Let Me Tell You About My Boil!

Saga time period: January 13th – February 3rd (and still going)
Feb. 20th, 2009:
An update on the length of time these are taking to heal. Jim’s is quite almost done healing…but not back to complete 100%. I have probably another 2 weeks to be completely healed. Crazy, eh?

Have you seen that movie, “How to Get A Head In Advertising?”
Movie Info

Well, Jim has a new friend, instead of it being on his shoulder, it is on his elbow.

Before you read more, first this is a super long post but it has photos and video clips (!), and secondly, if you plan on coming to visit and you are already squeamish about bugs or getting any kind of tropical ills, do not worry, we now know how NOT to get what we did get. Do not cancel plans or rethink about visiting, just bring bug spray with Deet and use it!

Now back to the boil. Last week before Jim went out of town he showed me a bite he got on his elbow. I brushed it off; he shows me all his bites like they are tropical trophies. I was neither impressed nor shocked. He then goes off to Yoro, a mountainvillage, for 3 days and I hear nothing of this bite, but almost the first thing he shows me when he gets home is the bite again. It is still there, I continue to brush it off, it is normal here for some bites to take even a week to go away. Then Jim really starts to complain about the pain. Pain? Pain with a mosquito bite is not normal? Now, I am thinking this is odd. So, I look. It is red and swollen. I kiss it. I put some Neosporinand a band aid on it, and I tell him all will be better soon. Hoping my feeble attempts at mothering him will work. I figure from him being out in the element, it just got a bit infected. Well a doctor I am not! It did not get better. The next day half of his arm was red, swollen and hot to the touch. Not ready to give up my doctoring or maternal ambitions, I decide it now needed ice. So, I make him lay with ice on it for awhile. Again, my medical knowledge is lacking and the next day he wakes with his arm in even more pain. His whole arm was at least an inch thicker everywhere. It was like a giant hairy sausage! A red hot hairy sausage!

First Stages: Staph Infection-Not too gross

Now a little background before I go further, every time we go to our favorite cafe, KiBok, we walk by an alternative medicine clinic. We had figured it was nice to know where one is, just in case, until we saw the man who runs it. An older guy withnot only really long hair, but he does a “comb over” withit too. Now that is not too bad, but the hair does not stop on his head, it is on his chest and back as well. How do we know this? Because he usually does not have a shirt on and on his bare chest he wears a beaded necklace with some kind of large animal tooth pendant on it. If that is not enough, not only does he have a gold tooth, but there is a star cut into the gold. We like to call him “The Witch Doctor.” The locals call him Medicine Man. His name is Chilo. Well, Jim, a little confused from carrying his enlarged elbow, gets this great idea that he will go see The Witch Doctor for his ailment.

We walk by The Witch Doctor’s (TWD) place one Sunday on our way to Cafe KiBok and notice he is out front, so Jim shows him his now bloated red blob of an elbow. TWD says, “Boil! I do ozone treatment on it tomorrow, come back in the afternoon.” Ozone? We are oddly intrigued. We figure we have to wait another day, so he can boil newt eyes and lizard guts as he dances fully naked outside under the moon for the perfect elbow boil sap. Anyway, we were still intrigued, so we go back at 1pm the next day. He is eating lunch. Even Witch Doctors have to eat. I thought I would let Jim go back on his own, but Jim asked me, “Don’t you want to watch him pull chicken bones from my stomach?” This I could not miss. We go back at 2:00pm and he was finally ready to do his voodoo on Jim.

When we first walked into TWD’s office, Jim noticed small electronically devices being made on the desk. His first thought, “Bombs?” He bravely asked TWD what it all was for, and he got his answer. “I make zappers for healing purposes!” Enough said. Before he could go any further, Jim had to get rid of all his metal, cell phone and wallet belongings. Shed from his bounds to modern day society, Jim then laid down in on the homemade “doctors bed” in TWD’s office. He looks closely at the massive hairy sausage wound.  Chilograbbed some turn of the century looking like contraption and then turned a few knobs on a black box. The thing started to glow and buzz. He has his back towards me, but I am looking at Jim trying not to laugh or worry. He started to rub the glowing electrified glass bulb all over Jim’s elbow. He did this for awhile, stopped, got a bigger glass bulb, and then rubbed Jim’s elbow more with it. The Witch Doctor and Jim are having a nice conversation about Tesla and Marconi. That Tesla invented it all, but Marconi stole the ideas. Okay, he is sounding knowledgeable and we do believe there are very many forms of alternative medicine that do work. Why not this one? Although it is illegal in the U.S.  Somehow this contraption is creating ozone and the ozone will, well, I forgot what he said it would do for Jim’s boil, but it made sense at the time.  Check it out for yourself: 

