Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life: Melissa Kite

Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life: Melissa Kite

Article excerpt

Credit: Melissa Kite

'Ouch!' said the ex-builder boyfriend. 'I think something's bitten me.' And a few seconds after that, something bit me too. We had been walking in the woods with the spaniel, when a winged creature of some sort, or possibly an agile snake, decided to take a chunk out of us both.

Within a few hours, the builder was complaining of feeling sick. And my leg started swelling. I'm allergic to mosquito bites, or at least I suspect I am because whenever I get one, it grows to a carbuncle.

This time, the bite left an angry raised red patch on the back of my thigh that just grew, and grew, and grew...I decided to plaster it in steroid cream and dose myself up with antihistamine. I went to bed that night confident that a dollop of Dermovate, a handful of Cetirizine and a couple of Atarax thrown in for good measure would sort it out. Legal notice: Please don't try this at home.

The next morning, when I struggled out of my drug-induced daze, the bite had spread all the way up and down the thigh in an angry red sea. All the same, I thought, I'm pretty sure I've had one this bad before. There was that time in Italy when I had to hold an onion on my leg for a week before the swelling went down, for example. So I carried on and drove to Oxford for a meeting.

Feeling a bit hot and itchy, I then drove to the Midlands to see my parents. When I finally got to Warwickshire and took my jeans down, as it were, I realised I did not have a leg, so much as a leg-sized mosquito bite.

With a heavy heart, I drove to the A&E near my parents' home. Whereupon a right old palaver ensued about why I was having the temerity to demand treatment in a hospital other than my own local one in London.

I wouldn't have minded this so much, but I was checking in alongside a French lady whose son had twisted his ankle. No one could make out a word she was saying -- apart from me, but they didn't ask for my help, so I kept quiet -- but she was duly checked in anyway, after the staff gave up trying to spell the word 'au'.

The nurse dealing with me, meanwhile, was extracting every kind of detail imaginable including my telephone number, next of kin, their telephone number. …

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