June 30, 2013 by Dragonfly Diva
I may or may not have shared with all of you that each year I have a word of the year. This word is something that I try to use as a focal point for the year. It started with a friend who mentioned that her spiritual group has a random drawing of words each January. I thought that sounded interesting and asked her to get me one. That year my word was simplicity. I found myself all year seeking the simplest solutions, routes from here to there, etc. I determined to keep it simple and uncluttered and realized that I also shed a lot of stress in the process. (I tend to be a complex woman who frequently makes things more involved than is really necessary.)
So this year my word is enlightenment. As I navigate life in 2013 I’m looking for what each new happening can enlighten me to. Fast forward from January to the last two weeks and you’ll find me seeking enlightenment to having had what at this point the medical professionals feel is an allergic reaction to an insect bite of some kind.
It all started with finding what looked to be a bite on my left calf the morning after a hotel stay for a work trip. Now, please know that given my personality, and some what I do for a living has left me vigilant when it comes to the cleanliness of hotels. And the one I stayed in that night, while not as nice as some, at least didn’t leave me feeling like I wanted to spend the night siting upright in my street clothes at the desk in the room. After finding this bite I searched the bed, trying to find the culprit but did not find anything. I left feeling maybe it was a mosquito bite from sitting on my own back porch the day before. Maybe I’d scratched it in my sleep. Went home, started using a topical antibiotic ointment and 5 days later no better, the bite looked worse and now I had other patches of itchy rash too. Now I wondered…was it actually something like poison ivy? Switched to hydrocortisone cream and off to the emergency clinic since it was a Sunday.
The doctor there suggested bed bugs from the hotel, but said you can’t be sure of these things. (Now I’m creeped out!) Gave me a day’s worth of antibiotics just in case it was a tick bite and the hole Lyme Disease thing, topical anti-itch cream and pills. And off I went last Monday on a four day business trip. And all four days it kept getting worse. (Can you imagine the fun I was having staying in a hotel again??? Yeah, not so much!) More splotches, now its on both calves, etc. Thursday found me sitting in a parking garage right before my four hour drive home calling my regular doctor and ending up with an appointment for the next morning at a dermatologists office.
This doctor’s trip did not yield a definitive answer. She said we may not ever know exactly what it was that bit me, but she believes it is an allergic reaction. Said let’s biopsy the original site of the bite and it might help rule out some of what it isn’t. Ok. I thought she said needle biopsy…well I’d had that before so no biggie. Not so. When I went to take the band-aid off at home that evening – I’ve got a quarter inch whole in my leg that I cannot look at. I’m such a girlie about these things so my darling husband is helping me with wound care. I’m on steroids for 10 days along with two Zyrtec a day instead of one. I feel like heck! And I’m on my second of 10 days of a stay at home vacation. Nice. I’m grumpy, grouchy, sleepy, tired, achy, itchy, splotchy and miserable! I don’t want to wear shorts as my legs look like I have the plague.
I will admit that today (knock on wood) I feel a bit better. (Although I have not yet taken the dreaded steroids yet for the day.) I am definitely less itchy. So there may be light at the end of what is almost a two week tunnel. And now I’m thinking back over the past days and looking for what this experience can enlighten me to.
The first thought is you never know what the heck is going to happen to you, so be prepared to be surprised. The second potential enlightening thought is that sometimes when something is going on with your body you just have to focus on allowing it to heal. Oh don’t get me wrong, I still pushed myself yesterday cleaning, getting laundry done, fussing with the teenager to please clean up his room before he gets bugs in there. (Can you tell I am currently a BIT of a hypochondriac about bugs? It will wear off, but for now, ugh!) By evening though I had given in and a nice night out with my hubby, after the teen had gone to a friends for the night, turned into ordering pizza in and watching a movie on cable. Still nice, just a lot less draining on my little energy. And probably the most important enlightening thought is that I need to trust my instincts. I knew something wasn’t right within a couple days of finding that bite, but as always just kept going…I had too much to do to get in to see a doctor. Yes, I know I did go, and not just to one but two doctors. But I tend to push things off, telling myself it is just my imagination, I’m not sick or that bite doesn’t look bigger more swollen, etc.
Now I know if I’d gone in sooner I’m sure I’d have still traveled the same medical path I’m on now, but well, I just need to start trusting my instincts. Hopefully my sharing this with you will be a reminder to trust your own instincts in unusual situations. And then I’ll leave you with this picture and thought. As I left my last meeting on Thursday and was walking to the parking garage with a colleague (talking none the less about bugs) I rounded a corner and found this fella on the wall of the building. To put the picture in perspective that pipe sticking out of the wall is about seven inches in diameter. What the heck kind of bug is that? And finally, wonder if he is what bit me? Fortunately I think I would have known it if it was! Man, though is he creepy!