The unwell times

By Aneesah, 23 Dec 09

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 :boogie: ) and I do plan on blogging more, on particular topics in the past and present, and not chronologically. ‘Cause then I just get lazy. :P

Sausage Fingers

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:

fingersSpot the difference?

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:

  1. rheumatoid arthritis: the joints are swollen too, which mine aren’t
  2. infection or allergy: makes the hand warm, not cold
  3. blood circulation problem / blood clot: there’s nothing wrong with my arm, and there’s still feeling in all my fingers
  4. 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…

Zombie eyes

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:

fingersEw ew.

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. :T 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. :lol: )

Later, peeps. Hope you’re all well and healthy. :D


  1. Saffa says:

    Nampak macam sangat teruk.. =.=” (Eyes n redness tu)
    Kalau jadi kat Saffa… confirm tak nak pergi kelas. Tak suka orang pandang-pandang. T_T

    I hope your hand will recover soon! Mesti rasa tak selesa kan? :shake:

  2. Aneesah says:

    Yeah, I had to pegi kelas gak, and only my housemate tegur tanye demam lagi ke (since rupa macam zombie dah), other people probably tak notice sangat, since I wear glasses pun.

    Ha’ah, tangan ni still bengkak… tapi tadi the doctor called and scheduled another appointment next week… cari other possibilities kot. :/

  3. Woah, I hope your hand gets better! Yeah, I’ve never heard of anything like that before…

    Yep, I love Aveeno too!!! Well, I’ve heard of eczema since I was around 13, since a close friend of mine’s at that time has it.

    I’m glad that you’re healthy overall! =)

  4. kimmy says:

    neesah, welcome back to the blogging world, i missed your posts! :) Oh noo hope your swollen fingers will recover soon, glad to know its not anything serious! and im guessing change in weather got to you this year :( (heard from somewhere that eczema randomly comes from nowhere sometimes, unluckily it got to you :( ) And as for the reading week thingy, it happens to a lot of us too, something about how your body holds up being very very stressed (during crits, hah) and then when you finally have a chance to relax a little bit your body just goes haywire n then all the sickness attacks you to pieces. :(
    Do take care, hope you’re all well! Looking forward to this reunion that Muhsin is planning to do in Jan :)

  5. Aneesah says:

    Kimmyness! I think the fingers might be some kinda allergy or whatnot.. it’s started to itch! omg. :suspicious: Anyway I was just thinking of you seeing this picture tadi, kat Brighton, maybe you saw it too? :D
    Teruk kan when we get sick here? It’s so hard to sembuh because of the unhelpful weather. :/
    Hope you’re good dear! :)

  6. Jen says:

    Perhaps the swollen fingers is some sort of water retention? Not that I know how to get rid of that, alas. :(
    I used to have severe eczema too, only I’ve sort of grown out of it these past few years, thankfully. :) For me, I think it was due to the weather tho.

  7. Deanna says:

    I hope your hand is better now! That would be horrible. And I knew what was wrong with your face. I had that too. Actually I probably still have it. But it was as bad as yours about 6 years ago. What Aveeno cream did you use? I might have to try that out. My face is extremely dry right now and itchy. I can’t seem to fix it. I also have had dry patches all over my body since March I think.

  8. Aneesah says:

    Gosh, you should really try Aveeno out. The one prescribed to me was Aveeno cream, the first one listed on this page. Apparently they have quite a few other product ranges as well. The itchiness and stinginess was really getting to me; the skin looked so dry and flaky too. I hope yours gets better soon!

  9. […] you would remember, the winter also brought a different kind of problem for me: swelling fingers and eczema. Both were pretty bad, I felt. The swelling right hand, after many blood tests (and there was […]

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