When I was in elementary school, a lady at church had weekly choir rehearsals for children who sang in the kids’ choir in Children’s Church. I remember going, sometimes, and what I recall most is learning the round “Scotland’s Burning.”
“Scotland’s burning! Scotland’s burning! Look out! Look out! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Pour on water! Pour on water!”
We were pretty good at it.
I had a “pour on water” experience last week. Involving fire ants.
On Wednesday, last week, the temperature was down a little and there were lots of clouds. I worked all morning in the yard. I pulled some weeds. I raked some leaves (trying to get ahead of the massive leaf fall that ends up in my neighbor’s yard every year). I trimmed some branches. I topped off one compost bin, using some of last year’s leaves that were piled at the back of the yard. I cleared out a space for this year’s leaves. I was busy.
At one point, as I was walking from the garden, through the back yard, I felt a little bit of stinging on my left foot. I looked down and saw some little ants crawling around down there. I walked, calmly, up to the patio and sat down on the steps. I removed my lavender ankle sock and my navy Crocs shoe (not particularly fashionable but great for yard work). There were lots of little ants, but I brushed them off, shook out my shoe, and turned my sock wrong-side-out. I got rid of all the ants, and put the sock and shoe back on and got back to work.
As a bit of an aside: I have diabetic-related neuropathy in my feet and don’t feel things very well down there at ground level. So, there’s no telling how many bites I’d already gotten or how long the biting had been occurring.
Thursday evening, my ankle felt a little itchy. I reached down to scratch, and, to my amazement, felt a mountain range of bumps. Itchy bumps. They were mainly on the back of my ankle, particularly on either side of my Achilles’ tendon, and I couldn’t see them all that well. I pulled out my phone and did my best to take a photo.
Then, I looked at the photo. EYUWWWWWW! (I have the photo and I’m not putting it up here. It’s disgusting. If you want to see what fire ant bites look like, you can just Google that yourself.) I slathered on some Cortisone10 and went to bed and tried to sleep.
I did sleep, but not much and not well. The next morning, I Googled “fire ants” and got some treatment advice. But, as my health is so compromised by diabetes and kidney failure, I’m very reluctant to dose myself. I called my physician’s office for advice. After talking with the nurse for a few minutes, she said, “Why don’t you go on over to the Express. They can probably see you faster and can give you good advice.”
So, about two months since I went in with a spider bite, I was back at Providence Express with fire ant issues. And reading the same book as I had been the time before. I also took with me the two tubes of prescription medications that I’d gotten before. I’d barely gotten a page read when it was my turn. And I did get advice that I trusted. I got an oral antibiotic prescription and advice about using one of the medications I’d had before.
The itching abated in a couple of days. I’m almost done with the medicine. There are still bumps on my ankle.
David has searched through the yard, because I don’t have any idea where they were. He can’t find them. He suggested that maybe something else was responsible for the itchy bites. I showed him the photo. “Yep,” he said. “That’s fire ants.”
He says that, after a hard rain, they bring up their wet dirt to dry, and make mounds that are easier to spot. We’ve had rain, and he’s been looking. So far, no good.
I think about you
before I go to sleep,
and my thoughts turn to you
during the night.
You have helped me,
and I sing happy songs
in the shadow of your wings.
I stay close to you,
and your powerful arm
Psalm 63:6-8 (Contemporary English Version)
even when I’m itchy.