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Year View| Summary| Highlights| Month View| Friday 22 August 2003 (Day View)

22.08.2003Friday 22 August

I guess that it sounds like I’ve been constantly sick, as I’ve had more than one person now mention that I seem to have lots of ill health, but really, I have been healthy up until I got the flu. Many people at uni, Joe, and even Silas in Cairns, got the flu at the same time with the same symptoms. Silas had to go to the doctor for antibiotics for a secondary infection, Joe has now also gone to the doc and has antibiotics, and some people from college were apparently hospitalised. In other words, it was a wide spread and nasty flu. I don’t believe there is much anyone can do about the flu; it seems the healthiest of people still get the flu, although I guess they probably get it less often, and most likely recover faster.
Hay fever
After I left Rossville, I was slightly “fluey”, which I believe was from hay fever. I’m not sure if there’s much difference between hay fever and a cold. Hay fever is when your body attacks something harmless, thinking it is a bug. A cold is when your body attacks a bug, thinking it is a bug. There is probably no difference, except that in the case of a cold the virus can cause other problems (people get a cough from throat infection etc) whereas in hay fever the body fighting its imagined but non-existent bug causes the problems – at least, that is how I understand it. What I’m trying to get at is that I don’t consider hay fever ill health or sickness, rather something certain people suffer from – in my case probably triggered by something in the rainforest or the dust or probably a combination of the two.
When this bad flu came around, which was just after I had gotten over my hay fever, I, along with almost everyone else I know, got it. Ironically, Joe, who isn’t the healthiest person around, “killed” his flu by drinking, as he put it. He took two days off work, and then on the third day went up north and stayed the night with his daughter and was “better” the next day. Meanwhile, I got sick on the Wednesday, went to uni on Thursday but felt bad all day, took Friday off and lay in bed half the day, and was sick over the weekend – gradually getting better on Sunday. I was better enough on Sunday to go to the ABC’s concert. The ironic part though, is that I was (as far as I know) completely over the flu (apart from a sniffle and all those things that come after a flu), but Joe and Silas have both since had to go to the doctor and get antibiotics as they got secondary infections. Funnily enough so did I, but it was my finger. You don’t usually expect to get a flu infection in a finger. While I’m not entirely sure, and probably will never know what bug is in my finger, it’s most probably the flu bug. I remember biting a small cuticle, as I often do, to chop off the little flap of skin, and within an hour I had a blister there – just a normal clear blister. By the night, the blister had turned into a puss-filled blister, and rapidly turned into an abscess, which is really just a fancy name for puss-filled blister. I didn’t know what to do, but figured it would fix itself. The puss filled blister started where the cuticle was, and slowly over a matter of days, spread around the front of the finger, along under the front of the nail, and at the moment has gone right the way around the front of the nail and is up the top of the nail in the middle of the finger. In fact, the puss-filled blister has all but disappeared, but the finger is still red. I mistakenly assumed the blister or abscess itself was the infection, and that the infection was travelling around the finger and was now nearly gone, but the doctor pointed out the obvious, that the infection started at the cuticle, and has spread around the finger. The puss-filled thing is just what happens when the body fights the infection. It’s a collection of dead cells. Therefore, at the moment, rather than the infection having moved around my finger and being almost gone, it has actually spread around my finger and the whole finger is infected. That is why I got antibiotics, which should clear the infection up within 5 days. Antibiotics are amazing things.
Now, the mucus cyst is quite normal. I have always gotten them ever since I can remember. I always thought of them as “pimples”, but they’re actually mucus cysts. Normally, when I got a “pimple” in my mouth, it would go away in a week or so, but this one hasn’t. I wasn’t worried about it, I had it all the time I was back home on holidays, but as it’s been two months and it hasn’t gone away I thought I should see a doc just to make sure. As far as I know, they’re quite normal and there’s nothing serious about it. At least, I have had tons before, just that they clear up and this one has obviously become more permanently blocked. The doctor just said it wasn’t a doctor issue – go talk to a dentist, so I don’t actually know if they will want to manually unblock it or just leave it and see. I will phone up the dentist at some stage and make an appointment. There are three dentist options, a normal paying dentist, the community health dentist, or the uni one. I plan to phone up the uni mob and see if they’re interested – they only accept cases that are of use to teaching their students. As far as I know, the students themselves don’t do anything – they just watch and observe. They aren’t allowed to do anything dangerous or let unqualified people do anything. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re actually quite good as they’d be dentist lecturers I’d imagine. If they’re not interested, or if I find that they aren’t any good, I will put my name down for the community dentist. I need a check-up anyway. The doctor told me it could be up to a month on the waiting list, which is fine by me.
A possible side effect of these antibiotics is that they can occasionally cause various bugs that normally live in the bowel to multiply out of control, causing thrush and other nasty things. This makes me a bit worried about taking acidophilus, as they actually cause stomach bugs (albeit good ones) to grow, and these antibiotics can cause bowel bugs (also good ones) to grow too much. This makes me wonder if it is a good idea to take acidophilus or not. Unfortunately there’s probably no way I can find out, as I don’t think a normal doctor is going to recommend acidophilus anyway as it’s sort of an alternative thing.
It is always a little scary around large groups of people. Infections, flu, and various other viruses and things like that can transfer so much easier. Since having my infected finger, I have been very aware of all the things I’m touching. Like right now, I’m typing on a keyboard that has probably had a hundred other students typing on it today, and who knows where their hands were or what diseases they have, although there isn’t much I can do about that.
I believe I’m relatively healthy. I have had a bad flu which was going around, and that got into my finger from me biting it, but apart from that, I think I’m normally healthy. Hay fever seems to be one of those things that certain people suffer from, for no easily discernible reason, and I seem more prone to it when I’m in the rainforest.

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