So in early July I took a 10 day 2,000 mile ride up to and around Maine. A few of my friends and I rented a house in Eustis, ME and did day trips to Moosehead Lake, Lac Megantic, Quebec, and everywhere in-between.
On arriving in Eustis, ME, I apparently became lunch meat for a few hungry insects ( I think, but not sure) . I am posting pics of my adventure, not to gross you out, but to help educate if you're ever in my shoes. I did not notice the 5 or 6 bug bites for a day or so.
You can see how my right leg looked from the beginning to the end in the album link below.
After several hours, the bug bites spread out, my leg started swelling up, and you can faintly make out the pink infection line starting to run up my shin bone. I had another one running from my lower rear calf just up behind my knee which I wasn't even aware of. At its worst, the infection which started down around my ankle, got about mid-way up my thigh, and was told if it got into the groin area, it would become systemic and spread to my lungs, heart, brain, etc. through the body's super-highway of veins & arteries. When that happens, you're basically toast.
Against the advice of my fellow riders and others in the know, I ignored this and kept about my business. During the ensuing day, the infection edged up a few inches every couple of hours, was warm to the touch and started getting ugly. My friend Mac graciously escorted me to the Rangely Family Medical Center, where the physician promptly advised me of my case of cellulitis (blood poisoning) and told me to get to a hospital emergency room ASAP, for fear of losing my leg, or worse. She may have been somewhat melodramatic, but in retrospect I've learned this is a serious condition. An hour later we arrived at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, ME.
I was admitted to the emergency room and promptly had an IV drip of Clindamycin antibiotics plugged into my arm. Fortunately, I did not need to spend the evening at this fine establishment. Was back on the road heading home with Mac within a couple of hours with a 7-day pill prescription of the same medication. Doc told me to stay off the bike (ugggh!) and to keep my leg elevated. So I lost 2 days of riding time due to this issue, rested up and had everyone on the trip looking out for me. All my riding buddies are stand up guys, and Mac's company throughout this, and my friend Wally's medical advice (a retired Army RN) and constant checking up on me was a Godsend.
My leg looked at its worst which was actually right before it started getting better, as the ER doctor predicted.
The Sharpie outline the ER nurse drew so I could monitor if the infection was spreading or if the antibiotics were doing their job.
Fortunately my leg is back to normal. The infection, swelling and redness has all but disappeared, and its back to looking like my old scrawny leg with healing bug bites. Funny thing is after almost 7 weeks, the bite marks are still faintly there. Perhaps scars? Who knows?
As a word to the wise:
(1) Never minimalize anything that happens to you, especially when you're on the road far away from home.
(2) Always take the collective advice of your friends, as they've got your back, and are much more objective than you could ever be.
(3) Always wear long pants and wear lots of bug repellent when in Maine.
Album link for the pretty pictures: