Saturday, January 3, 2009

Distances may be shorter than they appear (with bonus doctor story!)

Whenever you are given advice on how to get somewhere, it is best to consider the source. Sure, there are people who will mistakenly give you wrong directions, send you over hill and dale, never to find your destination. But then there are people who knowingly tell you that the distance to be covered is great, and must be achieved by vehicle. This is often a lie.

Thanks to a combination of high altitude, extreme desert conditions, freezing cold, lack of handwashing facilities, bacteria, and bad luck, I seem to have a paronychia, a tiny warm and painful infection next to my fingernail on my right ring finger. I ignored it for a while, soaked it for a while, and finally decided it was time to head to the médico here in Arica. All signs pointed to me going to the Clínica San José, apparently a posh affair. A well-meaning man whom I asked for directions walked me to the posta central (central public clinic) instead, but there was a longish wait, it would cost me about the same (because I have private insurance, treatment is free if you have state insurance) and to be honest, I have more faith in private than public health care in most places. So off to the Clínica San José it was. Several people counselled me to take a taxi, but my fairy godfather acompannyer sent me on the bus. Five minutes later, I arrived.

So the lesson here, is wash your hands well, consider who your "take the bus" advice comes from and treat your paronychia before it turns into a felon. I am totally not making this up.

In case you were surveying my health situation and thinking me weak, the illustrious Dr. V. Ignacio Gonzales M. assures me that if I weren't so strong, the infection would have progressed much further in the four days since I first started noticing it. Here's hopng the Cefamox (Cefadroxil) works!

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