Two days after I got the official all-clear from pest control, I went to visit my friend in California. Before I left, I still ran everything through the dryer, and only brought carryon luggage that could go in the dryer, too. Even with all those precautions and two solid months without a single sign of a bug, I was terrified that I would bring one with me. I woke up several times in the middle of the night while I was there, afraid there was a bug on me. Mosquito bites were torture because even though they were all in spots I’d physically SEEN THE MOSQUITO BITING, my brain still second-guessed everything.
Now it’s been almost four months since my last bite, and two months since I’ve been officially cleared, and there are still lingering fears. I’m still a little nervous in large crowds, worried that someone there will have bugs and I’ll get reinfested. I still check myself over after my showers a couple times a week, and the summertime chest/butt acne always gives me a small heart attack until I clearly feel the head of a pimple. It’s always a pimple.
I’ve still got my bed legs in detector cups sprinkled with diatomaceous earth. I sprayed a lot of DE into all the cracks between my floor and walls, and by my doorway as a precaution. I don’t have any of my clothes in ziploc bags anymore, but they were there until two weeks ago — it took me a long time to feel comfortable bringing them back out into the open air. All the clothes that are stored for winter are in ziploc bags and were all run through the dryer first.
Our building has a lot of turnover, so we have several new people on my floor and on others. I worry that they’ve brought bugs in. I worry that if they didn’t, they’ll get some from my friend down the hall who still had a couple in her apartment six months after her initial report to the real estate company (I haven’t seen her in a couple weeks to ask whether they’re gone yet). I worry that the real estate company’s lack of information about proper reporting and treatment protocols will mean that some people might have them and not report them right away, or think they can take care of it themselves, putting us all at risk again. I worry that they won’t even know to do the basic things like running everything through the dryers on high and bagging them up right away. These are going to take a while to calm, but at least they’re not constant — just occasional worries, or ones that crop up when I hear someone get off the elevator. *sigh*
All in all though, I’m vastly improved, psychologically. But I don’t know how long this paranoia will hang around.