There’s a new kind of tourism on the rise in Sioux Falls, folks. It’s not the kind that lands you a badge on your scout uniform or a scenic photo worthy of your mother’s mantelpiece, but it sure does leave an impression. The bemused victim of our tale, Cara Gerdes, decided to mix things up during her recent stay in the unforgiving confines of a local hospital. She chose to experience the hospital not from the cold, rigid, lumpy hospital bed, but from the slightly less lumpy ‘dad couch.’
Let’s just get this out in the open: she squished a bug. Not your garden variety kind of squish, mind you. This wasn’t a sad little mosquito that had a run-in with Cara’s swatting hand. Nay, this bug was, in her opinion, more robust. It was the kind of bug that makes you itch in places you didn’t know you had. The kind that transform your belly into a bumpy roadmap of a bugs journey, with stops at your arms, legs, hands, and feet. It was the kind of bug that forces you to ponder the difference between the itching sensation and the burning sensation at two in the morning.
Dawning on her that these were more than just post surgery hallucinations, Cara presented her newfound blemishes to the hospital staff. They confirmed her suspicion: bed bugs. Indeed, the dad couch offered much more than waiting room snores and restless tossing. It was a living, breathing (ok, maybe not breathing) ecosystem of Bed Bugs Gone Wild.
The hospital staff, while being understanding and empathetic about the bites, weren’t to blame here. They delivered what you’d expect: ice for the swelling and a room transfer. A silver lining in the bed bug saga, it turns out. Cara wasn’t upset about the bed bugs, either. That seems to be a 2022 trend in health facilities across the country. So, what really ticked her off in this undeniably ticklish situation? The upper management.
Cara’s issue isn’t with the bugs, the bites, or even being relocated. The real sting in this situation, curator of her disgruntlement, was the idea of a nurse director suggesting her bed bug thrill ride was a financial issue. A measly financial issue for a multibillion-dollar hospital conglomerate. The nerve!
Her parting words are of caution and vigilance. If you’re ever unfortunate enough to check into a hospital, remember to show no mercy to your baggage. Bag your clothes, travel light, and most importantly, play detective. Don’t hesitate to challenge the cleanliness of the room.
And what about Sanford, you ask? Well, they waved the flag of dedication to cleaning, sanitizing, and vector control. They even hired outside contractors when need be. But will it be enough to keep the invading army of bedbugs at bay? Only time (and Cara’s next visit) will tell.