Sunday, August 5, 2018

Revenge of the Flies? ...and Random bits of Insanity

Well folks, the past few weeks have been, ummm... interesting.

It all started a few weeks ago when, after a bike ride, CatMan noticed a bug bite that just looked a bit "off."

He didn't think much of it at first, but after a day or two when it didn't get better, he finally when to the doctor... whereupon they took one look at him and nearly admitted him to the hospital! Apparently that red streak is bad news - it means that there's an infection that is heading toward the nearest lymph node where it can quickly become systemic and lead to sepsis. After some bloodwork they determined that it hadn't yet spread, so he got to go home with some hefty antibiotics, and he's now doing much better.

Fast forward a week or so, and we went for another bike ride... after which I noticed a strange bug bite on my leg. It was only about the size of a pencil eraser, but it had an odd dent in the middle. After CatMan's experience, I decided to watch it closely, and by the next morning it looked like this.

By that evening it had swollen up more (the yellow is magic marker so I could judge if it was growing)

And by the time I went to the doctor a day or two later it had progressed to this vision of loveliness:

Holy Kazoli! So I'm on hefty antibiotics now too, and CatMan and I are left scratching our heads trying to figure out what the heck is going on!

I mean, up until this whole little adventure started to unfold, neither one of us had ever considered that something as trivial as a bug bite could get infected to the point where it would require anything more serious than some antibiotic ointment. Then suddenly within the span of a few weeks we both end up with serious infections from bug bites?!? It all strikes me as a very odd and disconcerting coincidence.

To make it all the more puzzling, neither one of us has any idea what bit or stung us. In both cases we didn't notice the bite or sting as it happened - only later. And in both cases it either went through our clothes or somehow got into our clothing. Yikes!

It sorta has us wondering if there's some strange new insect out there carrying an infections bacteria or maybe we've karmically offended some force in the insect world. I suppose we'll probably never know, but we're both just hoping to avoid any further encounters.

Anyhoo… to make matters stranger, I was walking my neighbor's dog for her when she was out of town a few weeks back, when suddenly this woman a few houses down came running out of the house and started screaming a pile of obscenities at me, accusing me of having an affair with her husband. She had a truly bizarre litany of accusations dating back at least TEN YEARS! WTF!?!?

It totally freaked me out, so I called the cops who said there's nothing I can do other than avoid her. So I called my neighbor (the one whose dog I was walking) and she promptly erupted into "Oh my God... she did the exact same thing to me!"

Good Gawd! I mean, I think this woman probably has serious psychiatric problems, but I really don't relish the idea of ending up on the receiving end of her psychosis. So I've installed a security system and rearranged all of my routes so I never go past that house anymore. So far the only things the cameras have picked up are the comings and goings of the neighborhood cats, and an occasional raccoon.

Oh, and speaking of cats, my sweet Jasper kitty got sick.

We think it was just a bladder infection, and he's much improved after a round of antibiotics... but both his bloodwork and an X-ray turned up some somewhat concerning things - like he may be in the early stages of kidney failure and his bladder seems very oddly shaped. At the moment we're just keeping an eye on him and we'll do further tests if he starts to show any more symptoms... but honestly, it just makes me sick to my stomach to contemplate having to get back into sick kitty land. Sigh.

And don't even get me started on the insanity unfolding on the nightly news. Lordy! It sorta feels like the whole world (nature included) has gone stark raving mad.

OK, perhaps that's venturing into hyperbole just a tad bit, but I do admit I haven't exactly felt either centered  or gounded lately.

In other news, my little feral friend is doing well.

He's a boy, BTW - and while he still has to hiss at me every time I bring him food, he lets me get within a few feet as long as I don't look directly at him and move very slowly.

But craziness aside, CatMan and I have been riding up a storm and having a great time, so I'll leave you with some slightly more positive photos from recent bike rides:

Hope you're all having a wonderful summer, and staying clear of biting insects, crazy neighbors, heat waves, fires, floods, and random infections!


  1. I’ve had infected insect bites like the one you had- a couple of times I have needed antibiotics but more recently I have drawn round them to check on their progress abd noticed them getting better before I felt that it was critical to go to the doctor. No idea what causes them!
    Bites can be nasty, a friend of a friend got bitten by a horsefly recently, which resulted in him being found collapsed in a hotel room- it must have got infected pretty quickly!

    Thankfully I have no experience of being yelled at by people whilst dog walking!

    Good to hear that outdoor kitty is doing well, though sad to hear about Jasper’s health issues- fingers crossed it was just a bladder infection.

    Your bike ride photos are great- you see lots of varied things!

    1. Who knew infected bug bites were so common? Apparently I've just been lucky up until now. Your friend's situation sounds really scary. Good thing they found him in time.

  2. Wow, this post could be called antibiotics for everybody! I have also taken a lot of antibiotics lately because my appendix burst. The one time I freaked out about a bug bite (it kept getting bigger and bigger) it turned out to be a spider bite and something to just wait out. Oh, well, good to check.

    I loved your pictures at the end that you took yourself. Thanks for sharing. (Okay, also the first picture. Hilarious.)

    1. Hahahah! I'm picturing Oprah tossing penicillin into the audience. "You get some antibiotics! And you get some antibiotics! And you get some antibiotics!"

