At the Purcari Winery in the village of Purcari, Moldova. Photo taken December 7, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A visit to a Colombian doctor...

Not for Ruth this time though. Fortunately, her kidney infection from a week or so ago seems to be all better.

This time, it's my turn.

About five or six days ago I noticed a rash appearing on the left side of my right calf. I've had this twice before in the past couple of years, both times while in Mexico. But this time it got much worse.

The last two times I got it, I put it down to a reaction from insect bites, but I wasn't sure. It's really itchy for the first two days and little blisters appear. Almost like chicken pox, but not the same. The last time, although it was still localized on my calves and ankles, the blisters appeared elsewhere. After three weeks it was all cleared up.

A couple of days ago I went to the pharmacist and got some antihistamine, but it wasn't doing anything. So yesterday when I got up (after very little sleep due to the severe itching) and I noticed that my right lower leg and ankle was a bit swollen, we decided to search out a doctor. Also, the rash and blisters had spread to my waist, chest, and a bit on my back. It's quite nasty.

There is a skin rash called Dermatitis Herpetiformis that occurs in a lot of gluten intolerant and celiac patients. From what I've read, it is more common in men. From my research, I think this is what I have. You have to do a skin biopsy to prove it, so at this point we're just guessing. At some of the hostel breakfasts recently I jumped off the wagon and ate some bread simply because I was hungry and they had nothing else. I believe this is what brought on the rash.

There is a drug called "Dapsone" that is apparently very effective, so we walked over to the big drug store near the hospital. He looked it up but doesn't stock it and would have to order it from Bogota. He made a couple of other suggestions, but at that point we decided it would be wise to see a doctor first. I had noticed a private clinic near the hospital, but he said to just go to the Red Cross building...it would be quicker.

The Red Cross building in Popayan.

We got there about 11:00am, and saw the sign that says they close at 11:30am on Saturdays. I showed the guy at the gate the rash on my arm, and asked if we could see a doctor. He hummed and hawed, then said fine...the cost would be 20,000 pesos ($9.10 CAD).

He let us in and we went to the registration, where the guy wanted ID. The thought of that had never crossed our minds. I had left my wallet and passport locked up in our room. We rushed back to the hotel and made it back to the Red Cross building by 11:15, and fortunately the guy still let us in!

We did the registration and paid the 20,000 pesos. I got the receipt so that I can claim back from our Saskatchewan health care. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it'll be funny to see how much of it they will reimburse!

We were led over to another desk where a guy asked us some questions but we were having a hard time with the Spanish. He noticed this, and went and got a girl who who led us to an exam room. When we got in there, she says "so, how can I help you" in very good English!

This young lady was the doctor, and it turns out she had done one year of training at a school in New York City! Her English was quite good, although she says she doesn't get enough practice.

She takes a look at my rash and blisters. I showed her on the iPhone about the Dermatitis Herpetiformis and Dapsone and asked what she thought. She said it's possible, but they can't get Dapsone there so we'll try something else. She wrote down three things to pick up at the drugstore...an antiviral drug, an anti inflammatory injection, and some ibuprofen. I told her that although the rash looks really bad, I have no pain...just itching. She said don't take the ibuprofen unless I need to.

We went to the drug store just outside the Red Cross building, and he had everything in stock. Cost was 29,000 pesos ($13.20 CAD) for everything.

Back into the Red Cross where they injected that stuff into my butt. Ouch! Almost needed the ibuprofen just for that!

Back at the hotel room, of course the first thing I do is look up this antiviral medication. Turns out it's usually used to treat shingles. This rash looks like it could be shingles, but I have none of the associated symptoms. And if it is Dermatitis Herpetiformis, it likely won't do any good because that's not a viral infection. I guess only time will tell...if it is a virus, we'll see improvement in two to three days. If it's not, it could be two to three weeks.

Fortunately, other than the look of it and the bad itching, I feel fine. So unless things get worse, all it's affecting is my lack of sleep. Anyhow, we'll keep our fingers crossed because it sure is annoying!

In the afternoon, we wandered around the city some more, and found a place for a late lunch.

This old "Chiva" bus getting loaded up with supplies.

