So, for the last couple months the festering sore on my wrist has at times grown, seemed to shrink, and oozed continuously but it has never healed. Oh yeah, I have two, one on my left wrist and one on my right elbow. Each one is slightly larger than a US silver dollar. Locals stop me all the time and ask, “You have a bay sore?” “…chiclero” “…leish?” “… had a blood test?” Anyone with past experience sees it and thinks, “Leish Maniasis”. Liesh is a disease caused by parasites and transmitted by a species of sand fly. I get all kinds of
recommendations, “Pour bleach on it”, “Squeeze the berries that grow in the orchard on it”, etc…
My wound care treatment has been treating one wound while ignoring the other, a seldom used medical practice. Up to this point the sore on my left wrist has been covered with triple antibiotic, covered with guaze and wrapped with an ace bandage. I also have been through a whole tube of Bactroban that a friend recommended. The sore stays covered maybe 80% of my waking hours. It always oozes, has not healed and is larger now, same as the one I have ignored. Oh yeah, 3 separate cycles of antibiotics haven’t helped either.
Probably 6 weeks into it I went to a local doc who sent me to get a blood test. After waiting a week for the results the 24 hour test they told me it’s not leish maniasis. I didn’t believe the lab for reasons that are not limited to the typical inefficiency we all experience here but also include a medical receptionist who seemed to hate me, a hurricane and numerous gory photos of other cases of leish. Additionally, the doc, prior to sending me to the lab, says he is sure it’s leish. I stopped him on the street after the test and conveyed the results. He didn’t believe it either and asked me if I wanted to come in to receive treatment. I told him yes but first I’m going to try a treatment most everyone seems to agree on, Jackass Bitters.
Jackass Bitters is a local plant that seems to be good for your everything. I have personally experienced the positive effects of Jackass Bitters tea killing pesky stomach parasites but that ain’t all. These bitters are also used to treat everything from malaria to vaginal itching. In this case I will boil the leaves to a tea and apply the soaked leaves in a compress that I will change 3 times a day.
Fast forward, 2 weeks later….Turns out Jackass Bitters isn’t working. Yesterday a close friend of ours came by and checked me out. She has spent years in the jungle dealing with the many ailments that are inherent to living here and has treated leish maniasis many times. Mamma, as we call her, is also a registered nurse in the US, is exceptionally bright and probably is not proud of me for letting this thing go for so long. She took some lovely pictures and told me she’d consult with a dermatologist she works with here and get me on the proper treatment. I meet with her for a follow up today.
I’m looking forward to progress. In addition to the obvious pain in the neck of having 2 large seeping sores on my body (seems you don’t really get used to that) I’m a bit self conscious about it. I usually have at least the worst one covered but as I sit here right now with 2 large bandages on I think I look like a car accident victim. I mean, who wants giant bandages wrapped around their wrist on one hand and elbow on the other? The only thing worse is leaving them exposed and seeing the recoil from people who see my horrendous condition. I am not an animal!
I hope to start treatment soon and will keep you posted…