The last few weeks of March and the first few days of April have been the most torturous days of my life. I have just gotten better from a long-standing cough and cold and I thought God has finally given me the chance to breathe normally. I am one of those people who have a weak respiratory system and all my life, I have spent the majority of it either coughing or having breathing problems.
The Kissing Bug
One day however, I found a very itchy insect bite in my right forearm. The first thing I applied to the area was Caladryl which is known to relieve itchiness. I gave it fifteen minutes and put up with the unbearable itch which was then starting to form a big swollen round of red. It was inflaming so much and Caladryl was obviously not working. I then rummaged through my medicine cabinet to see what else may be of use and found Vicks Vaporub instead. This one is known to sting when an area has a thin layer of skin and the inflammation is bad, but I took the risk and applied it anyway.
Surprisingly, Vicks Vaporub gave me a brief and temporary relief from the itch and discomfort. I went to bed that night hoping that next day, that one big insect bite mark would soon be gone, or at least get smaller in size.
But I didn’t even have to wait for the sun to rise because some time around three or four in the morning the next day, I woke up scratching and almost wringing my entire forearm and this time up to my right arm just to get some feeling of relief from the itchiness. I ran to the bathroom to have a good look at my forearm and arm in my attempt not to wake up Ralph who was then sleeping soundly in the bed. When I turned on the light in the bathroom, I was appalled to see some more big rounds of red forming almost the majority area of my forearm extending down to my wrist and hand and five big red marks on my arm.
I was close to tears! Not only am I worried about the itching, I am worried that these marks would leave an ugly and permanent discoloration in my arm and forearm. I have a rather fair to white complexion and even the slightest bite I have in any part of my skin is noticeable.
When my husband and I sought medical treatment from Garrison Diagnostic Center, I was given LactiCare lotion and two anti-histamine tablets good for seven days. The doctor said that it is possible I could have been bitten by a Triatomine insect or more popularly known as the kissing bug. He also forewarned me that if I get bitten again by the same insect, that the rash can spread all over the body to the point of Anaphylactic shock.
Wow, that was definitely alarming! So the moment we got home, I cleaned my room thoroughly, more particularly under the bed as the doctor has emphasized and guess what? Something triangularly-shaped insect resembling a cockroach was trying to flee from the “crime scene” and I instantly sprayed it with an insect spray. Sure enough, it was the Kissing Bug! Caught and killed! I will never give it a chance to cause some more damage than it already has!
Religiously taking anti-histamines and administering LactiCare with the right percent gradually took care of my issue.
Mass in my Popliteus
While I was dealing with my kissing bug dilemma, I already sensed the gradual nagging pain at the back of my left knee. I didn’t give too much attention to it because the rashes in my skin was at the top of my priority. But just right after my skin was showing less discoloration from the bite marks, my knee pain became worst. The back of my knee which is my popliteal area has a somewhat “bony” or “hard lump” forming. It is that hard that you would think it’s a bone! The anterior area which is my knee is swollen and rounded than normal. So when I put my knees together, you would notice how big one is from the other.
I was actually becoming more and more embarrassed each time I have to list my name at the reception area because It was making me look like something is always wrong with me!
The point where I took it seriously is when I found myself having difficulty walking one day. My left knee wouldn’t extend in its normal range of motion and because of that hardened mass in the center of what was supposed to be a softened depressed area of the joint, my left knee could only extend minimally so it was still looking like it was in a flexed position. Of course I am aware that joints that are restricted in movements will eventually decrease their normal range of motion and muscles responsible for those movements are more likely to atrophy due to disuse.
So off we went to the same doctor again. I was actually becoming more and more embarrassed each time I have to list my name at the reception area because It was making me look like something is always wrong with me!
This time, I was simply advised to go to Bacolod and have it checked using an ultrasound because of the mass present. Since I could not assure the doctor that It was caused by a trauma or injury, ultrasound is the best option. The problem is, we don’t always go to Bacolod. It is 54km away from where we are. And we don’t personally own a car.
I know what you all must be thinking: My knee is very important and should be treated the soonest time possible. Yes, I also think so. But there is one major problem why I can’t go to Bacolod: I can’t travel because of my bladder problem!
I don’t even know how to begin. My bladder problem doesn’t usually stay. It does go away but it comes back from time to time. I suspect that I may have urinary tract infection. I had a pap smear done six months ago and I was clean. So this couldn’t be a disease of sexually-transmitted form. And that is highly unlikely since my husband and I are in a monogamous relationship!
I just noticed that if I drink a lot of water, I don’t have this problem. But on days that I’m more into sodas and other unhealthy beverages, that’s the time I have it.
High Grade Fever
Because we couldn’t go to Bacolod yet and have that ultrasound that the doctor has suggested, Ralph decided to hire a temporary help to do my chores and have me stay in bed to immobilize my knee. It was a good idea since I would have to extend my leg so much when I need to go to the kitchen (the area is elevated than the rest of the place).
But the next night (Homecoming Night at Madeleine), I had a very high fever. Ralph suggested I take another shower in attempt to lower down my body temperature. It did work, only temporarily. Because hours after, my chills came back and I was once again very warm. This time Ralph gave me cold compress to my head and my father had to massage my feet as they were numb.
They practically had to assist me from the room to the bathroom and back.
I think that when God threw all kinds of ailments from the heaven, He accidentally threw them in my direction.
The high fever lasted for two whole days. When I was feeling a little better, we wanted to take a urinalysis coz we were suspecting that my UTI may have caused the fever. But it was already Sunday afternoon and all medical labs and clinics were close so we went to emergency clinic to see Dr. Duran. He wasn’t around so we were sent to his residence at the Pueblo.
He prescribed me with anti-pyretic and antibiotic drugs that I had to take every four hours.
And as I write this, I no longer have fever, but I still have the bladder and knee problems. There are still a little discoloration on my forearm and arm as evidence of the kissing bug bites. I think that when God threw all kinds of ailments from the heaven, He accidentally threw them in my direction (laughing).