Last week I took an hour out in the sunshine and while I didn’t return home burned, there was a slightly pink color to my shoulders. I knew it would just turn to tan, which it did, but a few days later, I developed a rash on my neck. It didn’t itch…but it hurt. And I couldn’t tell if it was the rash causing the pain, if I had somehow pinched a nerve, or as a few friends told me at dinner one night, possibly it was the botfly that had burrowed into my skin and was laying its eggs. I’m so grateful to have such wonderful friends who put crazy thoughts into my head. ; ) And I urge you not to google botfly because the pictures will horrify you. Just trust me, it’s not something you ever want to experience.
So I called the doctor and asked if he made house calls. I knew he lived in Langosta so figured he’d just come by when he was done with work for the day. And I know I will sound incredibly lazy when I write this but really, the $10 extra dollars I paid to have the doctor come to my house was totally worth it. Time is money here and either I have to pay $20 to the taxi driver to save on time or I have to take an hour to walk into town and back, which means I lose working time and in turn, lose money. My neck was also in so much excruciating pain that the thought of walking was not something I could consider.
I had already been to the pharmacist earlier in the week and showed her the rash (since they’re somewhat trained here to make diagnoses and can offer me medication without a prescription) but she said it was just an allergy and sold me 1/2 ounce of hydrocortisone cream for $12 (seriously, next time you go to CVS, check out the size and prices and then be grateful). But the pain in my neck was excruciating at times and I was having to take my prescription ibuprofen just to be able to function so I knew it couldn’t be an allergy, plus the cream wasn’t working.
The doctor told me I have shingles, that there’s no explanation for the cause and that since the rash was only a mild one, not to worry about it, just let it run its course and continue to take the ibuprofen for the pain. I joked with him about how my friends said it was the botfly and he confirmed that it wasn’t but that just before coming over, he had removed a botfly (called tórsalo in Spanish) from a guy’s head.
Okay, I guess things could be a lot worse – at least I wasn’t having a fly and its eggs being pulled out of my head.