Monday, June 11, 2007

Warning: Don't Read If you Are Easily Grossed Out

So, more on the ER visit from last night.

Kurt and I got a bunch of mosquito bites while in Belize. This is common with walking in the jungle, hiking, etc. It happens to us on like every trip we take, really. Anyway. They usually go away fairly quickly. Since we got back though, we have both had several bites that have not gone away, and have actually been somewhat painful. Painful enough that I wake up in the middle of the night in pain. For those of you who don't know me well, I never wake up in the middle of the night. I am like the soundest sleeper ever. I basically blew it off, thinking I just had really sensitive bites, but Kurt decided to try and look up the symptoms online last night. He was starting to think we were bit by something maybe poisonous, or perhaps a tick, or something similar. Umm, yea.

So, he finds several articles where people who have travelled to Central America are listing our exact symptons. Sharp pains, bug bites that seem to get bigger, etc. And they are listing the culprit as a nondeadly, non poisonous bug called a Botfly.

This is where is gets disgusting.

Basically, mosquitos in the jungle pick up the eggs of the botfly and carry them around. When they sting someone, they deposit the eggs in your skin. Then, STOP READING if you can't take this, the eggs basically grow into larvae in your skin and turn into small creatures that kinda resemble a maggot. They are basically living underneath your skin. This condition is called myiasis and is actually fairly commonin Africa, and Central America, as well as South America. there have even been cases in the United States, although much rare.

We still don't know at this point what is going on, because you know what they say about self diagnosis when you are not a doctor. But, we decide to go to the ER anyway.

Get there and are ironically seen by a doctor who used to live in Columbia, which has this bug there too. He looked at our bites, prescribed us an antibiotic and told us that we needed to see a dermatoligist the next day in Monroe, as we needed biopsies taken of the area for testing.

So today, the appointment. We went together, but they put us in different rooms. The doctor started with Kurt, and then came in for me. He told me he cut one of Kurt's open and found nothing. So, I was thinking, "Maybe we are nuts..." They started with one bite I had on my side, kinda right below my bra line on the right hand side. They numbed the area (which was the only part of the procedure that even hurt), by giving me 5 shots around the bite. After that set in, they did the biopsy, which was basically cutting about a one quarter inch piece of skin out at the bite area and taking a sample of the area. The next thing the doctor says is "well, I guess you are not as lucky as your husband, you have a little friend!" Yes, I have the larvae in my body. Nice. And, it was alive. So nice. DISGUSTING. Anyway, he asked if I wanted to treat the other two or wait, and of course, I was like, let's get this over with. So, they numbed the other two on my legs, and found "friends" in each of those two.

The doctor was beyond excited. I am glad someone was, LOL. He kept having different nurses, etc. come in to watch my procedure and was taking pictures and just raving about how "cool" this was.....HA. I am glad I made his year, anyway.

Went into the waiting room and told Kurt that they found 3 in me. He insisted on going back because he was convinced they missed someone on him. So, the doc opened up 2 more wounds and found two "friends" on Kurt too. He wont do more than 3 biopsies a day on one person, so Kurt has to go back next Monday for the search for more. He was not happy about this as he wanted it all done on one day. Oh, I got to watch Kurt's second procedures, and it was actually pretty interesting. I never thought I could be the doctor type and watch stuff like that, but it did not bother me at all.

So, I guess that's the end of the story with this one. I am now hurting from where the stitches are allowing my skin to grow back together, ugh.

Everyone kept asking if this would deter our travel in the future, and of course it won't. It is an experience I will for sure never forget though, and not a souvenir I *wanted* to have from Belize.......


Jerry said...

Sorry to hear of your botfly experience. But it is a part of bush walking in certain areas of Belize. However there is no need for surgery or stitches. All you need is a dressing to hold a large lump of petroleum jelly over the bite for an hour or two. The worm will come out by itself.

Amanda said...

Oh, yuck. Well, I'm glad you found out what it was and got them taken care of. That's actually good info to know for anyone who travels (ever).
Tell you what, I don't care what Jerry says, if I KNOW that thing is there, I want it out now. Numbing the area and cutting it sounds less painful than "smoking" it out. Eew.

