two more bites on the outside of leg, about two inches above the ankle. I made that face where you know things aren’t going to end well, but there’s nothing you can do.
But, in the morning, the bites on my left leg weren’t swollen! It was a miracle!! Then I noticed the bites on my right leg were swollen. What bites on my right leg, you ask? EXACTLY. Overnight, two more bites had surfaced on the outside of my right leg, above the knee. And they were angry. Very angry. And unfortunately, by the time I made it into Manhattan on Saturday evening, the bites on my left leg had decided they wanted in on the action.
I had meetings starting at 7:15am on Sunday in lead up to the summit I was attending, and I was in such a hurry to be on time that I didn’t realize my bites were in BAD SHAPE until I sat down at a table. My legs were throbbing and each bite (six in all) were swollen and radiating heat. AND I literally didn’t have a break until 10pm. I tried to distract myself from the pain and itchiness until it got to be too much. I quickly snuck out of the building the summit was in and ran around the corner to a Duane Reade, where I bought some extra strength Benadryl spray.
Back at the summit, I carefully sprayed the bites and waited for the instant relief that the pharmacist had promised. Instead, I had the complete opposite reaction. The bites immediately started stinging and, um, oozing. I wanted to cry and maybe barf but mostly, I wanted to cut my legs off.
The second my day ended, I ran to another drug store and bought the most popular suggestions from my Facebook plea for help.
I also had a mini bar at my disposal.
I applied the Cortizone stick to my ankle bites, the tea tree oil to the bites above my ankle, and the teething gel to my right leg’s bites. And then I got into the hotel bed and wiggled around so the sheets would “massage” my bites. Pathetic, I know. And obviously, I ate the entire pint of ice cream because I didn’t have a freezer in my room and I’m not wasteful.
Teething gel made my bites smell like cherry (I probably should have bought unflavored…)
Tea tree oil made my bites smell like the woods
Cortizone stick might have worked a little bit, but it was also mixed with my tears so I don’t know which active ingredient was responsible.
But! I managed to fall asleep. That was also likely due to the Benadryl oral medication I took.
Thennnnn….on Monday morning I woke up with my eyes practically swollen shut. I might have screamed, “THE BUGS BIT MY EYES!” because I find yelling loudly in the early morning hours in a hotel room to be soothing. I ran the water in my sink until it was piping hot and stuck my face into the steam for ten minutes. That helped a lot, but I still looked like I’d been through something.
Let’s pretend my nose was swollen, too.
Oh and my legs were still a mess. Flying home (in a middle seat) later that afternoon felt fantastic! And by fantastic I mean I felt like I had a ticket to hell and the plane was speeding me there.
The last few days I have been on a steady diet of Benedryl and gatorade. The Benedryl helps with the allergic reaction, the gatorade helps with the bug bite migraine that started on Monday night. Last night was the first night I started to feel human again.
I still don’t know what bit me, but I have decided to purchase an anti-mosquito suit that I can wear whenever I leave the house. I am 100% serious! I will look amazing in mesh.
(And yes, Dr. Looove knows all about my weird big bit reactions and she’s on the case!)