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Cimex lectularius report 

Bed bugs sleep well at the Gordon B Isnor. Jane Kansas doesn’t.

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Day One

On way to bed see first bed bug on floor. Time: 11:24pm. Momentarily paralyzed by shock and sense of disaster. Apprehend with wad of toilet paper. Flush. Return to the bed, flick down top sheet. Bed bug skitters away from light. Apprehend. Flush. Retreat to the living room. Fire up computer. Play games. Mindlessly click through bookmarks. Decide to sleep at desk. Position second chair for legs. Slouch down. Time: 4:20am. Move to arm chair. Do not find comfort. Knew before moving into Gordon B Isnor it is famous for bedbugs; have been apprehensive. Now sick with worry. Half-watch 47 episodes of Criminal Minds. Night lasts approximately seven years.

Day Two

Wash and dry all bed items including pillows and pad. Hot water. Innumerable loads. Call Metro Housing office and book treatment by bug technician. Vacuum every inch of place. Mop floors. Stay up as late as possible. Time: 1:10am. Begin another night at desk. Exhausted. Can no longer sit up. Get in hot bath. Time: 3:27am. Place two blankets on living room floor. Hope beyond hope they are not infected. Cannot sleep. Unsure if sensation on leg from bug, small electrical twitch of muscle or cover touching leg. Dawn approaches. Sleep deprivation nightmare. Obtain two hours shut-eye. Cat sleeps solidly.

Day Three

Sun rises. Coffee. Bug technician due. Move furniture away from the walls. Strip bed. Sit tired ass back down to wait. Time: 7am. Plan washing all bed linens. Fantasize about being back in bed. Wait. Bug technician never comes. Time: 4pm. Call office. Told that lately bug company has been missing many appointments. Achieve placement on list for next round of spraying, four days hence. Four nights hence. Wash everything. Spray mattress and frame with domestic strength bed bug killer. Make up bed with good-luck cowboy sheets. Spend evening with internet diversions. Time: 12am. Sick with tiredness. Bleary gunk on eyelashes. Bags under and over eyes. Must. Lay. Down. In bedroom turn on big overhead light and bedside lamp. Bug on side of mattress. Apprehend. Flush. Contemplate living room floor. Just lay down on bed. Remain on top of covers. Leave lights on. Terrorists score victory. Solid sleep absent. Jerked awake 117 times by psychological sleep apnea, craning neck in all directions to scout for bug offensive from flank.

Day Four

Forgotten in haze of hallucination.

Days Five and Six

Sleep away from apartment.

Day Seven

Move furniture. Strip bed. Bug technician sprays. Bed bug technician visits building twice a week. Because of missed day, 30 units are scheduled to be sprayed today. Wash everything. Smile at thought of being between the sheets later. Later, head for bed. Four bugs on it. Retreat to living room floor. Time: 1:43am. Sleep not possible. Move to bathtub. Manage few zzzzzs in between crick in neck and vocalized complaints by cat re: lack of space in tub for him.

Day Eight

Wash everything again. Bugs on bed. Retreat. Sleep in bath tub.

Days Nine to Fourteen

Bedroom completely abandoned. Employ sleeping method of switching between bathtub and living room floor. Obtain enough sleep to remain ambulatory. Barely. Functioning at restricted level. Multiplying fractions now impossible. Language study impeded: irregular verbs might as well be fucking hieroglyphics. Bug technician due to return day 17. Contemplate future. What is best course of action? Sleep forever on floor? Become resigned and sleep in bed with bugs? Bed bugs are infestation; not public health threat. No disease transmitted but world of unease in place. Now paranoid about every little itch. Metro Housing responsive to bed bug complaints; spraying allowed every 10 days. Moving seems impossible. Options severely limited by poverty. Metro Housing requirement of two years' occupancy before changing residence within system leaves 570 nights to go.

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Jane Kansas is at her wits' end in Halifax.

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