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Update on treatment (two PCO visits plus self care)

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  1. OnceBittenTwiceChi

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Jun 2 2013 13:38:13
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    I'm a little wordy so apologies in advance.

    I visit these forums frequently since we began our treatment in late April, and I want to keep coming back to post updates because I always got a lot of information and peace of mind reading about treatment updates as well as success stories. I hope that its helpful to those going through the same thing.

    Coming up to speed: We confirmed with what appears to be small bed bug problem (live nymph caught on tape from bedroom, plus two dead ones which I keep in a jar as a warning to others) in our condo as well as condo below us. We had two PCO treatments spaced 2 weeks apart, treating every room in every unit in the whole building. Treatments included Phantom, Alpine dust, Archer, and Phantom Aerosol. Pre-PCO treatments we moved all furniture away from walls (to help them get to baseboards), vacuumed everything, and washed/dried everything made of cloth in the house (clothing, linens, curtains, etc). Everything was then bagged into Ziploc XXL bags. All bags, shoes, and other things we couldn't easily dry were steamed and stored safely in bags or locked bins. Per PCO instructions we did NOT throw out furniture or move too much stuff around. Books stayed on shelves, etc. Every PCO is different and this was our PCO's treatment plan so we stuck to it.

    The last treatment was May 11, and we've continued to live out of the bags. It was a huge PITA at first, but we're kind of used to it, heh. Its helped us identify which outfits we really love more than all others because we just wear them over and over! Our sheets get washed every 2-3 days, and we are using the same light-colored sheets so we can better keep track of any fecal spots or whatever (though we haven't seen any). Beds all have mattress and pillow covers, too. All outfits get changed before leaving the house, but that's just a minor inconvenience.

    At the beginning of our treatment, our arms had the majority of the bites, with some occasionally on my husband's back (he sleeps shirtless, I wore a long or short-sleeve shirt sometimes). We noticed a brief period of increased bitey-ness after the first treatment, and then as May progressed and we got our second treatment, we've had noticeably less itchiness though still a bite or two where or there. Of course we've had a lot of rain in Chicago, I garden and worked on a farm for a few days last week, and mosquitoes and other buggies are everywhere, so to truly rule out bedbugs as the source of our itching, we purchased a BB Alert monitor for our bed. If in 2 weeks we are "clear" I feel pretty confident we've handled the problem.

    I went ahead and purchased a Pack-Tite for the peace of mind I feel it will bring me in the future, as I travel a lot for work and pleasure, and for the investment I appreciate knowing I can always "cook" my stuff and go to bed without worry.

    For me, the anxiety was the worst. I wanted so bad to throw everything out, I had fantasies of the house burning down, I felt dirty and guilty and horrible. But with these forums, the consistency and calmness of our PCO, my ever-patient husband, and a trip to a therapist to talk about those feelings of anxiety (I'm also planning a wedding so, you know, blerrrrgh) I feel much more level. But looking back I remember something my PCO said during the first treatment when I frantically asked if I should throw out my bed: "No, no. Beds are expensive! Why would you buy a new one? We're going to get rid of them. That's our job. Keep your nice bed, you worked hard for it." I smile now because he's right. Especially with such a small infestation as ours, I am glad I didn't overreact and throw everything out.

    This isn't a "success story" yet (give me a few weeks... cross your fingers) but even if the "worst" happens and I notice fecal on the BB Alert, the PCO will come out and treat again. We'll keep living out of bags and I'll have a Packtite and it'll be OK. I look forward to that success story post though.

  2. AbsolutelyFreaking

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Jun 2 2013 14:04:35
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    Hi OnceBitten,

    What a nice post! I'm so glad you are "seeing the light at the end of the tunnel" and feeling much less anxious than you were initially and when you posted your "mental-effects-worse-than-the-physical-effects" post!!!

    I think we should put the two posts "side-by-side" so people will know that they can make it through dealing with bed bugs!!

    Looking forward to your "Success Story"!