      Anyhow, I think I'll take an infected bug bite over a burs appendix any day. That sounds pretty serious. Did you have to have emergency surgery?

    2. Yes, but there was a surgeon there just finishing up, so it worked out for me. Oh, and I hadn't eaten or drunk for a while (also required for surgery), so that worked out, too.

    3. I'm glad it worked out so well, but it still sounds pretty scary. So glad you're OK!

  3. I have had bug bite problems before, but a lady yelling at me about having an affair with her husband, never. Thank goodness because that's scary. Since she did it to your neighbor, hopefully she'll move on soon to the next victim.

    Sorry that Jasper is having problems. I'm afraid that we will be in sick kitty land for a while here with one cat who is 18 and two who are 15. I am thrilled to have had them this long, but the elderly years are never fun. Also, I have wondered about your outdoor cat and whether or not he had joined you inside or not at this point. I still think that will happen with time.

    1. Yes, the crazy lady incident was totally... well... crazy! I think she's suffering from some sort of delusions. The part that really freaked me out was how long she'd been harboring these weird ideas. In his previous life, CatMan worked at a mental health hospital (he was a psych tech). Anyhow, he has lots of experience dealing with seriously psychotic behavior, and he basically said that people suffering from delusions grab onto outward stimuli in an effort to explain some inward feeling. So your best course of action is to not be available to be grabbed onto! He also said that past behavior tends to be the best indicator of future behavior, so I ran background checks on both her and her husband. They both came up clean, so that made me a bit less scared. But you know, with all the things I've worried about over the years in terms of living alone, I've gotta say, this one was not on the list!

      I'm really hoping that Jasper's issues were just an isolated incident. But I'm also trying to remind myself that it's not something I can control, and ultimately, I just have to take it one day at a time and roll with the punches. You are so lucky to have kitties who have lived so long. I don't have a great track record in that department - probably because all of my cats have been rescued strays. I'm trying not to develop a complex over it. But no matter the age or circumstances, sick kitty land is no fun. At least giving him pills was super easy. I just put them in a gel cap, smeared some cream cheese on it, stuck some bits of chicken to the outside, and he gobbled them right up! :)

  4. Wow you have had a time of it! Crazy! Tonight I had some crazy too. Came home from work and found that my door was open and one of the back bedroom doors were open. Unless I have had a very precipitous mental decline in the last 24 hours, someone was in my house! Thing is, as far as I can tell, they stole nothing. So .. . . yeh. Looking forward to leaving my job September 16, I just remember it's taken me about 10 years to do it, it all started with me reading your blog. Not sure what is next, I live in a very expensive place so in a year at the latest I will need some income again, but I just want to give you credit for encouraging me to question some things, so thank you!

    1. OMG... that would TOTALLY freak me out! In fact, one time when I was in college I came home and became convinced that someone had been in the house because the front door was locked - and we didn't actually have keys to this house (tiny college town) so we never locked the door. Anyhow, I called my boyfriend who was several states away and was telling him how freaked out I was. So I'm on the phone with him, searching the entire house with a fire poker in my hand, turning on every light - and apparently so doing I stirred up a bat, because one flew out of the air duct and came straight at my head... at which point I dropped the phone and fire poker and started running away from the bat screaming "Help! Help! Get away from me!" Meanwhile, several states away, my poor boyfriend was sure the axe murderer was coming after me. My oh my! A few weeks later we discovered that if you slammed the front door just right, the bolt would fall on the ancient lock causing the door to be locked... so... no axe murderers, just stray bats. It made for a good story though!

      Anyhow, I'm so happy for you that you're leaving your job - I'm assuming that's a happy good thing. I'm honored to have played some small part in your upcoming freedom, and hopefully you'll come up with an arrangement (either job-free income, or a cheaper living situation) in the near future. I always figure that the worst thing that could possibly happen is that you'd have to go get another job. So congratulations!

  5. How strange! On almost all fronts! And all of you on antibiotics. Isn't it amazing how we get bitten, bruised and otherwise injured without a clue as to how it happened? We get strange bites that we generally attribute to spiders, but nothing that ever gets infected like that.

    I also wanted to post, like Stefani, that you and CatMan have inspired me to ditch the working world too. I hope I can avoid your experience with bugs, though...

    1. Ha! Let's hope that there's no meaningful correlation between horrible insect bites and job-free living! You're so sweet to say that I've somehow inspired you. I really hope your new job-free existence works out well! :-)

  6. Hi--I'm late to the party--we just got back from Colorado. When we were near Lily Lake at RMNP on the Estes Park side, they had some sort of signage out about a bug that was causing infections. Sorry I don't remember what the infection (or the bug) was but maybe that's enough information for you to research? Hope you are doing better and yes, whenever you see red areas or especially red streaks on your skin, please get it checked out for infection! Hope the antibiotics are working well. I still think your stray cat is a beauty!

  7. Yikes, I hope you don't have any recurrence of those bites. As soon as I saw the red streak, even before reading that text around it, I thought that looks really bad and worrisome!

    We had bizarre and evil neighbors at the last place so I'm hoping we don't have any more for a while longer here.


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