Blood, blood, and biters

The hospital vampires took their two vials. I’m quite fond of the main technician there. She’s both extremely pleasant and speedy proficient with the sticker. fosteronfilm and I had a discussion about needle technology. He thinks they’ve improved since he was a wee bairn, smaller needles with larger openings or something like that, because overall the blood letting procedure is much less painful and arduous than it used to be. I’m not so convinced that it’s the technology and not just a run of good techs. However, we are agreed that the little plastic collection thingy that allows them to switch vials without having to withdraw the needle is a lovely invention.

In other blood-related news, the vet called with Hobkin’s blood test results. He got a clean bill of health. Hurray! In fact, the vet said that Hobkin’s numbers were VERY good, not just “acceptable” but excellent. The only exception was his calcium levels which, while in the normal range, could stand to be higher. So, more cottage cheese and instant milk for our skunk. I’m just so delighted and relieved that his blood panel came out so well. More proof positive that omnivores thrive on a vegetarian diet.

In less good news, fosteronfilm went out to mow the lawn yesterday, and while he was doing some preliminary weeding, he disturbed a nest of fire ants. They nailed him four times on his hands before he could shake them off. Man, those buggers are vicious. So my hubby spent the next hour icing his bites and the evening in a Benadryl haze. Poor Matthew! And, of course, the lawn went another day without mowing. That’s something we didn’t have in Illinois, fire ants. Scary enough to make burly contract workers scream like little girls and go running pell mell away. In our first year here, we were ye verily puzzled at the behavior of these hairy, macho, grunting men we’d hired when they were constructing our sun room and encountered a fire ant hill. We thought, “It’s just some ants, sheesh” and mocked the big, burly contractors (behind their backs, of course, because we are neither insane nor foolhardy). Since then, we have come to understand the peril and menace which are fire ants. Fortunately, I haven’t been bitten, but considering how much more sensitive I am to insect venom, and how brutal fire ant bites are, I’m hoping to continue that trend. I’ve never been stung by wasp or bee either, so I have no idea whether I’m allergic.

Writing Stuff

Ooo! I received my contrib. copies, the contract, and invoice form for “All in My Mind” that was reprinted in Polish in Nowa Fantastyka. Yay! It’s strange receiving a contract after a story has been published, but it’s not like I’m about to make a fuss. I’m just pleased that I’m going to get paid. Not to mention that I now have copies of this story in a language I can’t read. How cool is that?

And another “ooo!” The Sword Review just published my reprint “Second Daughter.” This must be my week for reprint stuff.

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28 Responses to Blood, blood, and biters

  1. remipunx says:

    The little tube thingy, so you don’t have to take the needle out is a vacutainer system. And I think that you are just having really great luck with phlebotomist. I am one, well, an unemployed one, and my daughter is having string of bad luck with. Woman with the loving nature of a Troll should not stick children. Or anyone really.

    Next time you see you tech tell them they rock. When we know someone likes us we try to be there for them.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Next time you see you tech tell them they rock.

      I tell her every time! I’ve been on the wrong end of a troll-with-needle before and I really appreciate good blood-letting skills when I feels’ em. She’s there every time I go in (every six weeks), and she makes an effort to be the one to stick me, which I am eternally grateful for.

      • remipunx says:

        Techs so rarely get told they are doing a good job. When someone does, it makes your whole day. Where I worked, we had to stick people over and over all day. It was a drug study. Some guys hated me with the big H, others would only want me to stick them. So whenever anyone would smile, say that I did great, my little heart would skip.

  2. nojojojo says:

    Fire ant venom is really different from bee and wasp venom, so if you’re in a fire-ant-heavy area you should see a doctor and do a hypersensitivity test for all three *before* you get stung. People *do* die of anaphylactic shock from the bites, so you’d need to have more than Benadryl on hand if you are sensitive to it. (I grew up in Mobile, AL, commonly considered to be the source of the US fire ant invasion — some freighter docked in Mobile Bay carrying them, and the little buggers spread from there. -_- ) The vast majority of people aren’t sensitive to it, which is fortunate because the little bastards are sadistic — they bite down, sting, spin around to find a clear spot (while twisting the part they’ve bitten), sting again, and keep doing it until you beat them off. ::shudder:: *That’s* why they call ’em fire ants — for their color, and their tempers. =)

    I don’t know how you feel about using chemicals, or if you let Hobkin outside, but Amdro is particularly effective against fire ants. Takes a few days/weeks, but it’s less harmful to the environment than most poisons.

    Just curious — how do you get so much stuff published in foreign-language ‘zines? Do you submit to them, or do they find your work in English ‘zines and ask to reprint it? Or does your agent negotiate short fiction rights or something?

