Fever, Fire & Water

I see I have some catching up to do.

Last Tuesday night I started to feel like I was coming down with something, which was not surprising since Xy and Persephone have both been under the weather. When I woke up Wednesday I was feverish, but it was a big day for me, so I took some ibuprofen carried on. I conducted a session at work and then I rode down to the Presbytère for the “Katrina 5.0” symposium.

(I will pointedly refrain from grumbling about the fact that I showed up late for the panel. I was told 7:00PM and everyone else was told 5:30. Because I came “early” I didn’t miss much. Imagine my surprise when I was ushered into a room full of people, with the panel in full swing, and one empty seat — mine. It all worked out in the end, except that I was a little disoriented. The fever didn’t help. My only real regret was I missed my chance to read a post from this blog to the audience.)

By Thursday I was feeling worse, and as it turns out my doctor doesn’t “do” Thursdays. Xy’s doctor was on vacation, but I scrounged up an appointment with one of his partners. “Can you be here in 15 minutes?” Not quite — it’s a 25 minute bike ride. But I got a prescription for a Z-pack. I slept much of the afternoon.

Friday I took Persephone to the doctor, and she got on some amoxicillin. I kept her out of daycare. Soon our old friend Sue flew into town. The three of us went out for lunch, then walked through the rain to the University for a quick (and wet) tour of campus.

That evening Xy visited a walk-in clinic. (She has a one-month gap in health insurance coverage which is wreaking havoc on us in many ways. What a system.) So now she’s on amoxicillin as well. The whole family is on antibiotics.

Next day was Rising Tide 5. This is the why Sue was visiting. The conference was excellent, as always. I’ve posted a couple dozen photos.

By Sunday I was feeling almost 100%. Before taking Sue to the airport, we decided to do a brief disaster tour. We stopped by the New Orleans Katrina Memorial, which is in our neighborhood, and bumped into some guy named Mitch Landrieu. (Sunday was the fifth anniversary of Katrina’s landfall.) We drove through Lakeview and tried to visit the lake, but what with the road construction I couldn’t figure how to get there. We visited the site of the London Avenue Canal breach in Gentilly, then headed to the Lower Ninth Ward.

It was there that I took the following picture.

Oops

Unremarkable, except for the fact that I was standing in a nest of fire ants when I took it.

And I was wearing sandals.

Now if you’re ready for a somewhat disgusting sight, here’s what my foot looked like a couple days later.
Continue reading “Fever, Fire & Water”

Ouch

As I was walking to the Post Office Saturday morning, some jackass asked me for directions. I stepped up to his car, and when we were finished talking, I realized I was standing on an ant hill.

Foot

Actually the guy wasn’t a jackass at all. He was very polite. But my foot is now covered with 16 fire ant bites (or are they stings?) and I’ve got to blame somebody.

Update: I got stung Saturday morning, but the irritation didn’t really begin until Sunday, with pustules in full effect by Monday morning. I took a couple sick days because it just wasn’t comfortable to wear a shoe. Now it’s Friday and the pustules are starting to diminish. I used some topical hydrocortisone to relieve the itching at first, but then I remembered the hot water method. Years ago I discovered this was a great way to deal with poison ivy, and it works for fire ants too. Just bathe in water hot as you can stand, and the itching goes away for hours. Ralph Robert Moore explains it this way:

The itching is caused by histamines produced by the insect bite or poison ivy rash. Exposing the affected area to hot water draws the histamines to the surface of the skin, where they are washed away.

I don’t know if that’s just his speculation or if there’s scientific research to back it up, but one things for sure: it works.