Originally, this started small, on my right calf, and left forearm and it simply got a little bit worse every day...for the last two weeks!
To the point where the left forearm and right calf are really bad...and the rest of my body is affected to varying degrees. Odd, but nothing on my face or hands.
We tried going to a Red Cross clinic a week ago Saturday (link here), but after three days of that medication it was only getting worse, so I stopped taking anything altogether. Some anti itch cream lotion helped a little, but the soothing effect wore off quickly. And it was designed for small areas only.
So, last night I looked up some private medical clinics here in Bogota. Colombia has a booming medical tourism industry and some very modern state of the art facilities in both Bogota and Medellin. We decided to go to the Clinica de Marly, about 5 kms (3 miles) from our hostel.
We took a taxi over there (8,400 pesos $3.82 CAD) at about 11:00am and found the entrance to the "clinic". Turns out that this is not a simple clinic...this is a full scale hospital!
It was a pretty busy place, but we found a "client services" desk and one of the girls there spoke quite good English. It turns out that she lived just outside of Toronto for a year. She was really helpful. I explained the problem and she made us an appointment for 2:30pm yesterday afternoon to see a general doctor. The cost would be 61,900 pesos ($27.85 CAD) and we could pay with credit card at the time of the appointment.
She also booked an appointment with a specialist dermatologist for Wednesday morning, That would cost 120,000 pesos ($54.00 CAD) if the general doctor thinks that we should go. Otherwise, we simply cancel the appointment.
We had some time to waste before the 2:30pm appointment so we went for a walk.
Yep, those little yellow taxis are everywhere!
And the graffiti is everywhere too.
A nice looking church. The interior was nothing special.
More graffiti. They even graffiti the glass here.
Isn't graffiti attractive?
Haven't seen a city this bad for graffiti since Morelia in Mexico. Terribly unsightly. I wrote a blog post about graffiti a few years ago...
However, graffiti is considered by some to be "art". And some of it really is art, and it's amazing. But when it's unregulated you have to put up with a lot of the crap as well. Some people believe that this art makes a city more vibrant and interesting. Not us. We think it makes the city look like trash.
As Derek, one of our facebook readers commented... "Art" is in the eye of the beholder. And when said "art" is done on property not owned by the artist, it is vandalism, regardless of how nice it may look or how famous the supposed "artist" is.
Yep. We agree.
Along our walk, we decided to stop at a cafe bakery and I ordered a hot chocolate and Ruth ordered an orange juice. The girl asked if we wanted anything to eat, and I explained about us not eating wheat. She said that she had something, and brought over a couple of pieces of cake.
We each had a bite of our cakes and quickly decided that they were made from wheat flour. Now I know that our Spanish is not great, but we really don't get how she could have misunderstood. I called another girl over, and sure enough she said these cakes were made with wheat flour. She looked around at the offerings and got us a big hunk of cake made with corn flour. Much better, and we were not charged for the other two.
I was facing the street, and while we were sitting there, a young grubby looking man came up to the front counter. The staff were quite far away from that section and he said something and as soon as the girl turned around he grabbed a bun and ran back onto the busy sidewalk. One of them went after him, but she quickly returned. He was gone with his bun!
It was getting close to 2:00pm and we had to go to the clinic.
Once inside, it was packed. We had to take an electronic number and we thought it would take forever, but they ran through the numbers quickly. Our appointment showed up in the computer and we paid the 61,900 pesos ($27.85 CAD) by credit card. We should be able to collect this back from our Saskatchewan provincial medical insurance.
Waiting our turn.
Once we paid, we were directed up to the 2nd floor. It was busy up there too, but the nurse said to take a seat.
Minutes later, the doctor came out and asked for me...right at 2:30pm! We were impressed.
Dr. Mauricio Bethes was really good. A guy about our age and his English was quite good. He said that he had gone to a private school in his youth and he and his sister were in the English full immersion program. Then as an adult he lived in Florida for one year.
He was very thorough in dealing with my problem. I thought he was doing a full physical at one point. long story short, he thinks that I had had an allergic reaction to something, but without getting into a battery of tests there is no way to be sure. It is not shingles, but may be a form of eczema.
The main thing is to get rid of it and make me more comfortable.
I have two different drugs to take...antibiotics because two areas are infected and that is also causing the swelling... and a once a day heavy dose of Prednisone which is an anti inflammatory. I had tried taking this last week on my own, but the dose was not nearly enough.
Plus, two different types of skin cream...Presiderm, a skin anitbiotic ointment, and Cetaphil lotion for dry skin.
The four things at the pharmacy cost 160,000 pesos ($72.00 CAD)!
Says I should see a definite improvement in 24 hours and if it's not getting better in three days to go back and see the specialist.
We then started walking back towards the hostel, knowing that it was about 5 kms (3 miles). We stopped for an early dinner, and took some photos along the way. Before we knew it, we were back at the hostel.
One nice mural. And a bunch of not so nice stuff down below.
Mittens and Christmas themed stuff for sale on the street.
Some very modern apartment buildings here.
And some modern office buildings too.
This is very cool.
This is not very cool!
This is what most of the streets in our area look like!
With the occasional piece that's really well done.
Today, we're off to the Bogota Gold Museum. It's one of the things that we came to Colombia to see, so we're kind of excited about it!
Great deal this morning on a Black and Decker cordless hand vac. I always thought this unit might be good for an RV....
And in Canada, a great deal on an electric snowblower. Hey, it's December 1st...if you don't already have snow, you will soon!