Bula from the land of hot showers, electricity, Internet access, and vegetables a.k.a SUVA! On Wednesday, Peace Corps brought me into the mainland due to a boil I had developed over the past week.
When I first noticed a painful pimple type bump appearing on the back of my forearm, I showed it to the village nurse. As suspected, I was developing a boil. In the village, boils are not a big deal. They are as common as wearing contacts at home, so I figured I could treat my boil the way they are treated in the village using home remedies. For the entire next week, I accepted my village friends’ eager offers to help and obediently used whatever leaf/vegetable/strange concoction they brought me.
After a week went by, I was in a lot of pain and the boil seemed to be growing in size. At this point, I showed it to an Australian couple that came on a cruise ship just to get their opinion, because everyone in the village continued to reassure me it was a small boil that would heal in no time. The Australian couple seemed really concerned and immediately suggested antibiotics. Duh, why didn’t I think of that?!?! Well, probably because I had spent the last 2 years living the bush life on a remote island. So, that night, I was taken to the cruise ship where I saw their nurse and was given antibiotics.
The next morning when I woke up, I noticed my hand and forearm were three times their normal size! My temperature was over 101 F, and I was in severe pain. Clearly the infection was getting worse. At this point, I contacted the Peace Corps doctor who told me watch it for one more day and if nothing changed to come to the mainland. This next day was one of the worst in my life. I was in so much pain and frustration. All my village friends were knocking on my door with a variety of leaves and continued to tell me it looked fine. They were all in shock when I said I’d be going to Suva to have it looked at. “No Miss Adi, that’s just a small boil. Don’t go to Suva. I’ll bring you the ______________ leaf.” I had to tell them over and over that I am not Fijian, and my body is used to a different type of medicine.
With no changes in my temperature or swelling the next day, I boarded the boat and made my way to Nadi. After taking my first hot shower, the boil opened and puss started to come out. After about half a cup of puss came out of my arm, I was left with a gaping hole in my arm! Still with my Fijian lens on, I thought because the puss came out and swelling started to go down, I’d just return to the island instead of making the trip to Suva. The Peace Corps doctor who insisted I come into her clinic quickly shot this down.
So, here I am in Suva on my first medical trip. I am staying at a hotel next to the Peace Corps office, taking lots of antibiotics, getting two dressings a day, and trying to enjoy the city life as much as I can. I will be here for the weekend and am plan to visit my nearby host village, Vuci to see my namesake. She is 20 months now, and I have heard she is getting very big!
I am hoping to be released from “medical hold” next Monday or Tuesday. On Thursday, I have a flight to Western Samoa for a two week vacation with another volunteer, so wish me a quick recovery!!