14.4296° S, 67.5351° W
So as you probably know by now the one thing I’m having major issues with on a global scale are those wonderful pestilent little bastard known as, mosquitos. No matter where I go or how much Deet spray or clothing I put on, those little fuckers seem to flock towards me and bite the shit out of me until I’m pink and blotchy from head to toe. Of course it doesn’t help that I’m also allergic to their poison and each bite swells up to the size of a grapefruit before it started pussing and oh, don’t even get me started on the itching!
It would come as no surprise that I would be leaving the Amazon jungle with every inch of my body covered (especially after an episode of being attacked by sand-flies, which turns out I’m also allergic to… brilliant). As the next few weeks followed the majority of the bites slowly began to fade, leaving my body a polka dot of scars. However, there was one little dude that just wasn’t going away. It wasn’t until I was camping in San Pedro De Atacama Desert where I began to realise how inflamed the bite was and that the sting hole still had not healed. Constantly flaring up with bites was nothing new to me so I pushed it to the back of my mind and carried on with my adventure through Chile, visiting my childhood friend in Valparaiso and then on to volunteer with Workaway in a surf camp in Pichilemmu.
It was here things started to go downhill. I was carrying out my day to day jobs helping out Nico in his Surfarm when I suddenly dropped to the floor with unbearable pain running through my whole leg. What the Fuck was going on?! As I sat on the floor, my eyes started to blur due to the intense pain and I became really hot. Once the phase had passed I went inside to sit down and ask Nico where the closest Hospital was. Luckily his good friend, who was a Doctor, was only on the other side of town and came over pretty rapidly to see to me. He explained that the bite had become infected and that the infection had spread, resulting in a rash covering the whole middle section of my leg. I was absolutely crapping myself, I was meant to be going skiing in a few days and now I’ve got some dodgy infection from a mozzie lingering around. What made me really crap myself though was when he explained that my leg was full of puss and the only way to drain it was to push all the gunk back out the hole it had come from.
Holy Shit, Holy Shit, Holy Shit. As I braced myself on the sofa, the Dr. took his thumbs at either end of the rash and pressed down hard and then began to slide them toward each other holding the pressure. HOLY FUCKING MOTHER OF MARY. As the pain stung me like a hundred needles, the puss slowly began to ooze out of the bite hole. I was literally screaming the house down. This continued for 30 minutes, each time so painful, but also kinda enjoyable to watch. In the end, the pain was too much and I had to get him to stop. I was exhausted, but so thankful for the doctors help. He gave me a shit load of anti-biotics, prescribed a few days’ rest and then I would be all good to head off skiing in Malalchuello. I looked down to inspect the hole that so much gunk had just come out of and I could see something white moving around, up and down. Was that normal? Was something in there? Was something living inside my leg!? Of course, I asked the doctor ‘Are you sure there isn’t something in my leg, I can see something moving?’. He reassured me that due to the pressure and extraction, my muscles would be convulsing so I would probably be able to see slight movement. Phew, Ok. Imagine that, something living inside my leg!
As I rested up with days spent swinging in hammocks, I began feeling back to 100%. That was until I wore a pair of leggings. I don’t know why, but the tightness of the leggings brought the pain back. The shooting pains I had the first time were nothing compared to this pain though. I lay on the floor screaming and crying, not knowing what to do in agony. I ripped my leggings off, popped a shit tonne of painkillers and the pain began to slowly subside. Ok, baggy pants from here on out I guess. The bite was still infected and I was pushing small amounts of puss out every day, but nothing compared to what had previously come out and the antibiotics were also beginning to do their job. With the all clear from the doctor I headed off on my skiing trip.
In fact, it wasn’t until 3 weeks later and I’d reached Argentina that shit started to get real. My bite had become more painful and now I had a new rash starting to form. Not gunna lie, I was fucking fed up of the bloody thing by now. I was at the point where I thought maybe something was inside of me. I mean, I’m sure I felt the occasional wriggle, and why was there black puss and bubbles popping out this thing? Right, that’s it! I’m off to the Hospital again.
