Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do not trust the drunk doctor

A word of advice to you all: if u are in doubt of the illness or pain u are experiencing, it is highly recommended that u pay a visit to a proper (and sober) doctor in a proper clinic. Pharmacists and doctors not on duty should not be on top of your list. Why? Let me tell u about my not-so-pleasant experience.

Back in April last year, I had this patch of scaly and itchy skin on the front side of my leg (somewhere between my knee and my ankle). Since I was living on campus which was located practically in the middle of nowhere, I was too lazy to head over the doc’s to have a thorough check on my leg (plus transport is super troublesome). At that time I treated it as the ringworm disease ‘cos the only skin disease I can think of which relates to scaly skin in a form of a circle is ringworm (or ‘kurap’ as u say it in Malay which we always refer to the stray dogs…anjing kurap!). So I didn’t bother about it (though it’s soooo itchy!) until about few months later when I went back to KK for the holidays. I went to a pharmacy in Damai and told Mr. Pharmacist (who looked blur himself) that I had the ringworm problem and showed him my affected leg. He was so blur that he thought I was talking about my foot! I think he had a thing for flowers, ‘cos he directly looked at the fake purple flower attached to my purple slipper. “Your foot? I don’t see anything wrong with it,” says Mr. Pharmacist. “Not my foot lah, my leg!” I retorted. “Oh! Yes, that’s ringworm allright,” Mr. Pharmacist agreed and gave me a little white cream bottle which had ‘poison’ written on it. He told me to apply it on my leg thrice a day but did not say for how long. I had forgotten to ask as well and assumed that I need to finish the whole bottle.

After few weeks of application, the itch was gone but not the scaly skin. It really looked ugly, so I kept on applying the cream until one day when I noticed a strange thing about my flaky skin. It had grown extra hairs, so it was more noticeable than ever. I was like, ‘what the…?!’ I panicked and did not dare to apply more cream even though it got itchy at times. Around that time, I met up with my doctor friend at a relative’s wedding. By the time I got to chat with the doc, we had a few drinks and I was already becoming pink in the face. We talked about everything including his job at the general hospital. That got me to come up with my skin problem. He had a look at my leg and nodded. “U shouldn’t have applied so much cream. It’s supposed to be 2 weeks max. The cream’s got steroids, u know,” he said knowledgeably. Steroids?! What’s it doing in my skin cream?? The doc then explained that steroids helped in relieving the itching. “U sure it’s ringworm?” I asked the doc again, just to be sure. “Yup,” said the doc and took another swig of his beer. “So what should I do with the extra hair?” I waited hopefully that he could provide me with a reasonable solution. The doc shook his head. “I’m afraid there’s nothing u can do with it. What’s grown will stay, unless u shave it regularly.” NOOOOoooo…and no way I’m gonna shave my leg. Blame it all on Mr. Blur Pharmacist.

Being literally helpless, I went to another pharmacy in Centre Point. I showed the lady pharmacist my leg AND explained the horrifying experience that I went through. She gave me a look and said matter-of-factly, “That’s not ringworm dear, I think it’s eczema. If u really had ringworm, it would’ve vanished by now. And ringworms only exist in particular areas of your body. I’m afraid u took the wrong medication and consultation as well.” I felt a knife being stabbed into my back (like those illustrated in Japanese comics). I’ve been given the wrong medication by a licensed pharmacist and given the wrong advice by a licensed general doctor?! Life is so not fair. This time, I didn’t buy anything from the lady pharmacist and went direct to the clinic which I should’ve done months ago. This doc, situated in Donggongon area, patiently listened to my tantrums and rantings. Kindly, Doc confirmed that I had very mild eczema, but he told me not to worry and assured that the skin problem can be cured, but it will be on a long-term basis (however, the extra hair stays…darn!). He prescribed me this lotion called ezerra cream which functions to relieve the itchiness and smoothen the skin. And I can apply it as many times as I want. I used it until to this day, and though it will take time for my skin to heal, I have finally found the right medication. And so, my advice to u readers, once again, unless u are completely sure about which medication is right for u, it is best to go to the clinic and have the doctor to undergo a thorough check on your symptoms, and for the doc to prescribe u the correct medication.

Here are some facts about the differences between eczema and ringworm which may be of interest to u guys ‘cos their symptoms are really similar. Info are taken from the trusted family health encyclopedia :)

Ringworm – A popular name for certain types if fungal skin infections (commonly of the feet, groin, scalp, nails or trunk). Ringworm is marked by ring-shaped, reddened, scaly, or blistery patches on the skin.

Infections may be acquired from another person, from an animal, from soil, from the floors of showers, or from household objects, such as chairs or carpets.

Most ringworm infections are diagnosed by a doctor from their appearance. However, the diagnosis should be confirmed, and the type of fungus identified. For most types of fungal infections, treatment is with antifungal drugs in the form of skin creams, lotions, or ointments. For infections affecting the hair or nails, an antifungal drug in tablet form may be necessary.

Treatment may be continued for some time after symptoms have subsided to eradicate the fungi and prevent recurrence. For mild infections on the skin surface, there may need to be 4 to 6 weeks of treatment; for toenail infections, treatment may be necessary for up to 1 or 2 years.

Eczema – An inflammation of the skin, usually causing itching and sometimes accompanied by scaling or blisters. Eczema is sometimes caused by an allergy, but often occurs for no known reason.

Nummular Eczema (in my case) – This type usually occurs in adults. The cause is unknown. Nummular eczema takes the form of circular, itchy, scaling patches anywhere on the skin, similar to tinea (ringworm), from which the eczema needs to be distinguished. Corticosteroid drugs may be applied to the affected skin to help reduce inflammation, although the disorder is persistent and often resistant to treatment.

General treatment – To reduce irritation and the likelihood of scratching, a soothing ointment should be applied to the affected areas, which should then be covered by a dressing to prevent scratching. Absorbent, nonirritating materials such as cotton should be worn next to the skin; irritating fabrics such as wool, silk, and rough synthetics should be avoided.

1 comment:

Diana Rikasari said...

i had eczema a while ago, near my lips and hell yeah it was so itchy