Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Thumb

So, the thumb must now be discussed. Essentially, this stupid little infection almost prevented me from havign the experience of a lifetime! Katie, I think I owe you a special thanks for keeping me calm, and getting me to call doctors in the morning so I could get a specialists opinion! So, back to the thumb! Essentially what happened is I cut my thumb at work approximately a week before I was to leave and thought nothing of it. It began to swell and develop small white pustules about two days before I was to leave! After visiting Smithsonian doctors, I was informed my departure was in doubt, as they were unsure what exactly was happening. Needless to say I spent a sleepless night on the 27th worrying about my dilemma. When I awoke on the morning of the 28th, I called some thirty infectious disease specialists in the DC-metro area, and after several hours of begging was able to convince one to see me on exceptionally short notice. He and his colleague looked over my thumb and prescribed a second antibiotic, but were kind enough to clear me for departure, and Raytheon, the organization who has final say in our medical fitness agreed, so we were off.
Upon my arrival in New Zealand, I was informed I was to see yet another doctor, an infectious disease specialist in Christ Church. On Monday October 2nd I headed out to meet with the Raytheon scheduled doctor. After a pleasant 1.5 hour walk I arrived at the clinic, and was quickly taken to the doctor. After explaining my dilemma he inspected my finger, and sent me off to a hospital where a lab tech would further investigate the cause of the infection. The nurse looked at the thumb, and within seconds asked me if I’d been handling goannas, an Australian lizard, notorious for the problems they cause people who handle them, or so I’m told. She then told me; from the looks of it the infection was fungal, and not bacterial, meaning I was treating the wrong problem! She scraped a bit of skin from the thumb, and drew some puss from the pustules, and sent me on my way, telling me to finish off the antibiotics and apply some anti-fungal cream to the thumb, along with tea tree oil! The bottom line, she didn’t think the problem should prevent me from heading to Antarctica! So finally, with a clean bill of health, some 8918 miles from where my dilemma began, I was finally received a clean bill of health to travel to Antarctica!
And now the thumb

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