I live in a country that one must live in peaceful coexistence with the insect population or one might go mad. The tropical climate that we enjoy is also enjoyed by a multitude of flying, crawling, inching, squirming, squishing, sliming 6-8 legged creatures.

Now, I am not an altogether squeamish person, but I am certainly not a entomologist. There is not a lot of love in me for these insects that think they deserve to share my home. And for some unknown reason, there is not a house to be found that has a screen in a window. So the houses are just an extension of the great out of doors for many of these lovely little creatures.

My house tends to get overrun by 3 types of insects.


Yes, you read that right. Maggots! In the summer here, it is not an unusual sight to come into the kitchen for breakfast and see maggots crawling out of your garbage can and squirming all over the floor. Is your stomach turning? Well, mine certainly does. Breakfast does not seem so enticing after manually squishing 20+ maggots with a paper towel prior to eating your porridge! ;-) Now, if one remembers to take out the garbage every second day or so, then one manages to avoid this phenomena, but alas, the days roll by and all too often, my mornings are met with a maggot contingency in the breakfast nook!

Have I got you squirming yet?

I do complain about the bugs. I have become very close friends with a little can of goodness called “Doom.” Carl thinks I am obsessive compulsive about killing every insect I find in the houseā€¦ but even so, I do believe I can live happily despite the parade of bugs that goes through my house. There is a line though.

A very distinct line.

My body. My children’s bodies. Any human body.

I have zero appreciation for any type of insect on or in a human body. This goes all the way back to my Philippine days, but that is another story!

Unfortunately, last week my line was crossed. We had a new client come to see us at SOH for help. She is battling TB, Aids, and Kaposi’s Sarcoma, which is a rare type of cancer that sometimes accompanies Aids. We have helped her get onto treatment and she is improvingā€¦ but the first week we met her, she had bandages all over her leg wounds (from the cancer.) We had taken her to the local clinic, but they were “too busy” to change her dressings. The dressings had not been changed for over a week. So the next day, our staff brought her to the Centre, and I changed the dressings.

As I pulled off the first dressing and looked closely at the wound, I could see it was moving. That was the first hint that my line was about to be crossed!!!

Yes, the wound was horribly infested with maggots.

I kindly told our client that she had maggots in her wound, and she responded, “I thought so. I could feel something moving.”

Horrified. I kept my face calm and tried to calm the screaming that was taking place in my brain! I began washing the maggots out and killing them with hydrogen peroxide. I refrained from getting my Doom! Thankfully, they were relatively easy to get out and we redressed the wounds. Teaching followed about how important it was to keep her wound clean and to do daily dressing changes. We supplied her with education and dressings so that she can even do the dressings herself. She is now in the hospital getting treatment for her cancer. (The maggots are long gone in this picture, but you can see the wounds in her legs.)

Bugs be gone!!!

5 Responses to Bugs
  1. Valorie Young Reply

    I had to do the same thing here in NM when I first started nursing. A man (diabetic) who lived on the reservation was brought in one summer day. His diabetic leg wounds were getting infected and needed dressings. I started cleaning the wound when I saw the little white maggots moving! I had to pick them out one at a time! I was so grossed out! They had really been helping the wound by de-breeding it!

    • admin Reply

      I have heard that they often use maggots with really badly infected wounds to debride them, but I just couldn’t leave those squirming creatures in her leg! I told Carl that the maggots they use in deriding have to be supervised! And I was not willing to supervise these ones!! ;-)

  2. Ruth Reply

    So did you feel like the wound was “cleaned and debrided by those maggots”. I too have read that they will eat away all the dead flesh, but never had a willing patient to try. : )

  3. Shauna Reply

    I loved that spray because of the cockroaches when we were there!
    We also had a transient lady had a terrible leg infection with Safeworks (HIV testing and Harm Reduction program on the van) who had maggots that the nurse had to clean out. It is moments like that when I am so happy to not be the nurse!

  4. Shell Reply

    I SO love doom!

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