I hate mosquitoes.
The feeling apparently is not mutual. My body is a mosquito Hometown Buffet. For some reason, mosquitoes relish sating their palates with plenty of Steve-oglobin.
That is one of the costs of my life in the tropics. The occasional welt and itch.
This return to Melaque has been no different. Well, a bit different.
In addition to the usual bites on my ankles and feet (the favorite feeding spot for our local mosquitoes), I had bites on my stomach and in areas where mosquitoes usually don't have access. Let's call it my hips.
On Thursday I stopped to see my doctor. Not for medical business. But to set up a time for her to conduct a presentation at the church. On her work with immigrant worker families.
While I was there, I bared some of the whiter areas of my skin to show her my welts. She immediately pronounced the mosquitoes not guilty. And, after looking at the welts through her handy-dandy microscope camera, she declared my body a condominium for parasitic worms.
That is another joy of the tropics. The opportunity to try new medications.
So, off I went to my local pharmacy to pick up my prescription. And to experience another of my adventures that could only happen in Mexico.
My doctor wanted me to take the medication twice a day for six days. Therefore, I needed 12 pills.
The young woman at the pharmacy, looked at the prescription and brought me three boxes -- each with two pills. Six pills, in all. I told her I needed three more boxes.
She looked at the prescription and told me I only needed pills for six days. Three boxes were sufficient.
I tried a little arithmetic with her. But that was a dead end.
I bought the three boxes and decided to try getting the other three at other pharmacies. I eventually returned the next day and bought three more from the original pharmacy -- after striking out at five other pharmacies in three towns.
The lack of stock is not unusual in Mexico. But I thought it was odd that the medication was not more readily available. Decaris is a bit expensive for a Mexican drug. About $3 (US) per pill. But it is a standard Mexican medication for parasites.
But not in The States. It turns out that the active ingredient (Levamisole) was withdrawn from United States shelves in 2000. And is now used as a dewormer only by veterinarians.
The reason? Risk of serious side effects.
That piqued my interest. Like what?
Well, like difficulty breathing, for instance. Closing of the
throat. Swelling of the lips, tongue, or face. Hives. Lowering of white blood cell count. Decreased bone marrow function. Extreme fatigue.
Confusion or loss of
consciousness. Memory loss. Muscle weakness, numbness, or tingling. Seizure. Speech disturbances.
That list made me wonder if I wouldn't be better off with the worms. But I am now in my third day of treatment without suffering any bouts of anaphylactic shock. Of course, the welts just keep coming.
There is one interesting side note about my medication. Even though it was withdrawn as a human medication twelve years ago in The States, it is the most common cutting agent for cocaine.
Taking these little tablets is as close as I am ever going to get to using nose candy.
It would really be nice to get back to dealing solely with mosquito bites. At least I can see that enemy.