What bit me?

Being sick or injured is one of the things that you still have to deal with when living off-grid. This summer we had a lot of insects, many of which bite or sting. Most of which aren’t really a problem, more a nuisance than anything else, but on occasion a tiny little bite can turn into something really nasty. This happened to me, I spend last weekend in bed with flu like symptoms, aching joints, headache, 0 energy, I couldn’t even walk up my hill without feeling exhausted.

The reason? Something bit me. It happened while I slept, it wasn’t a painful bite, it apparently didn’t even wake me up. I suspect it was a spider, but honestly I just don’t know what it was. This bite was on my shin, it started out looking and feeling like a mosquito bite, small, red, itchy… then it blew up, almost literally. It swelled into this hot, painful, red purple lump going in two different directions. I did try some home remedies, I’m usually successful at taking care of my own ailments, but this one turned into something that was becoming life threatening over the weekend.

By Monday, I had determined I needed to go to the doctor, the bite had really turned bad, growing into something that isn’t recognizable as a normal leg, I was running a fever, going between shivering cold and dripping with sweat. I wasn’t going to go in, almost had myself talked out of going in, then I saw the red spots that were popping up all over my body, it was almost like chicken pox all over again. That was the deciding factor for me.

Everyone who saw my leg was convinced it was a brown recluse, and it certainly had that look, but fortunately the doctor didn’t agree with that diagnosis, saying the reaction happened much too quickly for it to be that. But we are still unsure of exactly what did bite me.

Now, 3 prescriptions later I am on the mend. I still don’t know exactly what bit me, it sufficiently horrified the doctor and his staff, they took blood to find out if I have staph (they are treating me as if I do for now), lyme disease and no telling what else, I did hear something about a full CDC panel, whatever that means.

I’ll know more next week about what they find. I am already feeling better, I’m past the worst of it and will be able to go back to work in a few days. Fortunately it’s a lite week at work this week, so I was able to push my jobs to the end of the week.

It’s amazing to me that something that started out so tiny and insignificant could turn into something potentially deadly in just a few short days, of course these things almost always happens on the weekend. I’m just glad I was able to get this taken care of, infections like this aren’t something to mess around with. Even the most ardent DIY’r and off-gridder needs to recognize when something has gone past their ability (or supplies) to take care of themselves, there is no shame in going to the doctor and having a professional medical person to take a look at a problem.


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