Some things that cause me fear and anxiety are nuclear warfare, pregnancy, and the American Medical system.
On my last weekend in
, I started noticing little red bumps on my skin. They started just around my abrasions from falling on my bike, so I decided to put more of this anti-bacterial neem oil on the area. I’d been using sparingly before, to help heal my abrasions, as a natural remedy; the oil is derived from the neem plant, which originates in Florida . India
I thought they were a stress reaction from the recent events and dismissed them. I guess that was the wrong choice.
By Sunday night, my Dad was gone, my step-mom and I were at one of their friends’ places, and the bumps were spreading. So far they’d gone up almost my entire left side of my body. My neck was red and roughly textured and it started spreading to my face.
I was in denial. I don’t get “allergies,” so it must be stress; I just had to chill out.
I took a Benadryl, to humor my step-mom and her friend, and went to bed, thinking I could sleep it off (I tend to believe that enough sleep with cure almost anything, with the exceptions being strep-throat, cancer, certain diseases, and now allergies).
My sleep that night was uncomfortable, to say the least. I woke up almost hourly, either hot or cold, but always itchy. I was too dazed to do anything about it though. I managed to stay in bed until 9:45 am, but when I went to open my eyes I knew something was wrong.
I was peering through slits. Slits which are normally fully-open brown eyes. The skin on my face felt taut.
I ran to the bathroom to look in the mirror, at which point I immediately broke down in a fit of tears and called my mom.
Overnight, my allergy had become unbelievably worse. My face was so swollen and red that I didn’t even recognize myself.
I ran frantically around the house trying to find someone, but everyone had left for the morning. My step-mom’s flight was at 8 am and Tiff had gone out with her husband to drop off their daughter, run errands and take care of their business.
They finally got home at 10:30 am. Tiff and I agreed it was time to go to the doctor.
Praise Ja for travelers insurance!
The American private medical system was everything I’d imagined. Everything was so shiny and new, and I was immediately turned away from treatment until I could have my insurance company fax in a consent form.
I was having an anaphylactic reaction and my throat could close over, but before I go ahead and die, I should really try to contact my health insurance provider so they can go ahead and save me. BIZARRO WORLD!
This would not, I repeat, would not happen in
. The rep from the insurance was in as much shock as I was… and I’m not talking about anaphylactic shock. Canada
When I came back in from making my call, they got me to sit at a computer and fill out my particulars. I was admitted within 10 minutes. My blood pressure and other vital stats were taken, then I was whisked off to another room where the doctor would see me.
He was a young, blond-haired, blue-eyed, Southern man, no older than 30, with a warm, caring vibe. He took a look at my skin, listened to my breath and heartbeat, peered down past my uvula, and told me I’d need a steroid shot, some prescription strength Benadryl and steroid pills for the next week.
My mind was reeling with the potential cost of prescription drugs. This scenario is exactly what ever Canadian fears when they travel to the
. Then I find out that since they can’t directly bill my insurance company, they’ll need to put a hold on a credit card for the cost - $342 US dollars. US
It could have been a lot worse, had I gone to emergency as opposed to the “Urgent Care” walk-in clinic I attended (though I’d challenge them to prove which part of their service involved actually caring).
Thankfully, since I was still traveling and beginning to run low on funds, Tiff covered the credit card hold. I paid for the prescriptions out-of-pocket, but I’d be reimbursed once I submitted my paperwork.
I noticed the effects of the steroid shot within the first 45 minutes. The swelling in my face went down noticeably, and my itchiness began to subside. Sweet relief.
Unfortunately, after about 24 hours, the shot wore off and I depended solely on taking my prescriptions every four hours. And I always knew when four hours were almost up because I would start scratching vigorously.
The next day I managed to board the plane to
successfully without scaring any children with my residual redness. New Jersey
After de-climatizing myself to the cold for the past 4 months by living in the south, I arrive to
on the coldest day of the year. Lucky for me, I had a bearded comrade prepared for the worst, ready to pick me up, layers in tow and hugs waiting. New Jersey