There is no cure.

No really. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

I repeat, there is no cure for fire ant bites. Once you get ’em you just have to deal for the next two weeks until they finally dry up and go away on their own. There I was innocently meandering through my parents’ garden – in flip flops – when suddenly there was searing pain spreading from my toes to my feet to my ankles to my legs in about 2.5 seconds. Thank the heavens for short pants lest I had to ditch them in an attempt to stop the spread of ants. I jumped off the ant nest, kicked off my shoes, and started hopping around sweeping ants off my legs and from between my toes.

And you know what? Those little buggers sink their tiny mandibles into you…and then leave them behind sunk deep into your skin when you sweep the rest of their body parts off of you. Red devils.

I jogged to the house, scrubbed my bites with Dawn soap, and slathered on some of that minty pink lotion that my brother uses when he gets a rash from giving the poison ivy dirty looks. And all my symptoms went away. So I got cocky and thought I was having a superior reaction to their toxic alkaloid venom.

But for the last two weeks I’ve had a constant, intense itching and burning at every bite site. On top of that they have puffed up in that special way that makes ones skin have a diseased appearance. And yet all I can do is treat the symptoms and wait it out.

Speaking of things you have to wait out for 2+ weeks. We had two COVID scares at the office. Two of the clinical assistants (and two that my team works with a lot) had direct exposure to COVID from an outside source. So far both of their tests have come back negative and they have no symptoms, but the office is still requiring them to stay home.

I’m sure you all have heard many things about the great state of Texas over the last few months. Honestly, I’m glad that our governor did what he did and reopened the state (whenever that was – I can’t remember). It’s like being caught between a rock and a hard place. But our cases are on the rise again and we’re getting 100+ new cases in our zip code each day. Masks are now mandatory (as of this coming Monday) whenever someone is in a public space, bars are closed again, and rules for restaurants have been changed again. Large cities in the state are no longer allowed to perform elective surgeries either, so that might spread to smaller cities like mine as well. [Also, has anyone noticed the limit on canned drinks due to aluminum shortage? Or is that just in my area?]

I get the thought process towards the mandate for masks, but I’m still not wild about it. I’m now living a large portion of my day in a mask and I can’t imagine that’s ideal for my health either regardless of how often I change them. I did invest in some by Everlane which so far seem more comfortable and functional than others that I have. They are a little tight on my ears though so I’ve been stretching the straps a little to make them fit a little better. But maybe I just have a bigger face?

Over the last few weeks of constant mask wearing I’ve realized something about myself. I kinda enjoy hiding behind my mask – especially at work. It’s nice to be able to do what I have to do and still stay invisible and unknown in a way. There’s a strange sense of freedom in that I’m not required to share my face with the world . Also, I no longer have to filter my facial expressions as much now that 2/3s of my face is hidden from view. It’s nice.

I’m also required to wear a mask in my pilates classes. Nothing like exercising with a mask on. Although, is there anything more bougie than a pilates class? I think not. If they mandate that we buy and wear safety grip socks to come into the studio then they might as well mandate that we buy and wear safety face coverings as well. I could exercise at home, I know…

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