Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not the best of times

Bad luck comes in bouts I suppose. Here I was leading a reasonably peaceful life with my company , glorious food, the shiny new Macbook Pro and then everything started becoming skewed. It all started one fine Saturday morning after a month I joined. My room-mates being honest software engineers are generally over worked and don't manage to pull themselves out of bed until noon on weekends. I, having planned a nice "More Kozhambu and paruppusili" for that day's lunch sauntered merrily to the stove and lifted the benign looking vessel from the burner. 15 seconds later my finger had become swollen, thanks to the now not so benign vessel. It had turned out that one of my late rising room-mates had actually pulled herself out of bed that day and had made some kind of fry. The vessel despite being empty was virtually boiling hot and when clamped to my poor finger, had scorched it.


I have this paranoia about doctors. I have never been to a proper hospital in 8 years (not counting my internship at Apollo last year). This is partly due to the fact that I was raised up in a predominantly homoepathic household where belladona, rhustax, aconite and phytolacca rolled about freely. Having a genetic disposition for throat infection we clutched to our Bio 6 with fervor and scoffed at proper medicine. I was not even vaccinated for Hep C until I freaked out reading a Michael Crichton novel and hastily got the required shots. The second reason happened to be the fact that my father, having worked in the medical college branch of his bank, virtually knew every other specialist and I was in "Uncle" terms with most of them. We popped into their houses on Sunday afternoons for the rare cases of allergy or sprains and got ourselves redeemed for free.

Given the background, I naturally soaked my hand in water and nursed it with coconut oil for the weekend. After a couple of days, I opened the rather elaborate first aid box at office and found that Soframycin was listed under burns medication.

I was going around with Soframycined hand until I started noticing that my hand was not recovering and I was finding scales around the finger which looked like fungus. Then I did the unthinkable. I googled my symptoms. The only results I found for "Fungal infection after burns" were of autopsied cases which froze my blood. The next day I rushed into this Dermatologist near my house. He asked me to make a fist and pooh poohed at my fears. He even offered to show me photos of real second degree burns. Then he charged me Rs 400 for a 5 minute consult.

Having had free consults all my life, I gaped like a gold fish and returned home feeling like someone who had just been robbed out of the wits. I started using this egregiously expensive tube of medicine and went home for Diwali. Soon this burn started morphing into a full blown fungal infection which disappeared twice every seven days and re-morphed on other days.

I came back to Hyderabad armed with to-dos and not tos from this skin doctor friend of my father's and antifungal creams. The glitch is that he had seen my hand at its pink of health, literally, when it was raw and cherubic. This means he had to wait a week until our friend, the fungus, wiped away the rouge. I ended up spending sleepless nights with a hand itching like crazy and without being able to actually touch it. It started looking very ugly and the prescription behind the tube said that it was for "weeping eczema". I don't really know who the "weeping" referred to.

After all this happened, one day, I decided to cycle to office on a Sunday because I felt like drinking Pepsi and really not feeling like buying some. I raced gleefully in the beautiful bends and curves until I felt my cycle jilting. Shortly, I was on the other side of this small road completely dazed. My cycle was lying abandoned on the other side and I realized that I had practically been thrown up in air, not unlike the things that generally happen to "other people". I had sprained my elbow and not to mention the tennis ball sized bruises on all soft tissues. I went around wearing my bruises gallantly for a while recounting my adventure to the entire amused office who had come to know about the incident.

If this was not enough, that very night I casually took an ear-bud and stuck it inside my ear for the buds' intended purpose. Two seconds later, I became absolutely deaf. My working ear had blocked itself completely. It was complete silence and yes, a bit scary.

The next day I was yelling at my room-mates unable to hear my own voice. I convinced that things were not quite the way I want them to be and went to this multi speciality clinic. I told the receptionist that I wanted to see a general doctor, a dermatologist and an ENT specialist in no particular order. The guy looked behind me expecting to see two more people and when there was none, said that the ENT specialist was the only one on call that day. After poking with a gigantic needle inside the ear, she found a big wad of wax that I had pushed inside the ear unknowingly. More poking ensued with a bigger needle and when the last bit was unplugged, even the otherwise annoying traffic of Kothaguda junction sounded like Lata Mangeshkar's voice.

With new hope in my life, I resumed my day. Today, I found that the fungal infection had spread to my right hand. Now, I am just using all my self restraint to prevent myself from Googling. The plan is to go to the best dermatologist in place and scream for help. The first pictures I have taken on my Mac are of my mutilated hand to be sent home for additional consultation.

Not the best of times.

3 comments:

Mc Neill Ivan said...

Hep B is the most deadly if I am correct.

RamMmm said...

Macbook Pro. Hmmm... 'Neighbour's envy, Owner's pride'. :-)
Don't touch the Mac with the hand of the weeping eczema. :-D Steve Jobs would ban you!. Maybe you are one of those who cannot resist picking the dying skin and make a mess of it. Btw, if it isn't all fine by now, march fast to a specialist or you will be a case study who'll turn up in (g) searches. :-)
If not (g)ing, go Bing (is it sacrilege there?) or even better, WolframAlpha, to do your risk assessment. :-)
As for being deafened, been there, learnt there, and survived with half-stereo equipment till redemption. :-)
Enjoy your misery, for whatever time it lasts.

balu said...

Cool post.
The earbud incident reminds me of the time when I was in seventh standard. I laughed at my friend's joke when my otherwise not-so-strict teacher, just walked to my seat, asked me to stand up, and slapped me right on my left ear.