Monday, July 14, 2014

Not just any bug bite...

So it’s the first night of our road trip.  Liz and I have safely made it to Kirksville, reunited with Rachel, spent some quality time with her parents, and gotten to know her adorable puppy.  We’re all just about ready for bed, and sleepy time preparations are being made.

Liz got this bug bite a few weeks ago when we were still in Guatemala that had been giving her some grief.  She’d even gone in to see a doc about it, because it just wasn’t going away.  She’d been given some antibiotics, just in case, and they told her to put a warm compress on it a few times a day.  So before bed, Liz was lying in the room with a warm cloth pressed to the bite.  She asked me to take the band aid off of it to see how it was doing.  (Check if the swelling had gone down, etc.) 

I pulled off the band aid, and sticking almost a quarter inch out of her skin was this little white…thing.  It looked like the oil build-up that forms a blackhead on your face.  We gaped at it and took a picture to send to Mom for her input.  I tried to pull it out, but it seemed to be connected to a bigger mass below the surface, and it hurt Liz to try to pull it out. 

As the three of us were discussing this oddity (amid comments like, “Just tug on it.  Should we clip it off?  Just leave it, I guess.”), Liz reached around and pulled on it herself.

“Oh my god, it’s a bug!”  Rachel squealed, as a look of mild horror crossed Liz’s face and she laid the worm-like bug on a t-shirt next to her, and we squished our faces in close and poked at it.  There was an awful lot of giggling and grossed out squealing, but Liz was remarkably calm.  Even though it was now after 11pm, we called Rachel’s dad (who is an ER doctor) to ask him if there was anything else we should do for the night, or what the possibility was that there were more of them inside. 

As Rachel described the teardrop shaped thing, her dad immediately replied with, “It’s a botfly.” 

And a quick google search will show you that that’s exactly what it was.  Botfly larva, in one of the earliest stages (thank goodness!).

We named it Ted.  And we saved it in a plastic bag for further observation.  And we shivered with the heebie jeebies. 

Apparently botfly larva is transported on other bugs, and when those bugs bite humans, the larva is activated or whatever and starts growing inside flesh.  GROSS.  I’ll save us all the rest of the “ew’s” and stop there. 

Hopefully Ted is the grossest thing we encounter on this road trip.  And on the plus side—it could have been worse.  Apparently it’s not recommended to try to pull botflies out, because they can rupture.  So one point goes to Ted for staying in one piece and not spewing pus all over Liz’s insides. 

Tomorrow we leave Missouri bound for Arizona.  Only time will tell what exotic creatures Liz will bring back from those travels.  ;)  

I intentionally did not include pictures on this post.  You all are very welcome. 

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