Ozone Therapy Info

After that treatment, he gives Jim some Vitamin E and Kelp to help cleanse his body. According to Chiloa boil forms from within from bacteria that was eaten or inhaled, so Jim needs to relieve himself of any of the other bad bacteria. That will be fun for the 3-7 hour bus, truck, horse trip he has to take for one of his projects in the next day or two. Uh, Jim never made it out of town nor did he take any supplements. Nor was it really from something we ate or inhaled.  Any way, it all made sense then, but how he came to the conclusion of what supplements Jim should take kind of ruined any confidence we had in him. He had Jim hold a sealed plastic bottle of supplements in one hand, the other hand he held open withhis palm up. The Witch Doctor then hung a clear crystal over his hand watching it swing side to side or in circles. I am sitting back watching all this, trying my hardest to get Jim’s attention at the same time trying not to laugh again. Jim never looked at me but he did ask the doc, “What exactly are you doing?”

He said, “It is telling me which supplements you need.”

A visit with the Witch Doctor of La Ceiba

Oh, yes he did say that!   Jim takes just one of the supplements the crystal suggested, paid the $15.00 we owed and off we went. When we were far enough from ear shot, I asked Jim why he wouldn’t look at me during the crystal procedure and he said I could not because I would have laughed in the guys face! So, we are now giving it two days of the old Witch Doctors voodoo and then if nothing has changed Jim is running fast to the nearest doctor, one with a medical degree who wears a white jacket and showing no inappropriate body parts. 

Ha, I laughed at Jim’s boil and the procedures he chose to remedy….now I am laughing last. I too now have a boil.

The next day after our Witch Doctor experience, Jim’s arm had swollen to new proportions and he was in bad pain. We did not give Chilosvoodoo anymore chance to work, we hurried to an emergency clinic. We had met one of the doctors there at an bar, called Expatriates (original, eh?). We asked for Dr. Padilla, National Director of these particular Emergency Clinics.  Like the head man was going to work on us, but as soon as he saw us, he stopped what he was doing and took a look at Jim’s elbow. He said, “Abscess!” and then shuffled Jim into a curtained off area. I followed, but was kicked out when the procedure started. The procedure being the doctor using a razor blade type tool cut and scrap an opening for the infection to ooze out. And he did this without giving Jim any Novocain or pain killers as he said it would not work on the infected area anyway. Ouch!

Now, it was my turn. My little thing looked like Jim’s did a week ago. The doctor just said that he had some cream for it, antibiotic cream. He handed us a list of medicines to buy, pain killer and anti-inflammatory, antibiotics, and the cream. We went straight to the farmacia and bought what we needed. Off we went for Jim to heal and for me not to get worse.

But noooooo! The next 2 days, on top of our infections, we come down with some kind of stomach bug. I was in bed trying not to move all day and walked bent over the few times I did get up. Jim was the same the next day. One of the days, we crawl out of our trying to sleep to escape the paincomas to go to the doctor again, this time for both the infections and the stomach problem. Although by the time we did get to the doc both our stomachs were feeling better, but not completely back to normal. Dr. Padilla told us the stomach thing was probably something we ate and gave us the name of a drug to help out and suggested Tums as well. Anything stronger than Tums here costs one dollar a pill!

On the other hand or should I say abscess, Jim had to have his infectious wound lanced again, and after seeing my now worse spot he told me to come back the next day. By this time, Jim’s pain was on and off, and mine was getting worse. Again, we headed home in hopes of our insect bites come boils come abscesses would soon heal.

Low and behold…not quite yet did we come to anything close to being healed. Jim’s still did not look good, and again the doc had to lance it and by the color and looks of it Dr. Padilla said it was now a staph infection. Lucky Jim!  Then it was my turn and I tell you, I am not as stoic as my quiet while in pain husband. Dr. Padilla squeezed and pushed and cut all in and around my wound and I peeped, then grimaced, I also squirmed a little, I looked away in hopes that would take the pain away, gasped for air several times, I made funny heavy breathing noises and finally I let out some good painnoises. No screams or yells, mind you, but enough to let the doctor and others around the curtained off room that I was not happy. I was told, I too, have a Staph infection.  But I have to tell you, after around a half hour, my leg felt a lot better. But then again, it could have been the painkiller I took before seeing the doctor in preparation of him poking at me with sharp tools. We filled more prescriptions, which cost us more than the appt. with the doctor. We had to get all the cleaning and wound dressing supplies on top of more antibiotics.

