Just couldn’t take the itching anymore…Off to see the doc…

A kudu drinking out of the birdbath in the garden.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Bushy-tailed bushbabies are huge compared to bushbabies in our garden. We took this photo at Jabula a few weeks ago.

After over a month of itching unbearably especially during the night and rarely getting enough sleep, I was becoming frustrated with these awful pepper tick bites, mostly on my arms and neck where my skin was exposed when we wandered through the bush toward the river. 

In every case, I had on tons of repellent but apparently, it doesn’t work for ticks. There are much harsher and toxic chemicals required to keep ticks at bay, including the tiny pepper ticks. They’re called pepper ticks since they are as tiny as a single fleck of finely ground pepper, not visible to the human eye.

Each time we see flowers and plants we now wonder if they are invasive alien plants that are awful for the local ecosystem and wildlife.

Yesterday, when we returned to the eye doctor for Tom to select his new glasses (first replacement lenses in over six years) and for me to pick up my new contact lenses, we first decided to stop at the local pharmacy to see if the pharmacist had any suggestions for the itching.

I’d already tried several creams to no avail and even took sleep-inducing Benedryl during the day, after trying two other antihistamines, in a desperate attempt at some relief for a few hours. Nothing, I mean nothing gave me any relief for more than an hour at most.

It appears pretty but does it belong here?

On a few occasions, I was hopeful the creams would help but they were so greasy and messy I was unable to wear repellent on top of them. I didn’t want to take the risk of getting more bites from mosquitos which have begun increasingly populating the bush with the recent rains and warmer weather.

A few days this week I hid away in the bedroom, wearing my long-john type pajamas with the air-con on, in an attempt to avoid the necessity of wearing any repellent. I still got a few more bites only adding to my discomfort.  

We call this pair of wildebeest, Dad & Son.  They aren’t frequent visitors like Wildebeest Willie but always welcome as are the zebras and warthogs.

Also, I didn’t want to have to spend our last three precious months in Marloth Park hiding in the bedroom. I needed some relief and a long-term solution. At the pharmacy when I showed the pharmacist my arms, she said I must go to the doctor immediately.

She explained I was at risk for tick-bite fever, a dreadful condition, and it appeared many of the bites were inflamed and on the verge of becoming infected. That freaked me out enough to send us to the doctor’s office down the road to ask for their next available appointment. As it turned out, she was right.

Lion lying under a tree, as seen from the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

Dr. Theo scolded me a little for suffering for a month. Why hadn’t I come in sooner? I wish I knew the answer. Perhaps I was trying to “tough it out” and no be a whiney tourist running to the doctor with every little complaint. Hadn’t our six years of world travel toughened me up a bit?

In many ways, it has toughened me up but practicality must supersede pride and at 1630 hrs (4:30 pm) we returned to Komatipoort for the appointment with Dr. Theo.

Two male lions checking for possible dinner subjects.

In the interim, we’d planned dinner at Ngwenya with Rita and Gerhard which we had to cancel when we had no idea how long the appointment would take, and the trip to the pharmacy to collect my three prescriptions. Besides, I wasn’t feeling much like going out.

We haven’t seen them since they returned from Germany a few days ago and were disappointed to have to cancel. But, we have plans for dinner reservations at Jabula tomorrow night with Kathy and Don as well for the six of us. They’ve never met. It’s quite wonderful to introduce old friends to new friends.

Two Big Daddies, horns entangled in a little scuffle over pellets.

This morning, after eating as required, I started the big dose of Prednisone to be tapered over a period of 12 days. Hopefully, this will begin to reduce the severe itching which is by far the worst itching I’ve ever experienced in my life. I’m feeling confident this will work.

Since Prednisone can cause insomnia (yikes) the doctor suggested I take it in the morning. This morning, I took six pills as prescribed. If lucky I may experience improvement by tonight since I’m literally exhausted from lack of sleep for over a month due to the worsening of the itching at night.

No harm was done…back to being friendly.

Today is a low-key day. It’s cloudy and cooler and we’ve had tons of amazing visitors we’ll be sharing in tomorrow’s post.

We hope all of our USA friends and family had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. Be well. Be happy.

Photo from one year ago today, November 23, 2017:

We stopped to take this photo on the way to the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica.  This is a Northern Crested Caracara: “The northern crested caracara, also called the northern caracara and crested caracara, is a bird of prey in the family Falconidae.”  For more, please click here.

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