It's like waking up to a traveller's nightmare. Christchurch local Debbie Roome slept at an Auckland motel and woke up with more than 300 bites from bed bugs.
Ms Roome was in Auckland earlier on December 15 to attend a friend's graduation. She stayed at the Auckland Airport Kiwi Motel for a night, discovering a few hours later that she had become food for dozens of bed bugs.
"I switched my cellphone on and I could see in the light all these little bugs scurrying around the bed and in the pillows. I was disgusting," she was quoted by Fairfax NZ News as saying.
"I woke up at 3:30 am and shone my cellphone on the bed and saw these bed bugs scuttling off in every direction," she was quoted by 3News as saying. "I didn't want to wake my friend up, so I sat on the edge of the bed for the next two hours and told them when I checked out that the room was infested and I'd like a refund."
She already had a few bites visible on her body, but more showed up by the time she reached the airport.
"It turned out to be over 300 bites. By the time I was supposed to fly home, I had swollen up in these big welts all over my body and my face. My lips were turning blue. Air New Zealand wouldn't let me fly home because of the swelling and the possibility of going into shock and not being able to breathe."
She was taken to an emergency clinic, and had to stay one more night in Auckland in a different hotel before she was able to fly home. But the nightmare didn't end there.
Ms Roome woke up on Christmas Eve after the bites flared up again.
She told Fairfax NZ News, "My doctor was horrified; he said it looked like I had been bitten the day before rather than 10 or 11 days ago. So he put me on antibiotics and cortisone, which is finally working. They're still quite visible, but the itching is almost gone."
Ms Roome now wants the Auckland Airport Kiwi Motel to reimburse her for the expenses that she incurred after being bitten by the bed bugs found in her room. The motel did not charge her for the night that she stayed there, but she had to shell out money for the extra night that she was forced to stay in Auckland, as well as for the expenses of medication and visits to the doctors.
"My total expenses have been about $305, and it was all a direct result of my staying in the room and being bitten, so I really think they should have covered the whole amount."
The motel has already paid about $130 to cover her expenses.
Its manager, Shalend Prasad, said that they had investigated the incident, and had pest management policies in place.