12 June 2008

60 Days is a Long Time

If you check the little counter in my sidebar over there ... no, down a bit ... under the button with the fish guts (click it to visit All Mediocre, by the way!) ... you'll see my little counter.

Since 13th April this little counter has been counting up the days. 13th April was the last day we woke up and declared we'd suffered bed-bug bites, using words best transcribed by holding down "Shift" and bashing away at the numeric keys on the keyboard.

We read somewhere that if you go for 60 days without a bed-bug bite, you can be fairly confident you no longer have them living in your home. I hope that's true. Because I've also learned that without a food source, they can hibernate for 18 months and come back to feed, grow, breed and re-populate after that time. And if that's true, the practicalities of starving them to death mean that we probably never would get rid of them.

It's been a while since I posted about bed bugs. I felt my blog was becoming too focussed on them, so I stopped blathering on about them. But if you're new and would like to take a trip deep into our parasitic nightmare, you can read about when I found that bed bugs were the cause of my four month-long incessant itching problem, when I actually found their nests after three pest treatments, a bed-bug-related theft known as 'The Case of the Missing Pantyliners', the extreme measures that I thought were a last resort, the day I found a shocking pair of parasitic pyjamas, having to go further than the 'last resort', then the nightmare of living the whole sordid thing out in real life, day after day.

If you have the fortitude, you could also read about three depressing finds that made me feel quite helpless, more rain to set us back further, and a photo(shopped)graphic example of why poor body image is a surprise side-effect of ongoing bed-bug bites.

There's also the find that signalled the light at the end of the tunnel, a cautious dabble in the world of FAITH that we were really getting through this whole ghastly episode, and an indication that the FAITH was ill-placed, or at least, premature.

Since then, I've stayed mostly quiet on the topic except for an update telling you that we were exploring all avenues to get these horrible critters out of our lives once and for all.

They've affected us psychologically, of course. Many times we see seeds in our muesli or bits of dirt or spots in a pattern and our flight-or-fight response kicks in, making our hearts pound and our bodies go hot and cold all over at the possibility that it's yet another bed bug.

But the good news is that we haven't seen any. We haven't had any classic bed-bug bites despite many itchy bouts of "psychological bed-bugs."

And now we're at DAY 60. We'd feel elated if we hadn't seen two tiny blood spots on the sheets at Day 30, and a further blood spot on a pillowcase at Day 47. They were the classic bed-bug-looking spots too, and it's difficult to dismiss them as a nosebleed or scratch on the skin in the middle of the night.

Are we ready to move back in to our bedrooms? It's been months since our clothes were in our rooms, and our books were in their shelves. We've been living in a crazy world of limbo - a bit like moving house, but never settling anywhere. It's driven my home-maker instincts absolutely crazy, and it's been a huge lesson in letting go of things: allowing mess where once there was tidyness, allowing chaos where once there was order.

You'd think I'd be over the moon. I assumed that once this day came, I'd move right back in.

But today, I didn't.

I looked at the makeshift 'chest of drawers' for me and hubs in the living room. I looked at the makeshift 'chest of drawers' for Sonny Ma-Jiminy in the kitchen.I looked at the disorganised and chaotic assortment of who-knows-what on the front balcony.I looked at the spider-infested, water-damaged boxes of books and clothes under the deck (my beautiful deck!) outside.And I wondered if I would ever have energy to put my life back together.

I doubt anyone will ever understand just how difficult these last few months have been for me.


Darcie said...

Oh my goodness what a nightmare. I can't imagine how awful this ordeal must be for your family. My kids have had head lice twice and getting rid of those little parasitic buggers is beyond exhausting. But still it doesn't compare to the upheavel you've experienced.

My heart goes out to you guys. I hope that your counter keeps going up and up and that you can put this behind you soon!

Now wonder you said what you did about clutter. I guess if you have no choice it makes you look on the bright side. I wish I were better at doing that! :)

mommastantrum said...

Did you try swearing at them? I mean I know you have little ears and all...but sometimes swearing works. If you don't know how I can hop on a plane and fly down and teach you how. Of course your Hubby will have to take the kids out for a while...and you have to promise not to laugh at my accent too much!

Anonymous said...

60 days... that's a very long time. I can understand the grungy feeling of not wanting to rearrange all the stuff that needs it to get back to normal - It looks like a huge job.

I'd be tempted to simply (and gleefully) throw everything out and start again, except that it is never practical. But it would be satisfying to have brand new exciting things instead of all the old, water-damaged things that need to be cleaned and de-spidered.

Horrible job, I want to come down and help you to restore order, and maybe some sanity (or else loose sanity altogether - much better option). Jen.

Heather said...

*big hugs* I am so so sorry all of this has happened! I've heard that bedbugs can bite and itch, but I had NO idea they were so difficult to get rid of. Wow! Hang in there and hopefully life will get back to normal soon.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Wow, there has been a lot of critter, bug, bats, rats, hover fly, etc commenting on my blog and poor richards almanac. But your's is hands down the worst bug story ever. So sorry.

Mama's Losin' It said...

I am so sad for you! My Mom has told nightmarish stories about us kids getting head lice and how she'd sit and pick through it and wash everything for weeks.

This is that story times a hundred!! What a nightmare!! I really hope it's over.

Arizona Albino said...

Greetings from Arizona! My friends had to rip up their carpet, tear out the drywall in three rooms and pull out the insulation to get rid of those horrible, horrible creatures. I hope, hope, hope they are gone for you too.
Not sure how I found your blog but I will be sure to keep reading. Thanks and good luck.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

That sounds just HORRIBLE! I can not even imagine! I sincerely hope you find the courage to rebuild...because that living in limbo thing would drive a neurotic, OCD person (like myself) ABSOLUTELY crazy!

Vacation anyone?

Anonymous said...

I have just found your blog today and just finished reading through your whole bed bug ordeal and I have only one thing to say...you are my hero. I had a bout once a few years ago when my then 9 year old daughter brought home head lice (and I was providing daycare in my home at the time and taking care of 6 little kids ) but my ordeal only went on for a couple of weeks--three at the most and no one else got the horrible things except for my daughter and myself. I thought I was going to go insane just from that. For you to still be operating in a semi-non insane fashion after so many months of waging this horrible war...well, I just take my hat off to you, Ma'am. Astounding...absolutely astounding!

Becky said...

AS all have said previously!! YOu my dear, are wonder woman!!!
Can I come over & help you?
I think we shall throw you a "HAPPY 60 DAYS" party!!

Anonymous said...

Becky, that is an excellent idea. I'm in. Jen.

anymommy said...

This is absolutely horrible. How are you staying sane? You are wonder woman and I want to come to that celebratory party. You deserve it.