Hello again! First of all, no; I’m not currently sick, thank you for your concern. I was unwell for several times this term, and this post is specifically about those periods. But before all that — just to let you know that my winter holidays are here (happy happy joy joy ), the new layout is underway (just installed WampServer on my new Windows 7 ) and I do plan on blogging more, on particular topics in the past and present, and not chronologically. ‘Cause then I just get lazy.
What brought the idea of writing about this was my trip to the hospital yesterday. It was nothing serious though. I woke up on Sunday morning to notice that there was something peculiar about my right hand:
It might not be very obvious in the photo, but all of the fingers on my right hand were slightly swollen. And red. And swollen. It wasn’t painful, nor tingly or numb, just rather awkward, like there’s too much “filling” under my skin, and everything feels tight when I bend the joints or ball my hand into a fist.
At first I thought it was just the cold weather. My hands have always been sensitive to the cold, and you know how fingers can get red and painful sometimes. But even after warming my hands up (I made a rice heat pack, hehe) and shaking it around and massaging the fingers, and TWO DAYS, nothing changed. I also thought I might’ve slept on my hand, blocking the blood circulation or some sort, but again surely the effects of that would cease after a short time?
By Monday night, I messaged my mum about it, and she recommended me going to the doctor. She also mentioned rheumatoid arthritis which she’s had before, and it did occur to me for a bit (but I thought ’twas kind of unlikely), and I even Googled “swollen fingers” just to see what would come up. My appointment at the university’s medical centre was on Tuesday morning, and the doctor basically ruled out most of the things:
- rheumatoid arthritis: the joints are swollen too, which mine aren’t
- infection or allergy: makes the hand warm, not cold
- blood circulation problem / blood clot: there’s nothing wrong with my arm, and there’s still feeling in all my fingers
- and for most of the above: usually occurs with both hands, not just one
The word "weird" was mentioned several times, and in the end I was referred to the DVT clinic at the hospital to run a test for the blood clotting. It would be my first ever trip to the hospital here (luckily it wasn’t even far, the bus network is excellent), and hopefully the last. I really dislike cramped public hospitals which smell weird and have way too many old, sick people. To cut things short, the blood test showed that all was normal and I’m basically fine. The lady said I might’ve just slept wrong or sprained my hand in my sleep or something. I shall just wait a week or so and see if my hand gets any better…
My visit to the medical centre was my second; the first time was in mid-November, for a very different problem. Some time after I arrived back in Canterbury, I started noticing these dry patches of skin on my neck. They were reddish and had scaly edges. I was almost sure they were a fungal infection, which I’ve had before, and went to the pharmacy to get a general cream for it. Somehow though, things got worse. The patches spread across my shoulders and chest and back, and were getting itchy. At one point I noticed my lower left eyelid itched as well; the skin became very very dry and irritated. That problem also escalated, to a point where both my eyes looked like this:
The photos don’t do justice to the sheer redness and obviousness of the skin condition. The photo at the bottom would be after I applied moisturiser to lessen the cracked appearance. Most of the time my eyelids were difficult to open/close, even blinking became painful. Applying lotion or having water touch my skin also made it sting terribly.
Realising that this was a serious thing now, I went to see a doctor. She said that the problem around my eyes was almost certainly eczema. That word surprised me; as I’ve never had it before, and didn’t think it was a thing that just happened from nowhere. The patches on my body may have been a different thing, but she thinks that I might be allergic to wool (?!?!), which was one of the ingredients in the itch cream that I initially applied. I was prescribed two different creams: Aveeno for the face and Hydrocortisone for everywhere else. I swear by Aveeno now, the effects were almost instantaneous. My eyes looked normal again after a few days, and I’m only left with some scars on my neck now: no more itching or redness or scaly-ness.
I also asked the doctor about the possible origins of my eczema, and “hard water” was mentioned — water that has high levels of chalk or other impurities in it, which some people might be sensitive to. So I had to wash my face with filtered water (usually only for drinking) instead of tap water for a few weeks.
The eczema came at the time when I was just recovering from a terrible cold. I might also be allergic to Reading Weeks (a week of no classes, for the purpose of letting us finish work before a crit) — the first reading week of this term — I basically spent lying in bed, shivering with a fever. It was probably the worst cold I ever had: started with a cough but later included a sore throat and stuffy/runny nose and high temperature that lasted a whole week. At night my whole body shivered violently despite the zillion layers and the duvet, and the stress of my workload (for the interim crit happening right after reading week) made my brain go overdrive even when sleeping. I had confusing nightmares of the cinema design, and rapid thoughts and images of it running through my head.
Yes, bad times.
Anyhow, aside from the sausage fingers that I still have, and the fact that I’m complaining about the cold all the time, I am thankfully quite well. I don’t normally get sick or have medical problems that often, but hey. Life is about challenges. Challenges give you experiences. And experiences make you grow. (Except for when I lost weight during the sick week… but don’t worry I gained it back again. )
Later, peeps. Hope you’re all well and healthy.