09 February 2007

Eye All Better

Thank you to everyone that sent me an email with best wishes on getting better. I wasn't looking for that, but it was a pleasant surprise. I mainly just wanted to write about going to the doctors. Thanks for the sympathy (and the offer of goggles!).

It sounds like many people run into strange allergies, infections, and conditions in the field that we wouldn't necessarily come into contact with at home (conjunctivitis in Fiji, skin infections in India,...). Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my friends and colleagues all tend to travel to places with strange microbial fauna, warm moist conditions, and less than sanitary (by US standard) conditions. Of course, US standards vary depending on location, but most people these days don't run around barefoot on farms or have dust covering everything. Right.

So for anyone reading this and contemplating travel, finding treatment overseas is realitively easy. You can even buy drugs direct from a pharmacist without a perscription (just make sure you can spell it and know how much you are supposed to take - esp. if the pharmacist can't speak English). But if you can, bring antihistimines. I have loratadine (generic Claritin), benedryl gel, and a bee sting kit (just in case, I've had reactions to bee stings in the past). We humans might think we're in charge, but we're not. There are more insects, and definitely more microbes, in the world than us. (Insert cockroach with an evil laugh here). Plus wash your hands whenever possible and don't touch your face. Until I had this eye thing, I never realized just how much I touched my eyes during the day (thanks Josh).

I now look normal now. No swollen eye, no listing boxer-look, no overdone fuschia eyeshadow. I still don't know what caused the reaction. It will be filed along with the hives outbreak I had in Northern Ireland. That was fun. Chris and I think it might have been some strange clove-flavored candy I ate that gave me a week-long bout of hives. Itchy blotches covered me from neck to knee. But since it was Northern Ireland in the middle of summer, I could cover them all up without looking like a freak. I kept the occasional scratch to a minimum so the locals wouldn't think I was a meth addict or something. (When you live on the I-5 corridor on the US West Coast you see a few things.)

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