Bed Bugs


It happened one night while I was still living in the finished rec room in the basement of my uncle's house.

It was about two in the morning and I was in bed, sound asleep.  I awakened to the prickly feeling of a dozen prickly legs scratching along my left cheek.  Startled, and before I had time to flick it off, the beetle went for cover in the first orifice it could find.

Yes, it was my left ear.

Yowza, was I freaking out!  That thing was just trying to crawl deeper and deeper.  Within a split second it was up against my ear drum.  Any of you who have pushed a Q-tip in a little too far can come CLOSE to what that sounded like/felt like.  That little bastard was scratching away like a dog trying to get out the back door!  The feeling in my ear was right on the edge between discomfort and pain.  That's the only way I can describe it.  And louder than shit.  Put your finger in your ear and wiggle it around.  Multiply that 100 and there you have it.

Very quickly I figured out that if I stopped trying to grab it out of there, it would stop crawling in place and provide me some temporary sanity.  I sat like that for what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was only a few seconds.  All that was repeating in my head was "OK... OK... what the fuck do I do?"

I walked around to the other side of the basement, which had a door I could close.  At least once on the way over I was doubled-over when the little fucker started digging again.  I shut the door.  That's when I started the obscenities, because he had gotten around to causing pain at this point, and hopefully now I wouldn't be waking four other people up.  I tried for a few minutes to tilt my head and smack the other side, trying to knock him out.  But no-go.  I started looking around.

At the laundry sink I first grabbed an old Windex bottle that had been filled with water and used for steam while ironing.  After several failed attempts at squirting the fucker out of there, but obviously having trouble aiming the stream in there, I gave up on the Windex bottle.  I went back again to holding that flap part of my ear in toward the ear-hole just so he would stop scratching around.

Yes!  I also found one of those snot-suckers that they use on babies with stuffed noses.  I filled it up with warm water, inserted that thing into my ear, and squirted away.  No more aiming problems with that!  But the fucker just WOULD NOT DIE!

It was at this point that my dismay really hit me.  I was wondering if it would ever get out, if I would have hearing damage, how I might get to a doctor at this hour, etc.  Tears of frustration were not far away.  I felt like one of those puppies that get their teeth stuck in the cage and just cry out of frustration trying to pull away.  But my near breakdown and the ultimate calmness of it proved to be the demise of the little fucker!

It suddenly came to me as I was holding that flap of cartilage over my ear that I could either drown or suffocate the beetle if I kept my ear closed off long enough.  I don't even know to this day if beetles actually breathe or can live under water, but after waiting there for about 10 minutes, the little bastard seemed to quit squirming.  I slowly tested the limits by trying to get him to move, but he would not budge.  He was indeed dead.  That was only a small victory, as the story does not end here...

Of course, the bug was still in my ear, albeit dead.  Guess what?  The corpse did not want to come out the least bit.  If you know what one of these beetles look like you'd know why.  Their bodies are built similar to an arrow, and you know that arrows don't come out the way they went in without destroying flesh.  Take a look at that character above the 6 key on your keyboard.  About 6 of those top to bottom comprises the basic shape of one of these bugs, and that shell is thin and hard, almost razor like.

In my toolbox I had a pair of hemostats that I had gotten from my mom who is nurse.  Basically, these things are clamps that are curved at the end, they function like locking scissors.  That went straight from the toolbox into the depths of my ear.  I got hold of the tail end of the beetle and pulled.

Well, at least part of it came out.  I guess it was about a third of it along with that nasty yellow ooze that's in their bodies.  So 2/3 of it and some ooze was in my ear, but now I was getting somewhere!  That night I think I managed to get out another third, and gave up after a half hour of digging.  I was exhausted and figured I'd give it another go in the morning.

It was three days later before I got the last of the body out.  I had bought some that Murine that they use for swimmer's ear.  Every piece of that fucker hurt something fierce getting pulled out, just like pulling an arrow back out.  But for the last three days, I worked and did everything as I normally would, with one ear clogged up.  But I knew that it would shrink up somewhat as it dehydrated.  Finally, it was all out.

If you're wondering, I compared the pieces that I got out of my cochlea against a dead bug, and it looked like the one in my ear was between one inch and one and a quarter inches long.  Also, luckily I have no hearing damage to this day.  Although, sometimes I get to wondering if there's still a little something of Mr. Beetle in there.  Sleep tight, don't let the...