I apologize for the recent lag in between blog posts. To make a long story short, since almost the beginning of the trip I’ve been suffering from one of the most ridiculous allergic outbreaks I’ve ever had in my life. It got so bad recently that I could barely use my right arm to type. Hence, the lack of dong jokes. Sorry, Lee.
Now the long story…
Before coming over here, I bought myself a cheap Citizen watch to wear. I received a very nice watch for my 30th birthday years ago, but I didn’t feel like flashing it around Vietnam.
About two days after we landed in Saigon, my right wrist underneath the watch strap erupted in a red rash very similar to poison ivy. I knew exactly what it was because I had a similar allergic reaction 20 years ago that almost put me in the hospital. Well, it wasn’t really the reaction that put me in the hospital. It was my insistence on treating myself with Tylenol and hydrocortisone cream for three months before seeing a doctor that almost put me in the hospital. But I digress.
Anyway, I’m allergic to…sing along with me…para-tertiary butylphenol formaldehyde resin (PTBP-FR.) It’s an adhesive that shoe manufacturers often use to with leather. And apparently Citizen uses it on their watch bands, too. I haven’t run into it in years, but what great timing I have.
I’ll give you a little piece of advice now. If you ever get a skin rash that makes you feel as though your flesh is on fire and you want to take a power sander to it in order to relieve the incredibly intense itching that keeps you awake at night, come to the soothing, cool, dry climate of Vietnam! You’ll feel like a million bucks in no time!
I put up with it for about ten days adhering to a tried-and-true regimen of Tylenol and hydrocortisone cream. I also ate about a box and a half of Benadryl. The rash started retreating. I thought I had turned the corner when we were in Hoi An. But on the crappy bus ride from Hoi An to Quy Nhon, I was sardined into the back seat for six hours. My bag, which I had to keep on my lap due to space contraints, rubbed against my arm most of the way down there. The rash came back with a vengeance, spreading almost up to my elbow.
Simply typing the word “rash” is bad enough, but it doesn’t come close to describing my arm. The most deranged and sadistic medical textbook editor in the world would have deemed photos of my arm too gruesome to print.
I won’t even go into any further description other than to say that the sea of people on the Saigon sidewalks literally parted before me when folks got a glimpse of my arm. Anybody who says leprosy is a drag never had to cross a busy intersection in Saigon. It’s like I was my own traffic cop.
Yesterday, I finally went to the Centre Medical International in Saigon. The marvelous Dr. Nicholas Lagüe hooked me up with some hardcore drugs that seem to be doing wonders for my arm. They also seem to keep me up 23 hours a day, so I might be able to catch up on some blog posts.
Now, I turn my comments section over to you, gentle reader. I ask you to please combine my itching, burning and completely unbearable rash with my undying love of the dong joke. It’s fertile territory. Don’t let me down.