exploring, examining, exchanging, expressing
Monday, October 29, 2007
El Hombre AraƱa
Two weekends ago my ankle was bitten by something. I didn't worry about it at the time because it was a small bite, like from a mosquito. The tiny mark remained all week, not getting worse or better.

Yesterday, however, things started happening. The bite was swollen and a bit red in the morning. By evening, my entire ankle was swollen and the red area was about the size of a nickel.

No worries, I told myself. I probably scratched the bite and it got infected. I knew I could go to the pharmacy the next day, have a doctor look at it, and get some antibiotics.

Just to be safe, however, I Googled "spider bite." Allow me to warn you now: NEVER GOOGLE "SPIDER BITE!" The anecdotes I read, the pictures I saw, nearly kept me up all night. But eventually I calmed down. I rationalized, figuring that if I had been bitten by a horrible flesh-melting death-spider, the symptoms would've revealed themselves sooner than 7 days.

Today my roommate went with me to the pharmacy and the doctor confirmed that it is indeed an infection. He gave me 7 antibiotic pills (one a day) and some spray. The cost was much more than my last dose, but I assume these are stronger pills. The whole thing took around 15 minutes and $40. I grumbled about the money for about 8 seconds, and then I remembered that a similar medical visit in the US would've taken much, much longer and cost several times as much.

Then I remembered that I'm supposed to leave for Panama on Thursday. Seven days of antibiotics means I'll be taking them the entire time I'm in Bocas del Toro. I'm not thrilled about crossing the border with pills. But worse: that means no drinking during my border run. I don't get to enjoy cheap Panamanian beer. That makes me an unhappy gringo.

Plus, apparently it wasn't a radioactive spider. So I don't get to be Spider-Man for Halloween.