  3. OnceBittenTwiceChi

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Jun 2 2013 14:12:28
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    Yes, seriously!! The mental effects WERE terrible! It really almost drove me to the edge, and I just remember how terrible I felt. And I truly feel so badly for the posters I see making similar posts about feeling like I did when we first found the BBs. I just want to hug everyone! Don't worry all my clothes have been dried on hot!

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Jun 2 2013 15:37:49
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    OnceBitten,

    I am so glad things are starting to look better. And that you did not throw out your bed! So many people panic and do just that.

    Looking forward to your next update!

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  5. OhGodTheHorror

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Jun 2 2013 23:30:47
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    I really needed to read this right now. I already had more stress than anyone should, and the fact that I may have bed bugs just pushed me on over the cliff this week. I have done nothing but panic and obsess about it. It's great to see someone so positive! Thanks!

  6. OnceBittenTwiceChi

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Jun 3 2013 0:05:35
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    OGTH, I sympathize with you so much. You can go back and see the earlier threads I posted, talking about how terrible the bedbugs had affected by mental state. I sought the help of a therapist as well as better living through chemistry (Xanax). However, a few thoughts from this very forum as well as friends who successfully battled BB's, my PCO, and others have given me much needed perspective. A few things that helped me off the cliff:
    - Bed bugs are temporary and they can be killed. Panicking, throwing out furniture, buying possibly dangerous sprays and attempting to self-treat only causes more anxiety and may even make the problem worse and more expensive. A PCO with a plan will save you more money in the long run if they can successfully treat your case without requiring you to dump too much of your life. It breaks my heart when I read people leaving behind furniture, books, family photo albums even! It can be treated and life can go on, just with the right people and tools. They are out there.
    - Bed bugs are a real pain in the butt. They bite your skin and cause bumps and welts and itches. Their very bug nature makes them revolting and the idea of being a bug's "blood buffet" never sits well with most normal people. BUT - they do not carry diseases, like mosquitoes or ticks. They don't have stingers or sacs of dangerous venom. They're hungry, for blood, and they like to play hide and seek. Interrupt their game of hide-n-dine, and you get them where it hurts.
    - YOU are not the enemy. You may feel so much self hatred right now with thoughts like "how did I let this happen to me, to my home, to my family?" You will feel the weight of responsibility on you and the shame, fear, and total despondence if you see someone you love struggle. I still deal with this a little; visited my father and mother a two weeks ago and though EVERYTHING was prepared to the max before our trip I still fear. Its OK to be afraid and to adjust your actions accordingly to those specific fears (i.e. "I am afraid to bring bugs into anothers house" means you can do very simple things to minimize that risk, like changing into clean, dried clothing before you leave, inspecting your shoes, use a bag you can throw into the drier or Packtite (I just love my $10 Target over the shoulder bag, I wash/dry it all the time) and then GO have fun outside! Its not your fault and you DESERVE to continue to live your life fully, among others. When I was a teenage girl I'd change my outfits 14 times before leaving the house, so 1 change of clothes seems pretty reasonable now.

    You mention you "may have" bed bugs but aren't sure. Sometimes the not knowing is the worst. What are your symptoms, and can you purchase a passive monitor? It goes on your bed and is a pretty clear indicator of bb activity. There's info about them in the FAQ. If you aren't sure of the bugs and aren't finding any live ones, dead ones, or castings, it may help clarify the issue, and give you peace of mind. Good luck to you.

  7. kinihatesbedbugs

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Jun 3 2013 20:22:07
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    OnceBittenTwiceChi - I agree with the mental effects I thought I was driving myself nuts being so paranoid. I didn't throw out my bed either, but i do have the mattress and box spring encampments. I am happy to say 10 months bed bug free and I don't sleep with a flashlight anymore and I sleep thru the night. I still check time to time. I'm so happy your doing well

  8. OnceBittenTwiceChi

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Jun 3 2013 23:50:28
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    Kini - 10 months is more than enough for a victory dance! Encasing is what we're doing too, and I'm happy with it so far. Almost a week with our passive monitor and no fecal marks yet - a good sign!!

    I feel like all of us bed bug fighters should have a secret handshake at this point


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