The dumbest injury in the history of injuries

I have not run since last Wednesday and for the stupidest reason ever. Even stupider than the time I strained my Achilles on the dance floor.

But before I give you the gory details, let me recap the events that lead to my condition. Boston –> Chicago Road Trip 2012.

Day 1: It’s 2:05 PM and I’m all packed for my 4 PM flight to Boston. Killing time before I need to leave, I hop online to check my flight status. It turns out that I’m an idiot and my flight actually leaves at 3PM…in 55 minutes.

After thwarting the speed limit and parking in the most expensive (read: closest to terminal) airport lot, I get to security with just enough cushion. Panting and sweaty, I call Meg to inform her that I will “probably” make my flight. We agree that the situation is pretty funny and, unfortunately, not terribly surprising.

I inquire about the status of her packing. She tells me that we’ll need to paint her apartment that night. In the dark, because all of the lamps are packed. We agree that this, too, is about par for the course. We are a mess.

Day 2: Departure from Boston!

And we drove all the way to Chicago holding a mattress on the roof! Just kidding, we were just driving it half a block to the dumpster. Working smarter, right there.

It’s late afternoon by the time we leave, so we don’t get very far. We make it just across the state line to New York, landing at the small-town home of Meg’s in-laws, who shower us with food and booze. Good people.

Day 3: …doesn’t start until almost noon. Whoops.

I go for a five-mile run and it’s postcard pretty:

And I see an herding dog actually herding sheep. Or maybe they’re goats. Bleating white creatures. I don’t know, I’m a city girl.

We lounge at the in-laws’ pool for most of the day (amazing) and finally get back on the road late in the afternoon. We’re making great time…until our brush with the law.

Officer: “Is it just you two and the dog?”

Oh no, there are three more people and a sheep/goat in the trunk, officer…

Officer: “Do you realize I clocked you going 80 miles an hour?”

Sir, have you seen our vehicle? A ten-year-old Hyundai Elantra? With the check engine light on? Are we even capable of going that fast?

Sigh.

We proceed at a considerably slower speed to the fine city of Buffalo – well, Buffalo Adjacent. Tired and grimy from our day of pool lounging, we bypass the Chippewa street bars and Niagara casinos in favor of a pet-friendly Econolodge on the edge of town.

We ask about nearby dining options, and the clerk highly recommends “The Warehouse,” which is conveniently located at the back of the motel parking lot.

Really? A place called The Warehouse adjacent to an Econolodge with a bunch of semi trucks parked outside…and you’re telling me it isn’t a strip club?

Nope, as it turns out, just a sports bar. And the food is not bad.

When in Buffalo…

And I have some beer that I probably don’t need, but let’s face it: my diet has consisted mostly of Chex Mix and Sour Patch Kids and Diet Coke for the last three days. Not exactly a banner week for nutrition.

With full bellies, we wander back to our room. We’re on the ground floor at the back of the motel, facing a storage facility that looks like a good place to cook up some meth.

At least we have Stewie the redheaded terrier to protect us.

(As long as you don’t interrupt his 23 hours a day of sleeping, that is. Most adorably lazy dog I have ever met.)

Day 4: Otherwise known as the day we shall conquer Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana.

But ten minutes back on I-90 and that damn engine light…starts flashing. And the transmission gets all jerky if you try to speed up or slow down.

I’m riding shotgun, so I fish around in the glove compartment until I find the owner’s manual, which offers no guidance other than to “consult an authorized Hyundai dealer.”

Meg and I exchange a look. We are more likely to consult a pay-per-minute psychic than we are to consult an authorized Hyundai dealer. I pull out my phone and turn to Google Mechanic.

Within twenty minutes, I’ve confidently diagnosed our problem (catalytic convertor – duh), identified the risks of ignoring it, and researched the replacement cost of the part.

“Listen to this!” I exclaim, and begin to quote from the totally legitimate and 100% factual message board I’m reading: “Sometimes, the problem can be resolved by running the engine for a long period of time under a heavy load, causing the buildup to effectively burn itself off.”

