Thursday, June 16, 2011

Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite

I’d heard of bedbugs growing up, but only in the phrase, ‘Don’t let the bedbugs bite.’ I thought they were just a part of the rhyme and didn’t know that they really existed.

I already suffer from mid-level obsessive compulsive disorder, but this bedbug outbreak has sent my OCD levels into overdrive. People laugh at me, but I would rather be a nut job and be free from infestation, than be laid back about the situation and end up sharing my bed with insects.

I know that I shouldn’t allow this…plague (for lack of a better word to describe how I feel about this outbreak) to stop me from living my life, but I honestly think about them everyday, everywhere I go. I don’t go to the movies anymore and when I did that one time, I undressed in my kitchen, threw all of the clothes I was wearing into a plastic bag and left them in the freezer overnight.

I contemplated not having my yearly Christmas party because I didn’t trust my guests to be honest about whether they had bedbugs or not, or if they even knew if they had bedbugs or not. I didn’t want to take the risk of having people bring bedbugs to my house.

I have stopped going to the library after a near death experience with a bedbug last New Year’s Eve. I was being cheap about my Netflix plan and was receiving two dvd’s a month for $4.99 and getting dvd’s from the library for free the rest of the month. On my last visit to the library, when I opened a dvd case to check for bedbugs, as I always did since the outbreak began, I found what I was looking for. I almost had a heart attack.

In that situation my OCD paid off because I had the dvd’s sealed in a zip lock bag and I only took them out over the bathroom sink (because I heard that bedbugs can’t climb on ceramic) to see if there were any creatures inside.

After killing the bedbug and flushing it down the toilet to be absolutely positive that it was not in my home at all, I IMMEDIATELY took the dvd’s back to the library and told them what happened. They didn’t even want the dvd’s back and threw them in the garbage without taking them out of the zip lock bag I’d sealed them in. They told me that I was the third person to come in saying that I’d found a bedbug in the dvd case.

When I told my friends the story, I don’t know why some of them scrutinized my sanity. At least five of them asked me if I was sure it was a bedbug that I saw. Obviously not many people are taking this situation as serious as I am, which is why I no longer want to invite people to my house.

Unless someone has gone through it, or has an OCD issue like me, they don’t take into account how much a bedbug infestation costs to correct and how much of your hard earned money goes into the garbage because of it. Bedbugs can ruin your quality of life and my cozy home is a huge part of my quality of life.

I was really messed up after that library experience and although I have loosened up a bit, I have altered my life since to try and keep my home bedbug free.

Any clothing I buy is frozen before it is allowed to enter my home. I spray my doorway and around my bed with 91% alcohol frequently, because I heard that it kills and repels them. I’ve decreased the number of visitors I have in my home and the number of visits I make to people’s homes. As I said before, I do not go to the movies. I eye everyone on the train suspiciously, looking for bites or their arms or legs, and I don’t sit unless I have to. My train ride is way too long not to sit, so in this case, I forfeit my chances of not going home bedbug free if the person sitting next to me has them and one crawls on me.

I wake up in the middle of the night smacking myself because the blanket touched my face and because I am drunk with sleep, I forget that if a bedbug was on me I wouldn’t even feel it. Small marks on my wall that have been there for years are now noticed with panic and I don’t know how much lint I’ve attempted to kill.

I once handed a tied up plastic bag containing my jacket and purse to a woman behind a coat check counter at a lounge. She looked at me like I had two heads and I felt embarrassed, but I would rather suffer momentary embarrassment than suffer the consequences of taking a bedbug home with me. I just want to go back to the days when I don’t have to think twice about checking my coat or bag when I go out.

Now, is America going to give me back my sanity? I always take comfort in the fact that in this country, there is a solution to almost every problem you might have. If you have stomach issues, a cold or allergies, there are shelves and shelves of medications that will remedy your issue. If you have roaches, there is combat. If you have a plumbing issue, you call your building super or a plumber. If you don’t like your breasts, you can make them bigger or make them smaller. If you don’t want to be a parent, there is contraception available. If you are already pregnant and you don’t want to push your baby out, there are some doctors who will take your baby out for you, by allowing you to have a c-section.

These are all very random problem-solution topics, but I just feel like with everything available to us in this country, bedbugs should be easier to get rid of.

People can climb into a rocket ship, be catapulted into outer space and land on the moon, but they can’t figure out a way to get rid of bedbugs so that people like me can live in peace instead of living in fear?!

On the news, I heard them say that with the summer heating up, we should expect bedbugs to make a come back because summer is prime time for them to multiply. Lord, help me.

It’s impossible for me to cover every preventative measure when I have to do things like, leave my house to go to work and have a normal social life. (I’m exaggerating… a little. I would never become a hermit because of this.) I’m actually proud of myself for going on vacation this year, because going to a hotel and sitting on a plane is just asking for it. You don’t know who brought what to those places, but I can't allow my fear or bedbugs to run my life. Even so, I am definitely packing my OCD and taking it on vacation with me. I will be vigilant in my efforts to stay bedbug free.

I hope they figure this out soon, but until then, goodnight, sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite.

~Louise C.

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