The Humanitarian Experience: Creepers be Creepin’

Day 4 of our school assembly tour in the country of Exuma.

That morning I awoke groggy and slightly confused. The sun had barely peeked over the horizon and light was low, yet bright enough to see the dim colors of the room. As I lay on the top bunk of a rickety bunk bed, I hazily rubbed my sleepy blurry eyes. I could hear the soft breathing of the others in the room and the faint tune of an alarm that was going off in the dorm room next door. The room held the cool humidity of the early mornings in the Bahamas.

Sitting up slowly I tried my hardest to blink away the sleep from my eyes. The brightly colored beach towel which was draped over the edge of my roommate’s bed looked blurrier than normal this morning. Realizing for the 1000th + time in my life that my eyes don’t work on their own, I reached for my glasses. The glasses were safely tucked above my pillow for easy access in case of emergency (I can tend to over think possible scenarios). As I slid the cool plastic frames over my temples I realized that the relief of being able to see clearly did not arrive, as it did every morning since the age of 4.

Slowly and carefully I slid down the bed and with the aid of my other 5 senses I made it across the messy dorm room, dodging luggage, hair brushes and beach towels at every angle. I clicked on the bathroom light and allowed the hum of the ancient fluorescent light to slowly fill the room. As the image in the mirror somewhat improved I began to find that there was a reason I could not see this morning, even with my trusty glasses. In a sudden gasp I flung off the glasses and brought my face close to mirror. Lo and behold it was Igor. Yep, I was Igor.

My only guess is that sometime between 11:20 pm and 6:00am some little creepy thing, perhaps a small spider or an annoying mosquito had chosen my face out of the 12 other faces as it’s meal of choice. My right eyelid could barely hold itself open and the other eye which is weaker overall in vision, could not hold up to the task of seeing on its own.

I immediately heard several high-pitched gasps of my roommates who were staggering slowly into the bathroom with toothbrushes in hand. Furiously I washed and scrubbed my face hoping to cure the massive swelling with cold water and harsh hand soap. It did not work.

After eating breakfast and preparing for the day all while hiding my hideous bulging eyelid, I came to the conclusion that the swelling and constant itching were not going to cure themselves. I placed two small pills of antihistamines in my hand, threw them to the back of my throat and gulped down a glass of water. It was going to be a long day…

Since antihistamines have an extremely strong effect on me, the swelling went down to 50% of its original intensity and the itching had subsided within the hour. I of course was not so aware of this due to the extreme drowsiness that hit me like a run-away train. The whole day as I remember it from the end of breakfast on is a blur. I remember falling asleep in a car, waking up in a car. Falling asleep in a van, waking up in a van. Falling asleep under a tree and waking to briefly see a beautiful beach. It wasn’t until 9pm that evening did I finally feel like a real life human again. As I crawled into my bed that night I slowly inched the covers over my head and refused to sleep any other way the entire trip.

Exuma – 2009

For more information on the trip above which I so narrowly described click HERE


18 thoughts on “The Humanitarian Experience: Creepers be Creepin’

  1. I spent two weeks working in an orphanage in Tanzania when one of our team members approached me concerning welts all over her chest and back. She had her clothes washed by one of the village women who spread the wet laundry over shrubbery to dry. She had an allergic reaction but wouldn’t take enough antihistamine to do her any good. Didn’t want to feel drowsy, consequently she lost several days of participation. Glad you’re OK.

  2. Oh, I feel for you. I’ve had massive under eye swelling brought on by allergies before… not a fun experience. I bet the itching was quite uncomfortable.

  3. Oh horrors! I’m also allergic to mosquito bits, and antihistamines don’t agree with me at all. ;( Hope your eye soon got better, and you were able to enjoy the rest of your trip.

  4. I’ve nominated you for an award. Feel free to accept or not. I’m easy going :D! Cheers! & Congrats!

  5. I know how you feel, antihistamines make me so sleepy that I usually don’t think it’s worth it to take them…course, then I do take them and forget all about how worried I was because I’m fast asleep! 🙂 Glad you were feeling back to your old self pretty quickly.

  6. Pingback: The Humanitarian Experience: Pack like Indian Jones | meanwhilein3

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