Self-diagnosing in times of Covid-19…People not seeking care due to fears….

Mongoose trying to crack an egg. Hilarious!

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Today’s photos are from May 22, 2019, from Connemara, Ireland.  Please click here for more details.

At every turn the scenery is breathtaking.

A few weeks ago I mentioned I was suffering from chronic pain in my face, particularly the right cheek. Knowing there was no way I could see a doctor with a high risk of Covid-19, doctors’ offices closed and emergency rooms and hospitals packed with virus-sick patients, my only alternative was to self-diagnose.

No doubt doing so carries a number of risks but my options were non-existent. After hours of research at reliable websites, I determined I had either a sinus infection or an abscessed tooth. 

Neither condition was glaringly obvious other the dull ache in my cheekbone and the side of my face. At that point, I began a Z-pack, a five-day course of Azithromycin diligently following dosing instructions.

An abandoned boat in part covered in vegetation creates this classic scene.

Much to my delight, after about three days I began to experience some results. By day 5, the pain was gone and stayed gone until another five days passed, and then the pain began again. I was devastated. What now?

I used ice packs, heat packs, and took Paracetamol (Tylenol) to no avail. There was no improvement whatsoever. As the days passed it became worse than it was originally. I was at a loss as to what to do. Not wanting to worry Tom, I kept it to myself, only mentioning once the discomfort had returned.

Yesterday, feeling frustrated, only exasperated by our lockdown-in-Mumbai situation, a breakthrough happened… I had a toothache in a tooth in an upper molar, one I had wanted to have repaired before we left South Africa last May by our favorite all-time dentist in Komatipoort, Dr. Luzaan Du Preez.

Ireland consists of many boggy areas that are prevalent here in Connemara, Ireland.

However, only three months after open-heart surgery, she suggested I wait a year to fix the tooth since I wasn’t experiencing any pain. Well, yesterday, one week and one year after we left, the tooth started hurting. I realized I had an abscessed tooth which was causing the facial pain.

In a sense, I was relieved, after a month of dealing with this, to finally know what it is. But, the concern was…how do I deal with it? After several hours online, I couldn’t find a dentist that was opened in Mumbai. Nor did I relish the idea of sitting in a dentist’s chair, during times of Covid-19 with a dentist’s hand in my mouth.

Instead, we both easily recalled Tom having this same problem while we lived in Savusavu, Fiji, and visited a local dentist when Tom was experiencing the same pain I am feeling now. We recalled taking photos of the two antibiotics he took which we posted on our site here on November 10, 2015. See photo below:

Tom’s free prescriptions for an abscessed tooth;  two antibiotics, and one packet of non-prescription ibuprofen. See the post here.

With a little effort by enlarging the photo, we were able to read the names and doses of the medications. I realized taking this medication wasn’t a permanent solution, but it might hold me long enough until we can get to a dentist, hopefully in South Africa. 

Online again, I verified the medications and dosages for this purpose and set about to order them from a Mumbai online pharmacy. After a few hours of attempting to place the order when my phone number isn’t local to India and the pharmacy requires a local cell number, the wonderful staff member, Samira, at the hotel’s reception desk, allowed me to use her number.

Getting the medication online without a local doctor’s consultation requires a phone appointment with one of the pharmacy’s own doctors. Samira let me use her cell to make all of this work. At 5:30 sharp the call came in on Samira’s phone by a doctor who reviewed my symptoms and confirmed the meds I had ordered were appropriate. 

Rocks are seen everywhere in Ireland.  From this site:  “The geological map of Ireland displays a wide variety of rock types which have originated at different periods of geological time. The oldest rocks are metamorphic gneisses which are to be found on Inishtrahull, several miles off Malin Head in Co. Donegal, and elsewhere in the north-west. They originally formed as igneous rocks 1750-1780 million years ago.”

Unfortunately, once I ordered the medications I discovered they wouldn’t be delivered until May 25th. That date was too far away. My situation was worsenening by the hour. A three-day wait was unthinkable, although I proceeded with the order not knowing there was any other option.

Samira suggested she’d call local pharmacies to search for the drugs to be delivered right away. Around 7:30 pm, Samira called to inform me the medication has arrived at the reception desk. The cost for both antibiotics was INR 360, US $4.75 which included delivery. Oh good grief. What a deal! I wonder how much these would have been in the USA.

Immediately, I started the medications which I’ll continue to take every eight hours and will continue to do so for one week. In the interim, I’ll still accept the other order since while we’re in lockdown the problem could return as it did for Tom a few months later. 

The plural word for a group of sheep is flock, dove, or herd.  A very large group of sheep is a band or mob.

Regardless of the risks of taking antibiotics, the risks of letting this infection continue to rage, especially with a heart condition such as mine, makes no sense at all.

The first round of antibiotics I took, the Z-Pack may work for a mild tooth abscess, but not nearly as well as this combination of two types of antibiotics. That’s why I experienced some relief for a few days.

My situation during times of Covid-19 is not unusual. Doctors and dentist’s offices are closed all over the world and the risk of going to an urgent care facility or emergency room is too risky at this time. 

Wildflowers are often found blooming on the side of the road especially this time of year as summer nears.

Sadly, many patients needing emergency treatment, cancer care, and having heart attacks and strokes are failing to seek medical care due to a lack of availability and justifiable fear. 

Covid-19 is not only impacting the lives, health, and well-being of people throughout the world, but also those who have other medical conditions that may require immediate care. The fall-out is alarming.

May we all be healthy and feeling well during these times of Covid-19 as many of us struggle to find solutions for self-care in the interim. Call your family doctor immediately if situations arise. Don’t choose self-care over professional care when it’s available. In my case, I had no other options.


Photo from one year ago today, May 22, 2019:

Clouds reflecting on a lake while on a drive while in Connemara, Ireland. Click here for details.

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