But other than all of those incidents, I had never had a problem in Central America before. So when I got bitten by something in Nicaragua last year, I figured it was a mosquito and ignored it. It just itched a little!
Then I noticed that it wasn’t just one bite. There were six bites on my right leg and three more on my left leg. But again, I thought they were mosquito bites. Plus, the hotel we were staying at had this incredible homemade rum, so that really helped me ignore the bites for a couple days. It was vacation! We were having fun! So what if my legs were starting to swell up! That probably means they want to dance!
When I arrived back home, I took a moment to properly examine my legs. And what my eyes saw made my brain worried. Let me show you what I woke up to the next morning. Viewer discretion is advised. (Even though it’s probably too late.)
These were three of the nine bites. And when I pressed down into my skin, instead of the skin bouncing back to its regular position, it stayed indented. So I did what any other thirty-five-year-old man would do—I texted that photo to my mom and wrote, “This bad?”
Since my mom is a doctor, it kind of makes sense. But she’s also a human being who doesn’t love opening her phone to a raw photo of her son’s infected leg. Especially since my last text was probably “Is today Christmas?”
My mom called me immediately.
“Do you have to keep going to Central America for vacation, Colin? What about Colorado?”
“Well, it’s harder to go surfing in Colorado.”
“Surfing, like how you got stitches on your face last year?”
“What about Disney World? They have surfing at Typhoon Lagoon. Plus, you can swim with sharks.”
“Mom, I’m thirty-five.”
“Your father and I are sixty-five, but we still go to Disney four times a year.”
“That’s because you’re psychotic.”
“They have a new Avatar ride at the Animal Kingdom.”
“Mom, what do I do about my leg?”
“Well, it looks like MRSA so we should start you on antibiotics just in case.”
* * *
For those not familiar, MRSA is a staph infection that’s resistant to most antibiotics, because humans have used antibiotics so often that some parasites have adapted and built up a resistance. Like how we as a society have seen so much of Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney Kardashian that by the time Kendall and Kylie came along, we were like, “Sure, this is normal.”
MRSA is usually treatable by stronger types of antibiotics, like doxycycline, which my mother prescribed, but those don’t always work. I was particularly freaked out because my best friend from high school almost died from MRSA, and one of our directors at SNL got MRSA and was in a coma for three months. (He also texted “Is today Christmas?” but it was March.)
I took doxycycline and waited a few days, but my legs only got worse. You know things are bad when you’re “marking the circumference of the wound” with a ballpoint pen and you realize the wound keeps expanding. It was like the reverse of the polar ice caps.
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