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2009-08-02 - 9:45 a.m.

...good night sleep tight don't let the bed bugs bite??...

About a week ago I mentioned that Susi's skin had erupted with large spots on her arms and legs. K took her to the doctor on Monday morning - she couldn't identify the spots and so she gave us a benadryl cream to deal with the swelling - these spots were sometimes quarter-sized welts (Canadian quarters, which are slightly smaller...), and advised us to keep the girl out of the sun.

In spite of the break in the heat, the spots have continued to appear, and we became alarmed yesterday when she woke up with one right on the corner of her eye. By the afternoon, Susi's eye had begun to swell in a rather startling way.

The First Law of Illness states that the worst symptoms shall arrive on the First Day of the Long Weekend. Ahem - Happy BC Day everyone!!! As far as I can tell, BC Day is a doctor's holiday (if they can have Bank Holidays in the UK, why not Doctor's Holidays in BC?). Not only were all doctor's offices closed, all walk-in clinics are closed as well. Some until Tuesday. Do you think that all doctors have gone to the same barbecue??

Anyway, we finally found a clinic that was almost open. I say - ALMOST - because there were two people inside shaking their heads at us. One woman came to the door and said that they had been trying to find doctors with office hours for patients for the past hour. She then took one look at Susi and said, "Oh my god!" A nurse's startled response to our baby's appearance convinced us that the Emergency Room at Children's Hospital was in our near future.

We packed books and water and cheerios and cheese sticks and went off to wait. When the nurse saw Susi's bumps, she put us in a closed room - a sort of unofficial quarantine for a baby who might have an unknown virus. (!!)

K and I spent the next few hours entertaining Susi in a tiny room with exposed outlets and lots of cool emergency equipment...The child is itchy, but she is not deathly ill. We amused her as long as we could with peekaboo.

Finally the doctors came in ... in special yellow quarantine coats. And the senior doc said, "they look like bed bug bites to me."


We had lots of questions about this. How could it be bed bugs - where could they appear from? Why are K and I not bitten, especially when Susi has been sleeping in bed on the top porch with me for a portion of the night for the last couple of days?

Well, further thought makes me think that his theory isn't so whacky. We stayed in a hotel in Seattle two weeks ago. Susi slept in a port-a-crib there, and the first bites began appearing a few days after that. The welts seem to show up after sleeping, and a quick search of the web suggests that not all people are affected by the bites (~50% show no symptoms at all). The web also is a mine field of disgusting photos of bed bug bites, some of which look a little bit like Susi's pretty scary welts.

So what does this mean? First of all, we are on a wait list to see a pediatric dermatologist to confirm the diagnosis. (She is apparently one of the best pediatric dermatologists in the world). We should get an appointment this week.

The second implication: Wash Day has taken on a whole new meaning in the teranika household. We've started with ALL of the bedding, which needs to be washed and dried on the hottest temperatures - TWICE. We also have a massive pile of baby clothing - Susi's entire wardrobe - waiting in the washing queue. And then we have our own bedding. And of course then there are the stuffed animals. And all of the hand-made quilts. I have a feeling that this will be more than a one-day activity...

Following that, we may have to deal with bed bug exterminators. I had one look at what this entails and felt a pit in my stomach. Please oh please, let the linens be the trick...

So...there is still a chance that these AREN'T bed bugs. The good part of that - no expensive exterminators. And we have clean sheets. But then again... if not bed bugs, then what???

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