[also known as mango]
So I have finally convinced myself to make this post. Not only does it make for a great story, at my own expense, but it might prevent some others from having a pretty miserable time. As some of you know, I periodically go through mysterious skin issues (aka "the rash") when I'm in Liberia. It almost always appears on my arms...and stays there! Last May, I ended up having to go to the hospital to seek treatment because I was absolutely miserable! I've had the rash on my arms for a few weeks now...usually just small patches jumping from one arm to the other. This past week, the rash decided to make it's way to my face and neck. I was an itching fool! And beyond miserable!
I woke up with a balloon of a face on Thursday! Despite it being a national holiday, I had to go to the hospital...my eyes were puffy and the rash had made it's way onto my lips! I had taken 3 Benadryl the night before, and was up by 2am itching like crazy! So, I went to the hospital, only for there to be no doctor at the hospital because it was a holiday [makes perfect sense, right?]. There was a nurse in the ER, but she couldn't write prescriptions. So, I called up my friend who's a dentist, and got him to write me a prescription for the same meds I used last year. [Side note: I only needed the prescription because I was at the hospital. I could walk into any regular pharmacy and purchase the meds without any questions asked. I should also mention that I was getting a steroid, which is a controlled drug at home.] I got my meds [for less than $2] and raced home to take the first does. Within an hour, I could already tell a difference, and by the morning, I was almost completely healed.
I had been thinking about plums. May is the start of plum season, and I know sometimes the kids can get rashes around their mouths. I thought it was just from the acidity. I got home and googled "allergic reaction to mango"--and there, I found the answer to the mystery! The sap and skins of plums contain the same oil that poison ivy has. At home, I very allergic to poison ivy...so I instantly knew that was the cause of all of my itching. I had eaten a plum, fresh off the tree in the backyard, on Monday. So, the moral of the story is that I have to stay away from all plum trees, and I cannot peel plums. I can only eat them! I've also been told that one plum season, you can be fine, and the next season you can be very allergic. But, if you're allergic to poison ivy, steer clear of plum trees and fresh plums!
Fast forward to Saturday morning: I realized that the mice had found my medicine, chewed through the plastic bag and gnawed on the pills. [There might be some pretty buff mice running around here now] So, last night, I went to the 24 hour, no prescription needed pharmacy to get some more medicine. 10 pills for 25 Liberian Dollars (roughly 17 cents)! So either I'm going to die from taking them, or drug companies at home are majorly ripping us off. Hmm, wonder which is more likely?
Ok, on to the [not-so] pretty picture. For your benefit, and at my expense, this is what I looked like on Thursday morning. NOT a happy camper!