    • Eugie Foster says:

      I don’t know how you feel about using chemicals, or if you let Hobkin outside, but Amdro is particularly effective against fire ants.

      Thanks for the info. I’m normally against chemicals, but I’m willing to make exceptions in the case of fire ants and Asian tiger mosquitos. And Hobkin is never allowed outside.

      Just curious — how do you get so much stuff published in foreign-language ‘zines? Do you submit to them, or do they find your work in English ‘zines and ask to reprint it?

      Hah, I wish. No, I submit to them. My agent doesn’t handle any of my short fiction. It wouldn’t be cost or time effective for either of us.

  3. aimeempayne says:

    That’s something we didn’t have in Illinois, fire ants.

    The Midwest is no longer safe from fire ants. Earlier this summer, a friend of mine was worried about some bites she had on her feet and legs. I took a look and said they looked like fire ant bites. There was much scoffing until she went to the doctor and my diagnosis was confirmed. Next thing you know, we’ll have scorpions and rattlesnakes.

  4. terracinque says:

    Ouch! Poor Matthew indeed!

    • Eugie Foster says:

      At least we’ve learned the proper way to care for fire ant bites now. The first time Matthew ran afoul of them, we just went “Eek! What evil insects!” and didn’t do anything aside from wash them and dab peroxide on. The bites turned into ugly, red blisters that took months to fully heal. Now with ice and Benadryl, there’s hardly any swelling, and he’s good as new in a few days. Amazing what a little ice can do.

  5. wistling says:

    I had my first wasp sting last month when I was talking to a student in my office hours. It stung my wrist and I jumped up, probably scaring the student! It swelled up and didn’t fade for a day. Not a pleasant experience…

    • Eugie Foster says:

      We have these ginormous wasps that live somewhere in the vicinity of our mailbox, but they’re pretty docile. They haven’t nailed either of us . . . yet. But they are awfully scary looking.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ugh, fire ants. I don’t think we have them here, but we have variety of large black ant that is about as viscious. The little Rat Dog ran afoul of them a few weeks ago. Cried piteously for a couple of hours until the Benadryl kicked in. Afterwards, I unleash a chemical jihad on their hill. (The only time I use poison.)

    I can’t take Benadryl. A tiny dab of ammonia on the bite helps neutralize the poison. My vet book–grin, might not apply to hooomans—suggests a baking soda paste.

    Hope bloodwork for Ms. Eugie comes back spiffy as well.

    Pat Kirby

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Poor Rat Dog! I do wonder how animals deal with fire ants, especially the ones that don’t have humans to ply them with baking soda pastes and Benadryl.

      You can’t take Benadryl? Yikes. What do you do if you run afoul of non-contact allergens?

  7. puskunk says:

    It’s not that fire ant bites are bad, they’re not, it’s that THEY ALL BITE AT ONCE. They cover you and as soon as one bites, they send out a chemical signal so they all bite. I put my helmet down on the front steps one time, got the bike started and went riding. 3 minutes up the road, some fire ants fell out of the gap between the helmet back and the actual padding and into my shirt. I almost wrecked. Ginny was slapping me on the back as hard as she could to kill them.

    • Are fire ants bigger than regular ants? (do you have any pictures?)

      So FIRE ANTS bite all at once? YIKES!!!!! I will definitely kill those suckers if I ever see them on my backyards. But then I dunno how they look like. I don’t see many ants in my backyard anyway.

      • puskunk says:

        Actually, no they’re a little smaller than regular ants, and red. They live in pretty big mounds, the trick to getting rid of them is to kill the queen. The biting all at once is what makes them dangerous, you can put a kid down on a mound unknowing, they cover the victim, then all bite at once.

  8. Glad to hear that Hobkin’s health is excellent. He will live many, many moons. *grin*

    Gosh, I hate fire ants!!!! I’m allergic to the little devils.

  9. dude_the says:

    New Design

    Eugie, did you just change the design of your journal to use a serif font or has my browser been displaying your journal incorrectly all these many months?


    • Eugie Foster says:

      Re: New Design

      Hee! I’m playing with my blog layout right now, trying out the new “A Novel Conundrum” settings. I suspect I’ll go back to “Component” as I can’t get it looking right from my website, but I’m still experimenting.

  10. tomaqmar says:

    Hurtful insects

    Fire ants, wasps, and bees all hurt. I can say that with some authority. Why was I created if only to suffer?

    Eugie, congrats on the Polish publication. My first published story was reprinted in an Italian anthology of stories about alien invasion, and I’m still a little giddy over that.

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