Being it was Friday and the doctor was going away for the weekend, we were on a 2 day break from being squeezed and poked. Well, we thought we would be, but like good little patients, we clean and squeezed the abscesses on our own for the 2 days. No poking though, well, Jim was thinking about using my tweezers to get this particularly stubborn glob of puss out of his wound, but I had to put my foot down. That thing, that keeps my eyebrows so shapely, was not going to go any where near oozing globs of infectious goo. We got out as much as we could without the use of my old tweezers, and then it was my turn. At this point, mine was not letting go of its goo, so although Jim squeezed and I winced, it was more of a cleaning than anything else.

On Monday we headed back to the clinic, but Dr. Padilla was still not back. So we let the nurse have at it. I do not like that nurse any longer. She squeezed like she was digging for gold and it hurt like no one’s business. Jim got his squeezed too. His was past the ultimate pain stage, so he took it like a man. The worse part of this whole episode at the clinic was that a young female doctor came in and started to ask us questions about the open gaping wounds.

Here is our conversation:

Doctora: “Have you felt any thing moving around in there or are you itchy?”

Dawn (whimpering): “Why?”

Doctora: “Well, a bug can lay eggs in a cut…

Dawn cut in (whimpering even more): “That is real?”

Doctora: “Oh yes and the eggs would hatch and come out of the wound.”

Dawn trying not to vomit: “Ewww! I have not felt anything move or itch.”

Doctora: “Good!”

Dawn not sure of herself: “Well; now I will probably feel something in there since you told me about it!”

How gross is that? Fortunately it is NOT that. I asked Jim if he would still love me if bugs flew out from my arm. He said, “No, but I would love you even more if monkeys flew out of your butt! Now that is cool!”

But we did find out why we are having such a bad time. It is simple; our wimpy American immune systems do not adjust to new strains of bacteria. Strains they have here in Honduras, ones that we do not have in the States. Our body does not know how to fight them, so we get infected in the worse way possible. We have learned to use anti-bacteria soap all the time here, have screens on all windows and doors, to make sure our hands are washed more often and to use bug spray if we think we will be outside longer than usual. The doctor even suggested that we spray bug spray around our apartment every morning. Jim does not like that idea. We just do not how to weigh inhaling toxic chemicals and/or putting them on our skin against getting another nasty abscess or even worse, malaria. It’s like picking between a hot poker in the eye or getting your left pinky cut off! Well anyway, as we already have the infection, we have to go to the doctor again.

In hopes chocolate would give me that all is well high that chocolate is supposed to do, I have some before we go into the office. How stupid am I? Chocolate ain’t gonna help with the kind of pain Dr. Padilla was whipping up. And now I no longer like him either. He not only squeezed the puss pot, he took a blade to it as well. I thought I made a fuss the first time he worked on it, this time I almost kicked him on top of making so much noise people were walking by looking in at us. Yeah, so I am an adult hollering like a baby, what you going to make of it? And then the doctor has the nerve to tell me I have to come back the next day, but he did suggest two shots of tequila before I come in. Oh yes, he did say that, mind you we did met him in a bar to begin with.

Ha, I just pictured that old drunk doctor on that movie Cannonball Run with Burt Reynolds. Check this out, so funny:

No, Dr. Padilla is not like that, not nearly as old, okay, and not a drunk either!

We are not done yet. The doctor has to see Jim’s puss pot too, he saw it and then made Jim lay do. He was going in and this time the doctor was going to win. The doctor started with gauze and squeezing, that did not give him the result he wanted. Then he turned to this long cotton q-tip thing. He dug in, he dug around and still not the right result. I am watching Jim’s face; he is contorting it in an assortment of directions, but says, “It’s not too bad!” His face said, “It hurts like hell! ” That’s my little not so macho man. When the doctor returned for the third and final time, he had a large pair of tweezers in his hand. He went in a yanked out a fist full of oozing infectious goo leaving a gaping hole in Jim’s elbow. I mean a hole that was ¼ inch wide and ¼ inch deep, but the infection is goo gone gone! Dr. Padilla even had a young intern come in and look at the hole, he was proud of his work.

After the doctor was done with both of us, he tells us he is changing my antibiotics. Something stronger and that covers more bacteria bugs. Along with the stronger and more coverage, it costs a lot more too, $6.00 a pill! And that is at the farmacia where I have a frequent sickie card that gives me a discount! Ouch! These little bug bites are costing us a small fortune and taking 2 weeks off our stay in the country!