After waiting a few hours, I was brought to a room for a nurse to examine me. She basically told me that it was re-infected and that it was all my fault and down to me touching it and putting my gammy fingers all over it. Well of course I’ve been touching it, but only because it’s constantly been pussing! It didn’t exactly help my case when Jordan perked up about how much I touch it. Again I asked the question ‘Are you sure there isn’t something inside of my leg?’ She actually laughed at me, gave me a prescription for some more antibiotics, told me to lie in bed with my leg elevated and not to move for 3 days. I was pissed off to the max. Stupid bitch thinking it’s all my fault when all I’m trying to do it keep the infection at bay.
As I got back to our accommodation I was ordered to bed and did so with a large scowl across my face. I sat there with my leg in the air and, whilst staring at it, began to think about what if there was something alive in my leg? Maybe the hole was always open because it was an air hole. That would explain why I had pain when I cut off the airway with tight clothing as well as the ‘air’ bubbles that kept coming out my leg. And maybe the shooting pains were when it was eating my flesh or burying itself deeper in to my leg. And maybe the puss keeps turning black because it’s not puss its poo, which would make sense as to why I got such a bad infection. And maybe.... erm, I’m sure that just started moving. It did. Something just literally wriggled inside my leg. Fuck the stupid woman at the hospital and Fuck everyone else for thinking I’m crazy when I say I think there something in my god damn leg. This mother fucker is coming out NOW! I sat there with a torch in my mouth, tweezers in the one hand and trying to use the other hand to pinch at the hole. Just then Jord came in, ‘Kenz what are you doing, you’ve been told not to mess with your leg’.
‘RIGHT!!!! Shut up, sit down and keep your fucking mouth shut. There is something in my fucking leg and you can either help me or sit there and watch!!!’ He quickly came over to the side of the bed and took the tweezers off me to give me a hand. My instructions were as followed: ‘I’m going to push the bite and a little white thing will start to appear. You need to grab it with the tweezers and then pull it out as fast as you can. Ok?’ As I pushed the bite, clear liquid sapped all over my leg and finally a small white thing started to appear. Jord managed to grab it with the tweezers and began to pull it out. Just then a tail flicked out, which caused the tweezers to slip and he quickly wriggled back inside of my leg hole. Then came the realisation across Jordan’s face. ‘Oh my god kenz, you’ve got something in your leg. Something is living inside of your leg.’
Well Duh, I’ve been trying to tell people this for weeks. Whatever it was, it obviously realised he was under attack so began gnawing in to my flesh to bury himself deeper. As I ran around the room with shooting pains I knew we had to get it out. Ok, attempt number 2, let’s go, let’s go. I began to squeeze again, as hard as I could. I slowly began to push the white tail towards the surface and Jord managed to grab it. This time, he kept hold and as he began to pull. My bite, which was originally the size of a pin head, had now expanded to the width of my index finger as it made way for the body of whatever this thing was being pulled out my leg. Fuck!!!!! It was out, Instant relief came over my body. The pain, the swelling, the itching. All of it gone. Oh my god. My hands were shaking with shock and relief as I stared at the larvae of an unknown insect still wriggling around on the piece of paper he had been put on.
I ran downstairs to show the people we were staying with what I had just pulled out my leg. Of course they were as shocked as me. The guy who ran the hostel instantly realised it was a bot fly larvae and pulled up a video on YouTube. Yep that’s what just happened to me!!! Turns out a few more weeks and it would have actually hatched out my leg. Gross! He handed me a bottle of vodka and told me to go upstairs squish it, wash it alcohol and put it down to toilet. Up I ran all hyped still about what had just happened but then… I couldn’t kill it. I had just given birth to this thing, if anything he was a part of me. I mean he had been living of my flesh for 5 weeks. Instead I named him Berty Bot Bot, said goodbye and flushed him away to enjoy the rest of his life. WOW.