Dr. Elvis is My New King

Trip Start Jan 31, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of India  , Goa,
Thursday, February 16, 2012

The sign in the waiting room read, 'Don't Dirty The Walls'. The walls were once white and the sign was new, but these walls hadn't been painted or cleaned in 30 years. Suddenly the voice of Dolly Parton came blasting through from the inner-office and the door was flung open.

My first clue should have been the man's name, not the wall sign. He looked like Jerry Lewis' Nutty Professor and talked like Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes. His name was Dr Elvis.

It all started two weeks ago, the night we arrived in Goa. I'd climbed into bed at around eleven listening to British people with bad voices singing Karaoke. Thirty hours on the train from Chennai provided all that was needed for a quick nod-off, though. Two hours later I woke up shivering, put on my long pants, thick woolen sweater and socks. I had the fever.

The following morning, after checking out of the Karaoke place, Elenka and I made our way to the Blue Corner. They suggested that I see Dr Edgar – all doctors in Goa seem to go by their first name – in Benaulim town. Dr Edgar seemed more concerned about a couple of cuts on the bottom of my foot than the fever; wounds that had occurred in the Andamans. He bandaged my foot up, then took out a pin, pricked my finger and drew some blood. Placing the droplet into a small plastic device with a scale running through the centre of it, he told me to watch it for 15 minutes. If the red line, my blood, travelled up the scale to the word positive it would mean that I had malaria and we'd know what the fever was about. It didn't move.

After a big sigh of relief, Dr Edgar gave me a bunch of drugs and vitamins to take. One of the drugs was a 5 - day antibiotic. By evening time the antibiotics had kicked in and I was feeling better.

Three days later while sitting in Dr Ranjeeta's dental chair having my five temporary crowns installed, she made comment about four lesions on my lips and asked how long it had been since my tongue had developed a fungal growth. I told her that I didn't know that it had. She wrote me a prescription with ways to use the drug that even the druggist found peculiar. I wasn't  all that confident about my dentist's skills, but feeling somewhat beaten, I did what she told me.

When I returned to our Blue Corner cabina, I cleared a month of hair and beard away from my lips and then gasped. My mouth looked like it had taken a trip through the Herpes Triangle. I stuck out my tongue. The fuzz on it looked like a tailored putting-green. Instead of taking the dentist's drugs, I ran into the Arabian Sea and sat there for an hour rinsing my mouth out with saltwater. When I came out of the water my lips were stinging and my putting-green tongue had taken on an orangish tinge. 

Two days later, after completing my antibiotic treatment, I felt ready to go. Elenka and I walked 4 kilometres up the beach and I was feeling good. By the time we got back to the Blue Corner though, I couldn't walk on the damned foot. Another set-back. That evening – about 16 hours after my final anti-biotic tablet – the fever set in again. I went to bed at six, just before the sun went down. Elenka came in around eight, put her hand on my forehead, and jumped away as though she'd put her hand on a hot frying pan. She ran and got a bag of ice. For an hour she rubbed the bag over the hot spots. Finally, I feel asleep in a toss-and-turn state until the sun came up. We'd heard from different people that there was a much better doctor in the town of Colva, three-kilometres south. That's where Dr Elvis entered the picture.

I handed Dr Elvis the list of drugs that Dr Edgar had prescribed. He took the list and slammed it on his desk, then screamed Jerry Lewis-like, that a good doctor provides to his own diagnosis.

First, like a solemn Nutty Professor he examined my foot:

"That is a very nasty burn on the side of your leg," he said. “And you have scar tissue from a previous burn on your foot.”

“Motorcycle exhaust pipes,” I said. “The fresh one happened just a few days ago. The one on my foot was from the Philippines, last year. Happens every time I climb on the damned things.” 

“You should not place your bare skin against the hot pipes.”

I looked at him and smiled.

Dr Elvis moved from my legs to my lips and tongue. The look he was giving my nasty mouth caused me to forget all about the fever.

He walked over to his desk, picked up Dr Edgar's drug list and read it.

Suddenly, just like Basil Rathbone at the end of each Sherlock Holmes movie he burst into deduction.  “Do not  worry about the foot or the burn. They are healing nicely. The reason your mouth and tongue look the way they do is because of the antibiotics you have taken. These drugs should not have been prescribed for your condition.”

He wrote me a new prescription. It's been 24 hours since I swallowed the last antibiotic tablet and I'm feeling fine. Today, Elenka and I are going to rent bicycles and ride south down the beach to a town called Varca. Tomorrow, I might try some light jogging. If I survive both of these tests, Dr Elvis will be my Goan hero.      


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Manuel on

Illness run arounds are never nice, specially away from home. Good you are getting better. What was it?

dansar on

It's always funny to read about weird stuff happening to other people, it's less fun when it's yourself it happens to :-)
Take care and enjoy Hampi.

Debby on

Well i can say one thing malaria is not something you want.. Chris has had it when me was on the boats and he gets it off and on and it is not fun.. So i am glad you didnt have that WOW... Stay Health Bro....

Margo on

Jack! Jack! Jack!

Margo on

Hope you're back up and running soon! Ellen, start chasing!!!!!

P.S. The time here is 1:19pm not sure why the post shows as 6:19pm

Dianne on

Hope you are finally better!

Renate on

Take care of you both until the end of the trip. I send you good wishes.

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