Daily Prompt: What’s the best story someone else has recently told you (in person, preferably)? Share it with us, and feel free to embellish — that’s how good stories become great, after all.
My closest friend is someone I see once or twice a year. She lives in rural West Virginia, in the house her mother was raised in. She has to walk a mile to her mailbox.
One day, after an extended trip to somewhere, she came home to discover a dead bird that had fallen down her chimney. She picked it up and threw it away, but noticed some mites where the dead bird had lay. Thinking nothing of it, she cleaned the mites up and forgot the incident.
A few days later, she found herself itching. Small red bumps were beginning to develop, on her back and arms. Thinking it was fleas (her dog had a minor flea infestation), she began cleaning, wiping, and spraying the house.
She meditated every day to help keep her mind calm. Her mantra was “This is the way it is supposed to be, and it will get better”. She took hikes and looked at flowers and told herself “this is beauty, and I am beautiful”.
Still, her itching drove her crazy.
She called an exterminator and had the house tented and sprayed for fleas. The exterminator found 38 mice in a crawl space under the house (she does live out in the country after all, remember).
The exterminators agreed with her that there might have been some mite issues as well. They felt bites too.
The mites managed to survive the extermination. They were not only crawling under her skin, but they were crawling under her eyelids.
Frantic, she packed the dog up and drove to Florida, jumping into the salty sea water. Where she got this idea from, I don’t know, but for the first time in months, she felt as though the salt water was killing the mites.
After she got back home, a friend made her a sulfur salve which helped a bit. But the problem still basically came back — after all, the mites had started to make her home their permanent residence at this point.
In order to see a doctor. She has to make a 14-hour drive to Massachusetts, which she finally did, for her annual physical. Her doctor inspected the bumps and referred her to a dermatologist. Shaking her head, the dermatologist squinted at her bumps. “Could be bug bites I suppose”.
“But they’re squirming underneath as we speak,” my girlfriend insisted.
“Show me.” The doctor gave her an alcohol swab and she swiped a spot, hoping she would grab one of the dirty, slimy motherfuckers.
The doctor took the swab to the microscope and shook her head once again, “nothing here, I’m afraid. Let’s take a scraping.”
They took a scraping and went deeper under the skin. Still nothing.
How a rational human being such as my girlfriend managed to keep the doctor from blowing her off I don’t know, but she kept the doctor focused on her problem and they kept brainstorming until the doctor finally said “let’s take a surgical sample.”
My friend left with squirmy, slimy, motherfuckin’ mites (I embellish for my gentle-mouthed girlfriend) still invading her body, with no cure, and maybe destined to live the rest of her life like that. She went back home to West Virginia where the mites had prepared their dinner table. She was their main meal.
She made plans to move to Florida for a couple of months, still not knowing what to do about the house — blow it up, maybe? and then live the rest of her life out of her car? In Florida by the beach?
Several days later she got a call from the dermatologist. Her problem wasn’t mites at all, or fleas, or any sort of bug. It wasn’t in her head either. She had something called Grover Disease. The doctor prescribed cortisone, which my holistic friend refused. Just knowing what the problem was made her feel better.
My dear sweet girlfriend still meditates every day. Her mantra is “This is the way it is supposed to be, and it will get better”. She still takes hikes and looks at flowers and tells herself “this is beauty, and I am beautiful”.