Friday, May 25, 2012

The Gift that Keeps On Itching

If going to the dentist twice in two weeks wasn't bad enough, I got another healthy dose of pain today.  Last weekend, when we went hiking at Suttle Lake, I must have stepped into the wrong swarm of hungry mosquitoes or something as I ended up with ten nice welted bites on my arms below the elbows.  Eight of them were on my right arm.  I guess it just tasted better.

The bites itched quite a bit for the first three days, but they never went away or decreased their intensity.  Last night, as I was watching TV, I noticed I was itching the three bites on the back of my right hand more than ever.  One toward the outside edge between my pinky and wrist was quite painful.  It didn't just itch, it really hurt.  The bites had all turned bright pink and looked angry.  I accidentally scratched the top off the one bad bite, and it started to weep both pus and blood.  Out comes the Neosporin.

The pain was annoying, but the bites weren't hot and had stopped oozing, so I went to bed around 11pm.  I awoke around 2am to pain shooting from my pinky nail up to my elbow.  The worst bites were all very angry and demanding attention.  Hydrocortizone cream had done absolutely nothing to help all week, but I gave it another shot.  Nothing still.  I crawled out of bed to call the nurse advice hotline provided by my insurance company.  The nurse didn't seem concerned at all and basically brushed me off saying to make an appointment in the morning.

I've had my share of mosquito bites in the past, and they've always healed within just a couple days.  These were large and still very itchy seven days later, so I knew they were either infected or contained something my body didn't like much.  I tried to calm myself down and get some rest, convincing myself that losing a hand wouldn't be so bad, thinking anything just to sleep a few minutes at a time.

Needless to say, I was wide awake early enough to be one of the first people to the clinic this morning.  They whisked me back to the exam room, but they must have forgotten about me for an hour since I waited and waited.  When the doctor first came in, she seemed to brush me off like the nurse had done.  When she saw the bites and realized it had been a week with no recovery in sight, she acted surprised.  I knew something wasn't right, and she confirmed it.

I'm allergic to mosquito venom.  Or at least the proteins the buggers injected into me when they decided to feast upon my blood.  My bite on the outside edge of my hand is swollen enough to put pressure on the nerve that runs down to my pinky, thus all the pain and aching joints.  No signs of infection, just a lot of angry bites.

Toss some Benadryl down me, right?  Wrong.  I am already taking two different antihistamines for seasonal allergies.  There's so much in my body already that giving me more would just make me a zombie (antihistamines like Benadryl are also often prescribed as sleep aides).  I have to be very allergic to anything right now to even notice it, so the fact that these bites are causing issues means I'm very allergic to them.  The doctor wrote me a prescription for a topical corticosteriod (like Hydrocortizone but much, much stronger) that should help with the pain and swelling.  I've noticed the pinkness has disappeared quite a bit already, and the itching on the lesser bites is almost gone.  I should be much better as the weekend goes on.

Not a happy ending to a week of torture.  I am off to sleep, finally, hopefully that good deep sleep.

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