Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Don't let the..."

Just me and Penny, battling the night together

In the morning, Penny wakes up around 5:00am. She's usually in an extremely frisky mood and snuggles, swats, and scratches me awake every 25 minutes until I decide to exit the bed around 7:30am. Two weeks ago, it was a morning just like all of the others since she came into my life. She was playing with strands of my hair, I rolled over, facing her and saw her resting on the other pillow. It was barely light outside, but I could see her, ready to pounce. I reached my hand over to pat her head, letting her know that I was indeed awake. As I reached over, I saw a blur of movement right in front of my face. Startled, I sat up, turned on the light and looked. There it was, one of my biggest fears, a bed bug.

I snatched a tissue, grabbed the bug and quickly looked up what exactly they look like before sealing it in an airtight jar. I called my super who called an exterminator and scheduled an appointment for the next day. THE NEXT DAY! I had to keep a bed bug in a jar overnight and sleep in the very bed where it was found! (ew!) I woke up the next morning eaten to pieces, met the exterminator who confirmed that it was, in fact, a bed bug.

The extermination was scheduled for the following Tuesday and I was given a long list of things that needed to be done to prepare my apartment for extermination. Every piece of clothing had to be laundered, washed and dried on the highest temperature setting and placed in airtight plastic bags. Everything else in the apartment, inside of every drawer, cabinet, closet, had to be removed and put in bags. The mattress and box spring needed to be placed against the wall and the bed frame dismantled. All wall adornments had to be removed and bagged. And, Penny had to be out of the apartment for a full 48 hours after the extermination.

Because of some issues, the extermination was rescheduled every single day until Friday afternoon. And last night, after being back in my apartment for only two days, I found another bug crawling across the bed.

It has been a completely exhausting situation, both physically and emotionally. I don't sleep at night because the thought of blood sucking bugs crawling in my sheets makes me nauseous. I feel disgusting, like someone who should be isolated from society. My skin crawls every minute of every single day because of the paranoia. My immune system is shot because of the lack of sleep I've experienced over the past two weeks and I've been overrun with sickness. In short, I feel like I'm drowning. Every aspect of my life feels like I'm drowning. My work life, my relationship, being a pet owner, physically, emotionally, and mentally. My work life is suffering because my exhaustion and constant fear is inhibiting my ability to concentrate.

The tiny amount of relief I get is when I am able to stay with Craig in his apartment. But my paralyzing fear of accidentally transferring the parasites to his apartment causes my heart to race and I begin to panic again. Though, he has been unbelievably amazing and supportive during this time. I certainly wouldn't have made it this far without him.

I thought I had the opportunity to get my apartment and my life back together and now after finding the bug after the extermination, I know there will be no rest for several more days (maybe even weeks).

I've had bites on my arms, chest, face, feet, and legs. And, they make mosquito bites seem like nothing at all. They're fiery, burning, itchy whelps that are a constant reminder of what is beneath the sheets.

It's my hope that I will actually be able to get in touch with the exterminators tomorrow and arrange for a time to re-exterminate sometime soon. Until then, I'll continue to scratch, launder, and do everything I possibly can to make sure they are really gone... this time.

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