It occurred to me over the weekend that with the fitted sheet over my mattress pad, there wasn’t much chance of any bugs walking through the poison in the seams of the pad unless they happened to already be in the mattress, which I’m 99.99% sure they’re not. If they started in the frame or in my walls, and went up the walls of my bed to get to me, they’d just be walking over my sheet on the way, not in the poison.
So I took the fitted sheet off and folded my flat sheet in half, placing it in the center of my bed (it’s an Ikea twin), which leaves about 2 inches of exposed mattress pad at my head and feet, and maybe 3 inches of it on both sides, not to mention the whole bottom of the mattress where it meets the frame. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier, as the whole part of the mattress that rests on the frame (except the very center) was covered with a sheet before. This seems like it increases the odds of the bugs having to walk through poison by at least 50%, based on surface area.
I still have diatomaceous earth framing my pillow, and I still dust my neck and forearms with it before bed–I figure I win whether it’s a repellant or not, as I want to discourage them from biting the parts of me that are hard to cover with clothing, so if it keeps them away from those parts entirely, great… and if it’s not a repellant, then at least if they bite those parts, they’ll get the DE on them and it will dry them out/kill them in a few days.
As for the bite diary, I’ve reached a point at which I’m more paranoid than usual that my bites might not be acting like they have been. My bites turn into blotchy red welts, like mosquito bites, that show up after a hot shower and stay out for about a week, sometimes itching on the 2nd or 3rd day. Yesterday I had a bite on my chest that showed up after my shower, but disappeared about an hour later, except for two tiny pinprick holes, which look exactly like bite holes. I counted it as a bite, but it’s abnormal.
Then there are the random weird red spots on my hands that show up in hot water but disappear entirely after just a few minutes… are those bites? Unfinished bites? Just reactions of my hypersensitive skin? Do they count? I don’t think so, given the behavior of 98% of my bites, but it’s unnerving as hell when I see them and wonder whether there are other things I miss because they disappear really fast, and if I wasn’t looking right at them, I’d miss them.
It’s also hard because every pimple, ingrown hair, paper cut, dry skin crack, etc. worries me, and I wonder whether I’m misdiagnosing some of them (not counting things that ought to be counted), thereby throwing off my data.
So it goes…