Truth be told, I’m not digging this whole tropical skin parasite thing. I ended up having to change my flight and am no longer visiting my friends in Connecticut as planned, but spending more time in the ER trying to identify what is eating me.
The good news is that the latest round of nurses and doctors don’t think my parasite friends are so much disgusting as they are curious and interesting. They got a kick out of my mystery pals. After making a few calls to old friends who had practiced medicine in Costa Rica and even trying to track down the elusive Infectious Disease specialists (Who still haven’t reported back to work. No surprise there. Wankers.) they diagnosed me with a dozen different disgusting, but not contagious (?) issues. There is no clear winning answer, and I’m not sure how you’ve felt in this situation, but I kind of want a formal introduction to the guests dining on my legs including name, sign, and favorite toy as a kid.
To get that definitive answer I had to be shot, cut and stitched which totally freaked me out. I tried coming up with ideas for worse things to make me feel better – like getting my legs waxed, eating lutefisk and going to a Corporate Town Hall Meeting all at one go. But that was totally unrealistic and unconvincing. So I cried instead.
I think the doctor understood he was in for an experience when tears started rolling the moment he mentioned needles would be involved in the procedure. It was an involuntary response and I shrugged my shoulders and gestured at my face like I had no control over the situation. But when he told me it was going to hurt, and I would hate him, I didn’t bother trying to explain and just put my head down and cried. I mean, when a doctor tells you something is going to hurt and you’ll feel hatred toward him, I figured it was something worth crying about without embarrassment.
I was slightly hysterical when he told me I only needed to worry about one thing, and that was keeping still. I nodded along because that sounded simple enough, especially since if there is one thing I’m truly good at, it’s doing what people to tell me to do. Unfortunately in this case, my body was shaking from head to toe which probably really annoyed the doctor. And it pissed me off too.
The thing is, I’ve intentionally jumped out of a flying plane before (sure, with another dude and a parachute attached, but I did jump out of a plane really high up in the air). In the past two months I’ve slept with rats, cockroaches, snakes, monkeys, and Rodents of Unusual Size. I even ate termites in the stupid rain forest (they taste like carrots. It has crossed my mind that maybe I didn’t chew hard enough and, not being particularly bright, the termites confused my skin with tree bark, but the doctor dismissed this hypothesis). The point is, I must have some courage somewhere, I think.
It wasn’t evident now and the poor nurse felt sorry for me and offered to hold my hand. I ignored her invitation. Instead I took her entire forearm into a vice grip onto my stomach, clutching her hand with one of mine and her elbow with the other until she asked for it back. I nearly kept it, but she told me my blood was dripping everywhere.
It takes two weeks to see if they can figure out what’s wrong. In the meantime I’m trying to forget about it. It’s tricky since my new friends have decided to check out how my arms taste too and they have managed to steal my appetite and energy. It says a lot for my mother’s ridiculously good cooking skills (and my Aunt Iz and Betsy’s brownies) that I’m eating 5 meals a day even though I have no interest in food. It also says a lot for my dedication to Champagne that I’m able to give my strongest go ever at draining my father’s impressive wine cellar. There’s something about having skin parasites that makes excessive champagne drinking seem A-OK. Not that I needed an excuse.
I do have a glimmer in my eye tonight because my well traveled Uncle Bruce brought out some magic German potions to help cure me. They’re about 75% (?) alcohol and taste like they will kill anything. And that’s more hope than the doctors have given me so far. I think it might work.