Singapore Adventure

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Festering In The Tropics
by venitha

"I don't know, Jim. I think it's getting worse. It's not as red as last night, but it's... puffier. And it looks like there are blisters."

"So, what? I'm oozing puss?"

"No. But you're definitely going to the doctor."

"No argument there. This," he turns and displays two red spots on his chest, "is new."

I tenderly soothe the war zone of his back with aloe vera, then scrupulously scrub my hands while we discuss the possibilities. What started out looking like a nasty bee sting has marched boldly across his back and is now accompanied by guerilla attacks of numbness.

An allergic reaction? To what? ?

Malaria? True, we were just in Cambodia, but we also just finished our maladrone.

Dengue fever? Nope, no fever.

Bird flu? I don't know the symptoms of bird flu, but he's not bawking like a chicken. Always a good sign.

Poison ivy? Does Singapore have poison ivy? Is there poison... I don't know... frangipani?

I'm mulling over the trifecta of alien abduction, voodoo, and my morning alarm clock curse - A pox on you! - having missed its target when Jim surrenders his favorite Singaporean scapegoat: "Not enough alcohol."

He officiously insists on examining me in all my naked glory. "But I drank all that Bailey's last night! Oh, okay, but no touching. You're... diseased."

I am thankfully pox-free, unless you count my zillion or so freckles, and I wave him off to work amid his promises to see the doctor as soon as possible. "Try not to infect anybody, honey!"


"Shingles," he announces later on the phone, leaving me a moment of silence to wonder whether I didn't get the whole story on his, ahem, massage outing with the guys last week in China.

But no, apparently is merely a reactivation of the virus that causes chicken pox, a cocky little -type that decided to swagger out and attack because Jim is really run down. Poor guy. I should take better care of him. Buy him mangoes. And rub his back. Well, not now, but in general. In spite of tragic wifely neglect, he would likely recover soon all on his own, but his doctor prescribed an antiviral drug, because, in what is sure to become a common phrase around our house, "These things can fester in the tropics."

I hang up the phone, and I itch everywhere. According to the doctor, though, I'm perfectly safe, as I've already had the chicken pox. At least I think I have. But, no kidding. Seriously itchy here. Mom?

To save myself international postage, I'm just posting my secret here: I desperately want someone to pimp a mooncake.