Long time, heavy load? We’ve been leadfooting for three days now and the car is packed to the gills with shit. We’re golden.

We pass through Cleveland, my onetime home, and I wave hello to Jacobs Field-slash-whatever the hell they’re calling it now. Go Tribe!

And onward we press to our destination: Chesterton, Indiana…home of the world famous Indiana Dunes.

Finally, we get to break out the camping gear!

Meg sets up camp while I take a quick trip back to town for firewood, a flashlight, hot dogs, and a box of wine. (The latter being “strictly prohibited” by the campground, but…WTF, Indiana? Who camps sober?)

And now the car is working fine. The check engine light is still on, but it’s no longer flashing, and the weird jerky-transmission thing is gone. We fixed it! By being nonchalant and irresponsible, we fixed it! Hooray for us.

So we celebrate by sitting around the fire talking for several hours, which is quite remarkable considering that we had already been talking nonstop for the entire week. (Seriously: we didn’t turn on the car radio once during this trip. We just talked. This is why Meg will always be one of my best friends.)

Anyway. If you’re still with me here, I’m finally getting to the part of this story where I get the dumbest injury in the history of injuries.

I’m giving you a scroll down warning here, because these pictures are disgusting.

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Those are mosquito bites. On our night of camping, I had (responsibly, so I thought) donned jeans and a sweatshirt so I wouldn’t get eaten alive. But I was wearing flip-flops and, uh, wasn’t wearing gloves…so the little shits just attacked my hands and feet instead.

My right foot happens to be the worst, although both feet and hands are pretty chewed up. Bites cover the tops of my feet and all of my toes and wrap around the inside of my arch. In places, you can’t even pick out individual bites – it’s just one continuous welt.

My right foot is so swollen it won’t fit in any of my shoes. Walking (even just around the house) rubs the bites, especially the ones on the underside of my arches, and makes them itch desperately and puff up like shitty little marshmallows over a campfire. Heat and sweat makes the whole situation ten times worse. Obviously, running is out of the question.

And holy hell, it itches. The only thing that stops the itching is a regimen of ice baths, calamine lotion, and oral antihistamine. So I spent most of the weekend on the couch, doing just that.

Okay, I’ll stop with the pictures. Sorry.

At one point when I was bored on the couch and applying calamine for the six hundredth time, I tried to count the number of bites on my right foot. There are at least 100.

I really don’t even know what to say about this. I’ve always been allergic/reactionary when it comes to bug bites, and am often the person in a group who gets disproportionately bitten, but…this is just insane. (Meg had some bites too, but just a handful: a normal amount you’d expect to endure on a one-night camping trip.)

Also: it’s not like I’ve never been camping before. I’m a pretty outdoorsy person. I’ve camped all over the country. I’ve never experienced anything like this. (I actually have a routine physical scheduled this week and will definitely ask my doctor about it…and possibly get tested for West Nile Virus.)

Anyway…that’s my excuse for last week’s paltry mileage. I realize it sounds ridiculous to say I can’t run because of my mosquito bites. But…I can’t run because of my mosquito bites.

Dumbest injury ever.

And, unlike Meg’s plucky little Hyundai, I don’t think it’s going to be fixed by running for a long time under a heavy load.

38 responses to “The dumbest injury in the history of injuries

  1. At least it comes with a good story…??

    But seriously, that sucks, a lot. And I’d imagine its agonizing. I’d plant my butt in a rolly computer chair and not use my feet until it stops itching!

  2. Omg, I am so sorry! Mosquitos love to eat me – my bites swell up to the size of half dollars. I have one on the bottom of my foot right now! I’ve never had anything nearly as terrible as 100 bites though – I am so sorry!

    Weird thing that made the itching stop – clear nail polish on the bites. I don’t know how it will help with the entire foot being one large mosquito buffet, but if you get really desperate, it’s worth a shot, right? I had five different bug bite creams and that was the only thing that made the itching actually be tolerable. Swimming also helped me – possibly the chlorine in the water shrunk the bites?

