Sunday, June 7, 2009

Charlie bit me. And that REALLY hurt.

The morning of the swear-in ceremony I woke up with a slight pain in my right hand. When I looked down at my hand, sure enough, there was a small blister on the ring finger of my right hand. I immediately assumed that I had been bitten by something but was not that concerned about it as it has become normal to have a few bites on my body at all times. Since we were headed to the Peace Corps offices in Tegucigalpa for the swear-in ceremony, I took advantage of the situation and slipped into the doctor’s office to have a doc take a look at it. I told her, “Something bit me while I was sleeping last night.” To which she responded, “Do you know what bit you?” I said, “No I don’t. I was sleeping when it happened.” She did not seemed all that concerned about it, gave me some anti-allergic pills and a cream that was supposed to keep away infection, and sent me on my way to the swear-in ceremony. It was pretty appropriate that I got to raise my bug bite swollen hand to swear in to the Peace Corps.

Over the weekend I applied the cream and took the pills but my hand continued to swell up even more. By Monday morning the wound had opened up even more, was spitting out pus and constantly felt like I had slammed my finger in a car door. I called the Peace Corps doctors and they wanted me to go to see a doctor but, as luck would have it, the doctor in my city was out of town for the week. So I had to get on a bus and travel a couple hours to a hospital in a city called San Marcos.

When I saw the doctor in San Marcos I explained to him that, “Something bit me while I was sleeping last Thursday night.” To which he responded, “Do you know what bit you?” I said, “No I don’t. I was sleeping when it happened.” Then he examined my finger and put me through a most excruciating pain by squeezing my finger harder than it had ever been squeezed in my life. He said that he was trying to extract all of the pus but I do not know why because it returned a half an hour later and now my hand hurt even more than it had before. He prescribed me some kind of anti-inflammatory medication and Penicillin (thank you Alexander Fleming) and told me that I would need to keep squeezing the pus out of my finger for the next three or four days.

The bus ride back to my site was terrible. I was sitting on a crowded bus with my hand throbbing and feeling nauseous when the bus overheated going over some mountains and we had to stop for an hour to let the bus cool down and add more water. I got back home and started taking the medication but things didn’t start looking better for about three days. I thought I was going to loose my finger. Needless to say, it made the first week of being in my site a little rough. Finally the infection broke and I was able to sleep through the night without waking up with a throbbing finger.

Everything is better now and my hand is back to normal but I still do not know what bit me. Whatever it was, I hope those guys are not here in Ocotepeque. Mom and Dad, this is probably the first you are hearing about this. I did not tell you because I didn’t want you guys to worry and I didn’t want to you hear you say, “We told you that you should have put up your mosquito net.” Sometimes you have to learn the hard way and, I’ll tell you what, I learned my lesson.

I am including some pictures of my hand as it progressed. I am sorry to anyone that has a light stomach.

The morning after I my hand was bitten:

Three days after:

Four days after:

Five days after:

Two weeks after. Pretty much back to normal:


  1. Looks awful and very painful. What does it look like now? So do you have your mosquito net up? Glad you went and had it checked out and did not wait too long. Love you, Miss you

  2. Wow, that is worse than I expected! You just said that your hand was swollen, not oozing infection. Glad you are better now.

  3. Dude, I will send you Bug Off via Fed Ex. That looked pretty gnarly, but I am glad you are back to normal!

  4. I'm not that squeamish but even that made me cring a little bit. Probably didn't help that I enlarged and zoomed. Glad to hear you are ok!

  5. Hay que ver que mano más fea! Por dios, pero bueno, supongo que el viaje tiene que ser duro o no valdría la pena. Aguanta, pisha! Un abrazo!

  6. Did you not pack any finger nail clippers? Those things are getting fairly long there, Mister.