Still a few horses being worked.

Colonial buildings in the downtown core are almost all white.

Putting Christmas decorations up in the park.

We notice more of a military presence in the southern part of the country.

University kids.

This group of young people came up to us and said they were in the local university English class and asked if they could videotape an interview with us for a project they're doing. Sure! I only noticed after the fact that at least three (possibly four, I can't read the one on the left) of them have U.S. based clothing on. I just found that interesting.

Old church.

More white buildings.

It had been drizzling with rain, but it started raining harder and we were looking for somewhere to eat. I saw a place that looked a little pricey, but we wanted out of the rain. Sure enough though, they had a lunch special on. This one was higher than normal, at 14,600 pesos ($6.64 CAD) for the two of us. It was just okay. We've had better lunches here.

Fresh fruit juice, and bean soup.

Then the meal came. I had the pork, and Ruth had the chicken. With rice, a small salad, and plantain.

Didn't sleep well again last night. The itching was really bad. Rash doesn't look any worse this morning, but it doesn't look any better either. 

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42 comments:

  1. Good luck with your rash, hope you can get it under control.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it is going to be one of those things that will just take time to heal.

      Delete
  2. Let's hope it is not shingles; that would be a rough ride for you. Get well quick.

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    Replies
    1. Kevin is pretty sure it isn't shingles. He hasn't had any flu like symptoms and no pain at all, plus the rash isn't localize to one area of the body.

      Delete
  3. Kathy has had Shingles and the itch was unbelievable. However the rash was also painful. Good Luck getting rid of it.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kevin's mom has also had shingles and she said it was painful as well. He is pretty sure that it isn't shingles. Looks like it will just take time and patience for it to heal.

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  4. Your description does sound a lot like shingles. Shingles follows a nerve path so it will be only on one side and then will abruptly stop. The itching is horrible (can you tell I have had this, Yuk) I hope it gets better soon. Shingles can return multiple times too. When you are back in Canada look into getting a shingles vaccine, even though you have already had it the research says it may prevent other breakouts. Glad Ruth is doing better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is pretty sure it isn't shingles. No flu like symptoms and no pain, plus the rash is almost all over his body, not just in one area of the body. He is pretty sure that it is due to eating gluten after going so long without it, it just seems too much of a coincidence and from the reading he has done with other people who have had a reaction like this, it sounds very, very similar to his.

      I am happy to be feeling better and to not be the one with the rash. The itching would drive me crazy, they would actually have to sedate me, literally!

      Delete
  5. I got a shot for shingles so cross my fingers I don't ever get it. My sister had it and she said it was terrible....says she scratched some areas of her skin raw. Get well soon.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, shingles doesn't sound like a nice thing to have. I would be like you sister and have my skin scratched raw as well. Kevin thanks you for the well wishes.

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  6. So sorry to hear about your rash. The itching must be almost unbearable. I wonder if a cortisone creme might be of some help. Sending healing thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried to get him to use my cortisone creme but it would take several days if not more to start taking effect plus he would end up going through a tube in no time even with applying it thinly like you should. So much of his body is covered with this rash, plus I don't think that much cortisone is good for the system. He may change his mind though and give it a try.

      Delete
  7. What about something like Benadryl for the itching at night? Plus it might help you sleep. I immediately thought of shingles as well, but there is pain as well. Hope you feel better! www.wearetheshaws.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He tried that and it didn't do any good. :-(

      Kevin says thank you for the well wishes.

      Delete
  8. Dear Ruth and Kevin,,to help ,feel better accuppuncture always helps , me , hopefully , is not hard to find ,sending healing wishes ..the best of luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it doesn't start to feel better, he just may look into acupuncture, thanks for the suggestion.

      Delete
  9. My daughter had that from eating gluten after being without for so long. I will ask her what she did. She itched terrible.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Flowergirl. Yep, Kevin said the itching is terrible but he has lots of willpower and isn't scratching it. I would be raw if it had been me.

      Delete
  10. Hope you get some relief quickly !

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Randy, Kevin is hoping for the same too!

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  11. I hope it's not shingles. I've had them and they really are not pleasant,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is pretty sure it isn't but I bet the itchiness is much the same as what he is dealing with, luckily he has no pain.

