Thursday, September 06, 2007

You can take the kid out of pre-med, but you can't take the pre-med out of the kid

A word of warning before this post. Some of these pictures are a little bit gnarly-looking. It's nothing obscene and nothing horribly bloody, it's just sort of ugly, and a result, I've decided to link to the corresponding pictures rather than to embed them in the post. You've been warned.

So that infected bug bite started getting worse and worse yesterday. In the morning, it just looked like a pretty bad blister...not pretty, but nothing worth taking a photo of. I was fortunate that, although we were on an extremely walking-intensive excursion to the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery in Kowloon (more on that monastery and its 10,000 Buddhas and 400 steps in a separate post), the bug bite was just high enough on the ankle that it was free from shoe contact. Nevertheless, it started getting bigger, yellower, and sort of more gelatinous-looking as the day went on (note, that photo looks a little more heinous because of the sheen of freshly-applied Neosporin). By the end of the day, it was rather less alien-looking, and not quite as bulbous, but it had expanded outward and gotten more red, which led to concern about blood entering the area. Blood poisoning and necrosis are not my idea of a good time. Given how long it would take to get back into the city, I wouldn't be able to see a school doctor until the next day. It was resolved that a bit of self-surgery was in order.

In spite of being completely exhausted and foot-sore from the days festivities, we went on a trek through Central Hong Kong looking for supplies. Locals have an odd sense of what to stock in their stores. Gauze strips, gauze bandages, and regular bandages? Check. Rubbing alcohol for sterilizaton? No problem. Neosporin, already in my pocket. A needle, a simple freaking sewing needle, to puncture the blister, or perhaps a safety pin? Good luck. We went to four pharmacies and supermarkets, none of whom carried anything resembling a needle. I made a somewhat inappropriate joke about the Chinese being so desperate to get away from the seamstress stereotype that they refuse to carry sewing supplies. It got a laugh.

Finally, we resolved to use Britt's I-swear-it's-really-sharp pocket knife for our scalpel, and we headed for Britt's apartment (our backup plan was to buy the sinister-looking black chicken from the supermarket and tie it to the ankle to suck out the poison via voodoo). This little pustule was a resilient little sucker, and actually took a few passes with the pocket knife to open it up and drain. After that, though, surgery went smoothly, and our concerns about blood being in the area turned out to be unfounded. Things were just a delightful, sickly yellowish-clear, which sadly, is actually a good thing in these circumstances (and probably no others).

What's that face? Is that Ken looking sad because of his traumatic surgery? Is that the face of agony from a rubbing-alcohol covered gauze strip being used to disinfect the area after surgery? No actually, it's a combination of Ken pretending to look sad about his fate, and actually being a little bit sad because the surgery was so anticlimactic. Even the rubbing alcohol was strangely mild, and Britt and Marie's calls for a girlish yelp from me went unheeded.

So all that was left was to apply a band-aid to the area for protection. At that point, though, we were so delirious that the discovery that the local brand of band-aids was called Banitore was the funniest freaking thing in the history of the world. This, of course, led to several minutes of absolutely convulsive fits of laughter on the floor, followed by the decision that BANITORE! (all caps, with exclamation point), would be the new hardcore goth/thrash metal anthem for Babyccino and the Hot Perfections (in my mind, it's a Trogdor kind of sound, but I need to run that by the other band members).

There were ultimately some complications. As a way to prevent the pain of having an open sore just sitting on my ankle, it was decided to preserve the skin that was over the blister. But by the time I was going to bed about 3 hours after surgery, the chamber was noticeably filling back up. So, without the assistance of my crack surgical team, I had to go back in for some emergency follow-up surgery. I redrained the area and removed a small patch of what looked like pretty dead skin to prevent the area from filling back up. If the surgical team/band was disappointed at my lack of girly reaction to the rubbing alcohol at the end of the first surgery, they will be very disappointed to hear about how much it hurt like a bastard the second time around.

As of this morning, though, things seem to be improving. Prognosis is good. Way to go, team.

1 comment:

Jess said...

Either you're growing a third nipple on your ankle, or a fucking METROID buried itself under your skin.