a skin test gone haywire

Last Wednesday, we all trooped to our medical unit to be shot with PPD (which stands for purified protein derivative, not that it matters a lot) for our annual tuberculosis screening. We’re expected to return after 48 hours for skin reading, to determine if we’re exposed to a TB-prone environment or otherwise.

The following details may not be suitable for the faint of heart.

Anyway, on Wednesday afternoon after all the injection hoopla, Rach, Laine and I went jogging along Baywalk. It was a grueling hour after which I noticed that a map of red shadow formed around the area where I was injected with PPD. They all said it was normal.

ppd shotThe next day, the thing worsened a bit, and the picture you see on the left is a mild representation of it. See, in reality, the red shadow was bigger, and that heart-shaped thing (much to my amusement) was actually swollen. Anyway, they still said it was normal. The skin would really form a bump, and that’s what the nurses will measure the next day.

Come Friday, the cute heart-shaped bump was gone, instead it was replaced with a huge blister, so shiny and smooth, it looked like it was about to explode. I went back to the medical unit but they didn’t mind the blister; I was advised to leave it alone and it will deflate in a few days. I was positive for TB exposure, by the way. A lot of us were, which made me realize I’m still not that special, after all. Last year, I was found negative so nothing much happened there.

Fast forward to Sunday. The blister “reproduced”. To visualize it better, imagine a group of blisters shaped like Mickey Mouse. I was advised not to drain the blisters because it would make them infected. I know that, of course. I’ve had too many blisters from wearing shoes for the first time. For some reason though, I find feet blisters different from this one on my left arm. They’re itchy, they’re bigger, they’re…yuck.

Oh well, I put gauze on them and wrapped them lightly in elastic cast to supposedly “protect” it.  Huh? For your information, I didn’t do anything to it over the weekend. In fact, I went through my lazy ass routine paying extra care to it even in my sleep. I don’t want to think I unconsciously rubbed it somewhere, causing it to multiply and worsen, because if I did, the blisters would cease to be blisters, and water would have oozed out of them, right? But I woke up day after day with them blisters all intact.

I don’t know if it has an effect but I played those “pound the protruding heads with a hammer” game at Tom’s World earlier (I need to destress, people) and since I’m left-handed, I used my arm with the cast, and now the whole arm feels sore. The itchy feeling of the Mickey Mouse blisters didn’t help. My mother asked me if I should call in sick tomorrow to have it checked. As tempting as it sounds, no, I will be in the office tomorrow. This is not a good time to be away from work because we’re literally very few and more importantly, I wouldn’t trade a day of centralized airconditioning for a couple of blisters pestering my left arm. In addition, I am planning to show this to the medical people in the office and ask them if they’re messing with me when they told me the blister (still singular) would deflate in a few days.

If the Mickey Mouse blisters stay until Tuesday, I will see my favorite skin doctor again…I miss her already, I last saw her in 2001!


4 thoughts on “a skin test gone haywire

  1. the MM blisters are still a bit icky to look at but they’re not as bad as last Sunday 😦

    Gmail’s okay here, wala namang downtime. Hope it goes well dyan! when will you be back?

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