    Good luck!

    • I actually thought about going for a swim (like, as a workout) but wondered about the chlorine. Interesting that it helped you! Maybe I’ll hit the pool after all.

  3. WTF?!??!? Sweet Christ, I have never seen bug bites like that. You poor thing :( I would be taking a bottle of vodka to the face. And can you get like some kind of shot to help with it? Maybe a Cortisone shot? Am I just making that up? I really should have gone to medical school… anyways, feel better!! xo

  4. OMG!!! I’ve never seen mosquito bites like that before! Holy cow–that’s absolutely crazy–and I can’t even begin to imagine what that feels like! Eeek!

  5. I got stung by a bee on my toe earlier this summer and couldn’t run for a week since it was so swollen. I feel your pain.

    • That is so brutal!

      I cut my foot swimming in the ocean (I think on coral??) and couldn’t run for several days. It was painful. Ouch.

  6. Doesn’t look like mosquito bites — looks like you stepped in poison ivy, oak, or sumac. That’s an allergic reaction if I’ve ever seen one. You might need a steriod. Go to the doctor!

    And feel better soon!

    • That would make sense, but it’s on my hands too!

      • Did you touch your feet maybe? I agree, it looks more rashy than bug bitey. Also, BARF EWWW SO SORRY LOOKS AWFUL.

        • Are they on your face as well?! If they were Mosquitos are typically attracted to the CO2 we exhale and would have surely gone after your face, regrettably, too. What I’m saying is … I’m in the poison ivy/sumac camp on this one. Yikes it looks terribly painful and itchy. No matter what woodland evil got you I hope you recover quickly.

          • There are a few on my neck as well as on the small of my back.

            The weird thing is, we were camping on, like, SAND, in a big open area. There was very little vegetation around. But it’s totally possible it could be from some sort of plant, or maybe sand fleas (ew).

            Regardless, it’s doing a little better. Thanks!

  7. Ow! And bug bites are the gift that keeps on giving because you WANT TO SCRATCH but you know you shouldn’t. Glad you had a fun trip otherwise. Hope you get some relief soon.

  8. Holy shit! I’ve never seen bug bites that bad! =(

    I’m really sensitive to bug bites as well. I hope you get some relief soon. If it’s not cleared up by the time you see your doc for steriods, that’ll clear it up much quicker and have your itch-free sooner.

  9. Holy shit! I’ve seen bad bug bites before but I’ve never seen anything like that!!

  10. Yeah, as a similarly sensitive-to-bites lady, this is my freaking nightmare. I am now wary of hydrocortisone cream because earlier this summer I used enough that I ended up having some kind of reaction and puking in the middle of the night in a hotel bathroom, but the liquid anti-itch stuff works OK for me. Stupid bugs.

  11. That looks so awful! Hope you get better soon!

  12. Omg… I have never seen a mosquito attack that bad before! That is truly amazing. And I think you will win every other kind of “guess what happened to me” story. Of all time.

  13. You drove near Crapchester and didn’t even say hi? BITCH WHATEVER.

    But omg your foot. That’s fucking disgusting. Oddly, I had a few clustered bug bites on my face and ended up with an inflamed cyst. So, you’re not the only one.

    • Ha, I was just going to say the same about Indiana. WHORE.

      • I totally thought about swinging by both of your houses to moon you. :)

        Seriously tho, with a malfunctioning vehicle and a dog we were just trying not to add too much extra mileage.

  14. I think I still have you beat. I ran myself over with a car. That looks awful, though.

  15. oh. my. god. that looks awful and ridiculously itchy!

  16. I got 30 or so bites on the patio last week but nothing like that! I’m also always the one person who gets attacked. And yeah, it SUPER SUCKS when you have them on the bottom of your feet.

    If I were you I’d see about getting something a little stronger…like Heroin.