Lori Anne Haskell said...

amanda: Yea, I am with you. I had no interest in self-remedies, at least for this situation. Kurt and I would both be totally freaked trying to attempt to do this ourselves. Ugh.

And Jerry, i did read about these remedies online, but there is no way my husband and I could have handled that, LOL. We are wimps with living creatures living inside us. Oh wait, maybe because it has never happened to me! Aargh. :).

Kelsie said...

Yikes! I was worried about getting one when we went to Costa Rica. Thankfully, we didn't get one. However, Deep Forest Off was one of my best friends on that trip. I was a little OCD about keeping it on my body b/c I had read about the botflies before we left.

Jason said...

Sometimes, for no particular reason, I'll follow a link from a comment page to someone else's home. This is the first time I've ever done this and had the 'introductory' post be about bodily insect infestation.

You excel at first impressions.

Jerry said...

Hey Lori.
Thing is, would you take the beef worm out by surgery if you were still in the bush?
I get two or three a month when I am out walking, and have to take them out by myself.
If you go to a doctor in Belize he will either put steak on it or Petroleum Jelly as this is the least invasive way of getting them out.

Lori Anne Haskell said...


Glad I made a good first impression, LOL.


Maybe if I lived in Belize and this occurred all the time I would try the home remedies, I don't really know......:). guess we will find out when I move there someday!

Crazymrsnancy said...

Ack! Can you claim them as dependants on your taxes? hehe sorry, you know me, never know what to say.. hope your 'friends' rot in hell!

Hobby Chef said...

Eeeeeeekkkkkkk! Lori, that is so disgusting. I'm glad you got them out - there's something to be said for self-diagnosis, I think!

donr said...

your gross, that's gross, why would you go somewhere, where you can get something like that. it's almost like having sex with someone who you know has a disease and you do not use protection or let alone just have sex with them.....and by the way why would you tell strangers your personal business bloggin is stupid. my friend told me about how nasty you were so i just had to see for myself and they were right

Lori Anne Haskell said...

AHAHAHAHAHAHA. Don, you are great. umm, no idea where to start. Let's see. There are botflies in the United States. so in essence, if you live here, you can get the same thing you got in Belize. Also, I did use "protection", as in bug spray. And seriously, my blog is for my friends and family. If you really have that much time on your hands to criticize those you don't know, I truly feel sorry for you. Thanks for the analogies and laughs though, and LOVE your grammar. Classic.

MissThang said...

I was reading this post to Josh and he made me stop and started making this gagging sound--apparently he's far more squeamish about this stuff than I am ;)

Hope you're feeling better soon.


Wayne said...

I got my first Dermatobia Hominis in Belize in 2005. I couldn't find anyone here in Alaska who could help other than to say to put antibiotics on it - big help. I finally found a dermatologist who had never seen one but knew what they were. Hetoo was very excited about it. Bynthat time it was quite parge and very painful.

In 2006 no botflies from Belize but in 2007 I ended up with a total of seven. All of them were dealt with in Belize by taping a few strands of tobacco from a cigarette tightly over the opening. Usually in 24 hours they were dead and could be carefully squeezed out. But you have to get them early on. My 2005 version, Howard, was way too big to be squeezed out by that time. Plus, he was in my scalp where the 2007 batch were in fleshier places like my legs, back and hands. The tobacco thing sounds gross but it was shown to me by an expert in tropical medecine in the BDF. He deals with MUCH worse - like Leishmeniasis. Look that one up for a REAL scare.

See you back on the Belize Forums......


Cynthia said...

Now it's been awhile since I read your blog my love and I am just shocked. You poor baby! I am easily sickened especially in my current stage but I could not stop reading. I am so glad that you guys when to the doctor.

Craig said...

Lori, where did you travel in Belize when you picked up the botflies?

Lori Anne Haskell said...


We were all over the place, from the San Ignacio area, to the and South all the way to Punta Gorda. I have no idea where we picked it up, but if I had to guess, my guess would be the Cockscomb Basin Jungle.