Friday, January 9, 2009

It's NOT Schwarzenegger it's Leishmaniasis

Kids, believe me, you don’t want THIS>>>>>>>

This is called Leishmaniosis. The symptoms of leishmaniasis are skin sores which erupt weeks to months after the person affected is bitten by sand flies. This is common in the more ‘developing’ parts of the world. No, it does not occur in the States.

For much more INFO and GROSS pictures of Leishmaniosis, see the WIKI people HERE.

At first, they appeared as two runaway mutant zits- one on the hamstring (pictured) of my right leg, the other on the left, front thigh. I think the one on my right leg was the ‘ARNOLD circa 1978’ of Leishmaniosis, but eventually, even ‘the ARNOLD” morphed and began to look exactly like the ever-erupting Areanl Volcano, not 3 miles from our apartment.

They appeared about 2 weeks after being bitten, which put me in Nicaragua at the time, not that that matters…just sayin. It became quickly apparent that these were MUCH more than ‘Zits on Steroids’, and they were beginning to hurt, so I made a trip to the doctor.

I must have been this med-students first patient…EVER! She actually tried to POP it (I guess it looked like a runaway mutant ZIT to her too). Now when I was growing up, you were often taught to ‘grin and bare it.’ For example, if a dentist would actually poke me and draw blood, I was pretty good about not showing much pain or discomfort- so as blood gushed, I’m like, “No, it’s okay, no problem, didn’t feel a thing.” It was just the time. Kids are Pussies nowadays…but I digress. But this med student actually made me whimper like a puppy in need of its mother’s teat. I tried to take it, I tried to ‘buck-up little camper- but she kept squeezing- the ‘ARNOLD’ one- HARD, multiple times- the pain was right up there with getting kicked in the nads, repeatedly. Finally, it was just too much, and I said,’ “Stop Fucking Doing That,” which is usually totally out of character for me. Well, it didn’t really matter as she didn’t know a lick of English, but she understood the TONE- at least enough to stop for the moment. For a split-second, I almost thought about grabbing her titty and twisting it really hard and asking her how she liked it- I know, sad but true. Anyways, being in fight or flight mode, I chose flight, and in the nick of time,,,,,, because she was rolling up her sleeves and obviously searching the drawer for a medical utensil that could squeeze harder than her thumbs… and determination was written all over her face. Think GI Jane in a Freddy Krueger type of way. C ya.

I later learned this was not how to treat Leishmaniosis.

Doctor #2 was pretty sure he knew what it was, but that I should get a blood test to make sure. He also asked if I had insurance. Now, that scared me; a gringo in another country with big ass sores oozing blood, and NO insurance. I told him I would be paying cash- with NO idea on what to expect. Doctor, office visits, treatments- HELLO, I’m from the States- this can’t be good. I was thinking, treat me first, we’ll talk money later. I let my mom know I might be returning to the States sooner than expected.

The sores got MUCH worse. I recieved 2 months of shots, every SINGLE day- 5 injections into the ‘ARNOLD’ sore and 2 or 3 in the other, EVERY DAY! I’ll let you do the math on how many injections that was.

For 2 ½ months it totally sucked to be me (some think it must always suck to be me). If I sat down for more than 5 minutes, when I got up…nothing but blood running down my leg, NOT attractive. That picture doesn’t show the half of it. But eventually they did get better.

Afterwards, I asked how much I owed, and really, I had no idea- he could have said anything and I wouldn’t have argued. The entire treatment- office visits, shots, needles, medicine (don’t forget EVERYDAY), came to $140.00. I bought the office a pizza. I love Costa Rica.

He may have cut me slack on the price because I always allowed his medical students studying from the States to sit in on my treatment, (not many get to see real-life Leishmaniosis, so it’s quite the treat and of course I allowed for pictures) and sometimes I even let them give me the shots. Talking about ‘grin and bare it,’ have you ever been given a shot where the needle was put in really SLLOOOOOW. Thankfully, the thought of twisting a titty never occurred to me- lucky for them.

It’s not likely I’ll ever forget about having Leishmaniosis, it left 2 Nasty scars, and I mean UGLY. The ‘ARNOLD’ is easily the size of a 50 cent piece and resembles a bullet hole. The upside? They do supply the means for great story telling.

Did I tell you about the time I broke up a robbery attempt, but was shot in the leg?

A sand fly just doesn’t have the same dramatic impact.

Hundreds of Videos on Costa Rica at the Costa Rica Travel Channel And if you're looking for INFO on Costa Rica, Check out: Travel Costa Rica NOW, and as always, ENjOy!