I woke up the other morning covered in red blotches.
All over my arms, and some on my lower back too.
They began to form into nasty wheals, and my first thought was that it was an allergic reaction, perhaps to something I'd eaten.
I racked back over what I'd eaten the previous 24hrs. I tried to think of anything I'd eaten that I'd never eaten before. And I remembered the previous evening succumbing to a pre-made supermarket Chicken Kiev.
It was truly disgusting.
And very yummy.
So I immediately put that down as the culprit of my red blotches.
I NEVER eat processed food, but for some reason I'd gone against all my natural instincts and eaten this toxic substance.
The wheals didn't go down, and in fact they got worse. They started to break out into little tiny sores.
And I began to think that if it was an allergic reaction to the supermarket Chicken Kiev, then perhaps I should have shown other symptoms as well – like asthmatic breathing, sweats, etc.
I went online, found myself on WebMD, and saw that I most probably had hives – but I couldn't figure out what might have caused them.
Meanwhile the wheals were getting larger, more itchy, and the sores were starting to seep. Pretty awful.
So I went to the doctor. Seems that I've been going to the doctor a bit lately, after not going for years.
The doctor examined me, asked some questions, and told me it was exema. It met all the symptoms. He asked if I'd been stressed lately, and I recalled the previous few days at the university, dealing with the students. That was stressful.
The doctor said I had to be careful that this didn't become permanent, and prescribed various ointments, creams and pills. I got the scripts filled and it cost me $126. The doctor was $75.
I got scared. Exema. That's serious. And it's not pretty. Was my immune system breaking down? Was there some larger underlying cause? Given the stress I've lived under for so many years, was my body starting to cave in?
I took the pills, put the creams on, it didn't really help.
Still there were questions… Why was it just on my arms and neck and hands? Why not my legs, or body? And why were the wheals so itchy?
I looked at myself in the mirror.
And then I remembered. The evening I'd had that putrid Chicken Kiev, I'd gone outside to take a phone call. It was coming on dusk, I sat on a chair in the garden and I got eaten by little tiny sandflies.
I'd totally forgotten this.
They'd really made a meal of me. I was in a t-shirt and jeans, and the hand that had been holding the phone, that was relatively stationary, had the most bites.
There'd been one other time I'd been bitten by sandflies – when I slept on a beach up in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, hanging out with some aboriginal tribal elders.
I recall having the same kind of reaction. Very itchy large red wheals that developed into sores.
So I didn't have hives. I didn't have exema. My immune system wasn't breaking down. The doctor got it all wrong.
They were bug bites.
When my left foot lost sensitivity at the end of my Camino, I thought I was developing MS. Or it was the onset of early diabetes. I'd gone online. Onto WedMD. Yep. MS. Diabetes.
Why do I always default to the worst possible scenario?