11 March 2012


The first time a rash appeared on my arms, I had just returned from Bali. I had been sick that morning and thought that the rash had something to do with either the heat or whatever virus I picked up while on vacation.

The rashes eventually disappeared and only returned on a rare occasion after I had been exposed to heat and outdoor activities.

Since I began working what I consider to be full time at the horse arena, the rashes on my arms not only reappeared, they spread and they were a nuisance. Then Paul made the connection that I failed to see – maybe I am allergic to the horses. I did spend time with and on a horse in Bali the day before I left. After three weeks of itching and scratching and placing anti-itch ointment on my arms four times a day, I decided to make a doctor’s appointment to inquire about an allergy.

My doctor confirmed that I am allergic to some part of my work environment, likely either the horses or the hay they consume. I was warned that I would soon also experience nasal drippage down my throat. Super.

I was prescribed an allergy medication that is available over the counter in Singapore and a steroid cream for my rash. Everything seemed great until I awoke Sunday morning.

Sunday I was feeling a little off – I had a bit of a sore throat and I was a bit tired. I blamed the tiredness on a sunburn I had received the day prior and figured the throat would get better as the day went on.

My throat worsened throughout the evening and, at one point in the night, I was unsure how much air was actually making its way through my throat because it felt incredibly blocked. After a mostly sleepless night and a very sore throat, I decided to stay home from work Monday.

Six days have passed and I am again experiencing a sore throat, though it never quite healed throughout the week. I have a couple other symptoms including a sporadic cough and a lot of phlegm in my throat. Sorry, too much information? Thursday night I slept all through the night thanks to my best friend, NyQuil.

Then I woke up Friday morning with the beginnings of a cough and a voice that was hardly a whisper.

It’s funny how being sick can make me crave different things. Sometimes, I do not want food at all; other times all I want to do is eat. I today realized that when I am sick, I crave salty foods – pork fried rice, wonton noodle soup, ramen noodles and salty popcorn.

Yesterday, as soon as I finished my last volunteering session at the arena, I arrived home in time to eat a bowl of chicken-flavored ramen noodles, grab a long-sleeved tee, a hoodie and a pair of socks and head off to a nearby movie theater. I figured a weekday matinee with some lemon tea and salty popcorn would be exactly what my doctor would advise me to do. It was a great solo outing.

Today I slept most of the day. When I awoke at 4 a.m., I decided it was about time to take some NyQuil as I had not when I went to bed. The sleep medicine did not work as I intended so I was out of bed at 7:30. I sat on the couch for a little while, watched a television show and then, by 9, I was ready for naptime. I slept until after 12.

Paul and I enjoyed a lunch of reheated Rosemarina, one of his family’s signature dishes, and then Paul declared it was naptime. I was happy to take part. So we each went to nap around 1, Paul in the bedroom and I on the couch. By the time 4 p.m. rolled around I decided it was time to suck it up and stay awake. The only other day in my life I slept this much was the day I slept 20 hours and ate nothing more than oyster crackers with my cups of Gatorade. That was a record.

I still have no idea whether I am suffering from some sort of viral infection or if this really has something to do with my allergies but I certainly intend to find out. 

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