      Delete
  12. Replies
    1. Nope, it's not bedbugs, that had crossed our minds at first but we didn't see any and I wasn't affected at all.

      Delete
  13. I had hives once (allergic reaction), and nearly went out of my mind with itching. I went to an emergency clinic near Portland ME where it was diagnosed and Prednisone prescribed -- whew, thank goodness. Wonder could you be describing hives? Whatever it is, I feel your pain ... er, itch!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, he is pretty sure it is hives due to an allergic reaction but we can't be totally sure. He is pretty sure it is due to eating gluten. He has looked into this Prednisone and there is a possibly that it may help, we will check at the drug store and see if they have it. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Delete
  14. Sounded Shingly to me as well, but I do hope that isn't it and that by the time the next post rolls around you will be feeling fine and NOT itching!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it does sound a little shingly like but other than the itching nothing else matches up to the symptoms. He is trying some Caladryl and it does seem to be helping relive the itch a little bit, hopefuly tomorrow will be a better day.

      Delete
  15. What a terrible thing to happen to you on such a neat trip. I know all about being kept awake itching but mine is always the no seems and mosquitoes covering me like chicken pox. I sure hope this is nothing serious and you get some sleep. Lack of sleep is seriously bad for your health. So sorry you are having this trouble. Do the antihistamines at least help with the itching. I found that Claritin does.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Considering all the traveling that we have done this is probably the first time both of us have had issues on a trip and the first time that we have had to go out and buy medication of some sort or other. Hopefully it will heal quickly or at least subside somewhat that it becomes bearable for him. I would be like you. I can't handle noseeum or mosquito bites, they make me itch like crazy too!

      No, antihistamines haven't helped at all, in fact one night after taking them he found that he was even worse in the morning.

      Delete
  16. OK an old wives remedy for the itching
    Windex spray it on OK you can stop laughing now but it's the small amount of alcohol
    It does the job
    If you can't find Windex you can take a little bit of water and a little bit of alcohol in a spray bottle and spray it on
    Or you can get a bottle a Rum one shot for you and one shot for the spray bottle,, you'll not only feel good you smell good to
    That's my shot on the take

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like you remedy Mister Ed, makes me think of the movie "My Big Fat Wedding" where the grandfather had suggested windex for a pimple that she had show up the morning of the wedding but she didn't use it but her boyfriend did and his pimple was gone before the wedding started.

      Kevin has been trying the alcohol route but it doesn't seem to be working. :-(

      Delete
  17. What? You don't have medivac to take you back home to a Canadian doctor? OMG! Get well soon. If it is shingles, you'll get over it. Everybody does. I like Mr. Ed's remedy.

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    Replies
    1. Nope, no medivac! :-) Wouldn't want to leave a great holiday just for that. Whatever it is he will get over it, it will just take time no matter what it is.

      Delete
  18. Okay, here is the cream my daughter got from Doctor Betamethasone Valerate Cream .1%. I am still waiting from the prescription she was given.

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    Replies
    1. Betamethasone was the shot I was given! So yes, that makes sense. I would need a lot of cream...

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  19. Bless you, Kevin! Hope it isn't shingles! My sister-in-law in Florida suffered with them for months. She couldn't stand clothes touching her skin. Crossing our fingers and hope you are feeling better soon!!!

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    Replies
    1. He is pretty sure it isn't Connie but I am sure that the feeling is similar, especially for the itchiness. Kevin's mother has had it as well and she said that it didn't sound like shingles. She had a tough time with it too. Kevin is hoping he feeling better soon too, at least enough that he can get a good night's sleep.

      Delete
  20. The rash does not sound like fun:( Hope the meds work!

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    Replies
    1. Nope, it is not fun. The medication helps a little but not a lot.

      Delete
  21. I recall reading recently that you were walking in an area where there was plants that were poisonous. Maybe you touched one, and are suffering now. I prayed for you. Blessings, Lynn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had thought of that as well and it is a possibility but when we do these hikes we wear long clothing and try not to touch the plants with our hands. However, there is that possibility.Thanks for thinking of Kevin.

      Delete

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