Three days in a row of this stuff, my stamina is down.  I procrastinate on going in to see the dreaded Dr. Padilla. In preparation, I take a pain pill that I have for my migraines. This stuff here has codeine in it, so I got that going in my system, and then right before we leave I shoot back a shot of rum. I know alcohol and pain pills should not be mixed, but if the doctor is not going to administer Novocain or any other pain killer, I am going to self medicate. And although it hurt like hell, it was not as bad as the day before. I am now all for self-medication! And apparently they got a lot of the oozing infectious goo out of me. Jim was very excited at the amount. I was not watching.

So, I have a day off from seeing the doctor, but what do I do? I allow Jim to squeeze. I am not sure if you know this about Jim, but the man is determined. He has to do a job the right way and does not like to leave things unfinished. I say he is crazy. It is like he became a mad scientist and needed to get that last bit of stubborn puss out! I had to stop him before he caused any real high intensity pain. I told him he can try again tomorrow. Little does he know that I am going to take a gander at his now healing very well abscess just to make sure he doesn’t need one little last squeeze! Argh, it did not need a squeeze.

Ugly Infection Photos – Warning Very Gross

Went back to the doctor again, and he gave me the healing nod, so that is good. The funny thing is, it almost looks worse in the healing stages then it did in the very painful growing stages. So, we go on with our weekend, cleaning once or twice a day and all is well. Then we see Dr. Pain at the super bowl party at Expats Bar and Grill. Jim showed him a photo he took of my healing wound earlier that day. Damn, the doctor told me to come in on Monday. Now I am starting think he just wants to make some money! Like good little patients we go to the doctor again, but Dr. Padilla-Painwas not there. A young, way too young looking, doctor was and took a look at both of our owies. We are now officially past the worst of it all. It will probably take 1-2 weeks for a complete healing. All is fine in the Dawn and Jim boil-abscess-gushing puss wound arena.

Although our wounds from the infection are not completely healed, I will not longer write about them. If we ever do have them again, we will just quickly mention them. This post was traumatic enough for you. But if it was not traumatic enough, read the following:

For those hard core people who like to see gross things…here is a video showing a quick version of what we went through day after day.  His was not as bad or as big as ours, but equally as disgusting during the squeezing process! WARNING: This is really gross!

I will leave you with that image.  I say, “Good-bye!”

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~ by HenderBalz on February 4, 2009.

7 Responses to “Let Me Tell You About My Boil!”

  1. I have looked over your blog a few times and I love it.

    • Thanks so much!!! I have fun writing it. Checked your blog out too..loved the video. Not a very good poker player…no poker face AT ALL…but will read the tips…maybe one day I will beat my husband!

  2. I’m glad that you guys are on your way to a full recovery. Despite these infections, I encourage your friends and family to read this blog to visit you guys in Honduras. And also, this story about the infections makes me glad that I didn’t touch any of the streetwalkers or strippers that I encountered on the trip.

    Speaking of Tesla, they had a concert in the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium last Friday.

    And Cannonball Run is one of the greatest movies ever.

  3. Holy sweet cacahuates, that was a disgusting post. And I was worried about getting the runs. Way to encourage visitors. aagg. Nice to know you’re healing, though!!!

  4. Oh gawd! Y’all have been having quite the time. Why did you put ice on an infection? Oh gawd, you kill me! =D

  5. Hee hee…Don’t worry Heather, I have not had the runs yet since I have been here! Now watch I will get it! The other thing…just a fluke I think. I have met many people that have been here for longer and never had it.

    And JT…I did not know it was an infection when I had Jim put ice on his. His arm was huge, and when you sprain and ankle and it swells up…you put ice on it! Like I said…a doctor I am not! Jim’s is almost all healed up now, mine is coming along but slower.

  6. OMG!! I can’t believe I finally found you. I can’t believe I have been such an idiot. I was so worried about you guys. I couldn’t find anything on you – so I googled SF Girl, found Patty, she said you were fine – but no contact info. Then I facebooked the other Dawn Balzarano & she said you were fine. So I felt better. Then just now, sitting home, with the flu – but no boils, I remembered someone said google “Henderbalz Blog” and low & behold. YOU LIVE!
    Do you have a regualr mail address? I am going to catch up on all blogs since we last spoke or emailed – which was election time-or super bowl??
    I have been in mortgage refinace FOG since Dec 14th. : )

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