Jungle Medicine

For the past month or so I’ve had to deal with a very nasty tick bite on my left ankle. It tended to scab up and then the scabs regularly fell off every five days or so, without healing properly and restarting the cycle.

I know, I know… tick bites heal the hard way, but this one was way beyond insidious, so there was the possibility there was still something noxious lurking within. So last week I scrapped the scab with the sharp edge of a blade and then proceeded to burrow deep into the wound and probe with the tip of the tool to make sure. I found nothing, but the reopened lesion began to suppurate a clear substance instead of bleeding, which isn’t a good sign. So I began to squeeze the edges of the injury until the nearby skin began to bruise and blood finally surfaced. Now, six days later, the wound finally scabbed and presently shows signs of healing correctly. It still itches like hell, but it’s well on its way to proper recovery.

Am I mad? Why subject myself to this gruesome treatment? Shouldn’t I go to a hospital and have a doctor have a look at the bite, and then prescribe some sort of antibiotics?

Well, the answers are quite simple: 1) I’m on the edge of a jungle and 2) this is the only available medical procedure I can allow myself to have since A) the good doctors have already fled the country (leaving only a bunch of quacks to consult) and B) antibiotics?!? Ha! Don’t start me on discussing those! (Absolutely scarce nowadays, if you need to know).

It’s not the first time since I moved to the jungle that I had to perform a quick fix up or impromptu surgery on myself.

There was the time I scratched my arm badly with rusty barb wire, so I had to intramuscularly give myself a tetanus shot. And there was the occasion when a lemon thorn went so deep within my thumb that it got infected and then I had to carve an X with a shaving blade across the wound’s lips. And I mean digging really deep, like one-third of an inch to reach the infected spot and help the injury weep.


Of late, I had to hunt down for the Hepatitis-B and Trivalent immunization shots for a week before I was able to get a hold of them (requisite for the plans that Kathryn and I have been arranging for the past ten months or so. BTW, the nurse who gave me the shots had a heavy-handed approach with the syringe when she jabbed my arms with the needle; she even made me bleed from her clumsy stabbings). Do you think is fair that I have to hunt down the last eight remaining shots in the entire country, when you just walk into your doctor’s office and ask for them, anywhere else in the world?

And I’m supposed to be the mad one… *chuckles*

Okay… rant’s over.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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