Brooke: Wow Jack. I don’t know how you do it, but you do it.

Jack: Why is it always me? First acne, then my sugar intake, then my liver, then concussions, then sunstroke, and now this! I’m starting to think someone is, like, using me to show other kids how to deal with injuries or something!

Brooke: No kidding. Well, at least you don’t have malaria. These are just plain old bug bites.

Jack: Plain old bug bites that are gonna itch me straight to Antarctica!

Brooke: I don’t think so. Those are just mosquito bites. Here, have some USF ointment. It helps with itches and other things that Calendula and Arnica don’t cover.

Jack: Thanks. That’s a little better. But I still want to know why mosquitoes pick on me?

Brooke: Well, not only you, Jack. There are a lot of theories kinda flying around, but one thing we know is that mosquitoes are attracted to heat. But then again, like you said, it all seems to happen to you. Some people say that mosquitoes are more attracted to areas that have been unstable, inflamed or injured.

Jack: So I’m unstable?

Brooke: Maybe not. But you have had a lot of injuries in the past.

Jack: So, the mosquitoes might be attracted to me because of my concussions?

Brooke: Maybe. That’s the idea, anyway.

Jack: Any other reasons?

Brooke: Well, have you been sticking to only ten grams of sugar each day?

Jack: Ummmmm…

Brooke: That could be something. Sugar can cause inflammation, remember we’ve talked about this...

Jack: So, is there anything I can do to keep mosquitoes away from me? I hear repellent with deet in it works like a charm!

Brooke: Your right, it does, but do you want to know why? Because deet is a poison. Putting deet on your skin can actually be extremely harmful to your body.

Jack: And that’s the last thing we want.

Brooke: Right. But, you can look for eucalyptus as a substitute for deet in your mosquito repellent. It works really well, but even though it says long lasting, it’d be better to reapply it every fifteen minutes or so. And it also takes care of ticks too!

Jack: Eucalyptus repellent. Got it. Anything else?

Brooke: Well, obviously wear appropriate clothing. Long pants, sleeves, etc. Just remember, there are so many theories out there, but let’s just stick to the theories that mosquitoes are attracted to heat and that sugar causes inflammation. You know, you might just have ‘mosquito blood’.

Jack: Haha. Er, is that an actual symptom.

Brooke: Only for people named Jack.

Jack: Hmm. Maybe I don’t itch too much to chase you back to your house.

Brooke: I’d rather not. How about a board game instead? Jack: Sure, just so long as its not ‘Operation’. If there is someone controlling my injuries, I don’t want to give him any ideas.

_ _ _ _ _

This short story is written by Caleb, one of Hope Clinic’s 12 year old patients who, when he isn’t fighting off mosquitoes while tearing up the soccer field or baseball diamond, he spends time beating his dad at chess and practicing to become an author.