Eaten Alive

August 04, 2008 By: erik Category: Complaining 560 views

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Here goes my first post by iPhone. I’m lying in bed and it’s too hot to sleep and I need something to take my mind off my skin. Last night, the first night here, I had trouble sleeping because my feet were itching. I got up at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00. But there’s little to do. What there is to do is stargaze. At 3:00, I finally got out my camera and tripod and entertained myself for a bit. From 3:00 to 4:00, I took a one hour exposure looking towards Polaris, which resulted in my coolest star trails shot so far. It has some noise in the form of red dots that must be lens dust or something. Speaking of red dots…

Throughout the first full day here, my bug bites from the night before developed into bright red dots all over my legs, shoulders and torso. When I got up from the daily siesta, my in-laws took one look at my and rushed me off to the doctor. The GP on call on Sunday afternoon was a genius. He said, “What you need to do is avoid letting them bite you.” We asked how we should do that. In his infinite wisdom, Dr. Einstein said, “Well, you’re not from around here, are you? I’d recommend going back where you came from.” Brilliant. He asked how long we were staying. “15 days,” we said. He asked how long we’d been here so far. “One day,” we said. He laughed. Helpful.

He gave me a prescription (GPs never let you leave without one.) for some anti-itch pills. We also bought some bug repellent in the pharmacy. Back in the village, word had spread of my “state”, and everybody and their sister had a household remedy, each supported by exactly one data point of anecdotal evidence. As I type this, my entire left side is covered in a calcium and olive oil (extra virgin!) mix. Marga noted my skepticism and suggested leaving my right side as a control. Not exactly a double blind clinical trial, but better than nothing. Two hours in, and oily side is much more irritating. Not helping my iPhone screen either, I might add.

I won’t be sharing any pictures on Flickr any time soon, I’m afraid. It seems that someone has gained access to my Yahoo account and changed my password. So now I have to try to prove my identity to Yahoo tech support. The main problem being that I’ve had the account for ten years, lived in four different countries, and am sure I updated my account profile a few times, but don’t remember when or where. And they are demanding that I tell them the postal code and country on the account. What a bloody nightmare!

That’s it for now. Plenty of daily pics over on!

  • Update: apparently no new bites were sustained last night and previous bites are itching less. To respond to some off-blog questions… The exact culprit has not been identified. Almost positive they are bug bites, but the little critters must be too small to see with the naked eye.

    No doubt my father is already investigating other vacation destinations, rather than coming here next year as planned. Dad, it’s still worth coming. But bring all the firepower your dermitologist will sell you both over and under the counter.

    I know you will all be shocked to learn that the olive oil concoction did little to help the bites. But what it did do is magically restore my Yahoo password. Unbelievable!

    So over all, a big improvement from yesterday.

  • Paul

    I’ll admit to being concerned, since I have years of data showing my blood to be the most delectable, but I’m still up for coming next year. I’ll bring all the creams and ointments I can get my hands on, and perhaps a couple small battery operated fans I’ll try to mount on a hat. And maybe a beekeeper’s suit.

  • Today I went to another doctor. This one actually went to medical school, not like the other one that must have been trained on a World War I battlefield where amputation was the prescription for everything.

    I have Prurigo. That’s doctorese for “itchy spots on skin of unknown origin”. He said that I’m having an allergic reaction (my first ever!!!) to something, probably small mite bites. But that it’s possible that the bugs don’t really exist and it’s to something else. He suggests washing the sheets a few more times. And he gave me an anti-histamine prescription.

    This “bugs are imagined” idea coincides with the evidence since we added an extra clean sheet to avoid olive oil stains during the first treatment, which is when the “bites” stopped.

    My original spots are fading and itching much less. A full recovery looks very possible in a day or two. Yay!

  • Paul

    Here my Skin Doctor calls it “contact dermatitis”, which means they think my problem is because my skin came into contact with something. Certainly a reasonable guess. From there, however, all directions lead towards treatment, and none towards prevention, with the exception of allergy testing. That was described to me as an organized attempt to get my skin to react badly to one or more swabs or pricks of matter, and I never seriously considered it.

  • KP

    Portuguese docs were the same way – you cannot leave the building without a prescription in hand. Weird. I hope the itch hath subsided and left you with the time to enjoy your iPhone (i am SO jealous i want to spit).

    Can I link to you from Kramblings?

    Peace out. (I love the monkey photo. And I had to type ‘balls’ as the anti-spam word. I am channeling my inner eleven-year-old and giggling like mad.)

  • Yes, the itching hath subsided. It was only that first day, thankfully.

    Re: Iberian docs… That’s the effect of socialized medicine, methinks. Gotta seem like you’re curing something. They give you the weakest drug to be more or less a placebo.

    No need to ask permission to give me sweet sweet linkage. Thanks for stopping by!