  17. Sweet Jeeee-sus, woman, that is AWFUL. I am so sorry! And, there goes my plan to try to convince you to run the (FLAT!) Wheelbarrow 5k in Reynoldstown on Saturday…. : (

    Hope you recover very very very soon!

    • I’m going to try running today; I might be in for a little weekend racing action if it goes well! It’s hard to pass up a flat race around here.

  18. HOLY CRAP. That SUCKS. Have you ever heard the theory that bugs like blood from people who are less stressed out? My husband and I have proven this to be true: He ALWAYS gets bit (he’s quite laid back) and I NEVER get bit (not so laid back). So, on the bright side, maybe this means you are just an extremely chill person?? 😉
    Good luck with that. Yikes.

  19. I once had a similar experience with hundreds of bug bites (I think they were from black flies) while mountain biking in Vermont. My legs were so swollen, then got infected and I had to take antibiotics. It was really gross! So I totally feel your pain!!! (and I don’t mountain bike anymore, ever.)

    • I mountain biked once. It mostly consisted of me squealing and braking. :)

      Infection from bites…yuck. Amazing the damage that tiny little insects can do!

  20. You’re right. That is a dumb injury. And impressive as fuck. I remember one camping trip when 2 of my cousins (probably tweenish) decided to sleep outside one night. They had about 20 bites each and until now, I thought that was a lot. Once you can walk again, I suggest just walking around and telling people about your 100 bites because people should buy you drinks for that.

  21. Jimmy and I were biking at a state park/swamp last weekend where the mosquitoes were INSANE. Really, INSANE. You could hear them buzzing in your ears and every time we slowed down I could see them covering Jimmy’s shirt and we both had on bug repellent. I am also always the one who turns into the mosquito buffet, so I finally wised up and keep the Off Natural lotion in my car at all times. I HATE the way bug spray smells, even the “unscented”, so I like the lotion because it’s not greasy and it smells nice. Not my skin feels dry so I’ll put some on nice, but I don’t feel the overwhelming need to shower the second I put it on nice and if I’m camping or drunk when I get home (the more likely scenario) it doesn’t bother me to go to sleep without washing it off first. It was no match for those f’ers. We stopped by Walgreens on the way back to the hotel looking for a spray with the highest possible amount of deet. After deciding on the 30% Off Deep Woods variety, I noticed a tiny bottle of spray…98.25% deet!!! We ended up buying both. Frankly it scares me and I’m convinced this super strength variety will instantly give me cancer, but I wanted to be prepared since we were going hiking the next day. Fortunately the Deep Woods turned out to be sufficient, although the park we went to the next day wasn’t in the swamp. Looking at the pictures of your feet I would have gladly sprayed cancer directly on myself. Anyway, I wanted to share in case you didn’t know about the super strength Off, and also to encourage you to permanently keep bug spray in your suitcase and glove compartment so you never have to post pictures of your feet looking like that again. 😉

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  24. OMG. That makes me want to scratch them for you. I always always, get the worst bites when no one else gets bitten. Seems like you got swarmed. I am sooo sorry.

  25. How in the world did you not wake up itching? That amount of bites didn’t occur in a 5 minute period. They would have kept coming at you all night. Which gives the stuff they inject into you time to start itching. After a few bites i would have woken up just from the need to scratch. But after the 50th bite? Come on. You may be a deep deep sleeper but that many bites would have had to have woken you up. I’m down for the poison oak/ivy possibility myself. Here’s what happened: While you were sleeping, some little forest creatures like maybe squirrels, gathered up some poison ivy…no, cause they’re afraid of it. Ummm, I know!! Little forest elves!! That’s it! They are immune to everything except horseshoes. Many have been found in the morning around horseshoe pits dead, their little bodies laying motionless in pools of green blood after getting beaned in the head by flying horseshoes. Tragic, really. So the elves gathered up all the poison oak/ivy they could find and rubbed it all over your feet!
    One last question: How the hell does anyone sleep with flip flops on?