Ill but probably not sick with West Nile

What a vacation week this has been. Two fun-filled days with appointments at my local VA clinic and the Michael E. DeBakey VAMC in Houston. To top it all off, to paraphrase my Daddy, I feel like I been dragged through Hell hanging on a sack of crap and the sack busted.

What’s wrong with me? Ask 10 doctors and I bet you would get 10 different diagnoses. I’ve had slight fever, on and off, chills, various lower GI complaints, and just a general malaise. And no General Malaise wasn’t an infantry commander for the Confederacy. Malaise also isn’t the South Pacific nation with its capital in Kuala Lumpur.

I fear my problem is West Nile Virus. That is because I was swarmed a week or so ago by mosquitoes over in Orange County, Texas, near the border with Louisiana. I was in a lady’s yard on business. She invited me to sit down outside her mobile home and we commenced to be pounced upon by mosquitoes like a duck on a June bug. Oooh. That hurts me just thinking about it. Crunch!

Since then I began carrying  a can of Off in my business car but have yet to need it. But it has been quite some time since I was eaten alive by those contrary little bastards as I was that day. I am paranoid about West Nile because it can be quite uncomfortable and make one pretty sick. It can even kill you. The latter is enough to make you want to have a can of DEET spray in a holster on a Sam Browne belt. “Excuse me, ma’am, Mosquito Police.” In this area of Texas we have “mosquito districts” that are part of the county government. They are not as the word, literally applied would indicate, districts that are explicitly set aside for mosquitoes. I wish such districts existed as I would be certain not to visit. Actually, they are called “mosquito control districts.”

As I have mention a number of times before on this page the district in my county flies over in a couple of planes, usually it a Beechcraft King Air — if I am not mistaken. It is a twin-engine turboprop plane used as a “cropless duster”  that could probably blow the skivvies off a skinny gal 100 feet or so below on terra firma. The district also uses trucks that spray. The aforementioned Orange County also has spray planes and trucks. These brave pilots and ground sprayers, as well as those who test areas for mosquitoes, do as much as they can to get rid of these disease-carrying menaces. This area of the Gulf Coast has seen all types of mosquito-borne illnesses over time ranging from malaria and full-blown yellow fever. The latter reportedly killed about 100 people in the Jefferson County during an 1862 epidemic. West Nile has showed up here as well including some cases this year. No deaths have been reported so far but WNV has killed here before.

I probably don’t have West Nile. It’s probably no more than some kind of stomach disruption or IBS (I Bite Sheep). I don’t know. I do know to be vigilant and pretty much slather oneself with mosquito repellent, at least here where I live. Mosquito spray doesn’t always smell all that hot, but usually it’s at least better than Brut and most times will keep the skeeters at bay.

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