A thing that happened the day after I got back from Lamu Island off the coast of Kenya was that I developed three large and painful boils. I took them to my doctor who refused to lance them, but prescribed a powerful antibiotic.  He didn’t think I’d picked up some tropical disease, but said my trip could have “lowered my resistance to the staphylococcus that resides on the skin . . .” The antibiotic didn’t help a bit – the boils just got bigger and more painful.  Eventually I lanced the one on my elbow and something hard came out with a little pus. Then my travelling companion Jane phoned from Saudi Arabia to say that she had also had boils and that they were caused by a fly that lays eggs in wet laundry. When you wear those clothes larvae emerge looking for an animal host. They burrow into the skin, and must be removed with a needle. Her experts on tropical diseases told her the culprit was the Tumbu Fly, and prescribed two different types of antibiotics which she had to take for seven days.

I immediately grabbed my scalpel-sharp penknife and attacked the boil on my left buttock in front of the bathroom mirror. With the help of knife and needle a large larva emerged, and it was still wriggling. Yeech!

Then I phoned Jane’s sister and asked her if I could come round to show her the photos of my trip.  Here is the tale of my visit to her, as told in her inimitable way in an e-mail she subsequently sent to Jane:

P came around on Saturday to show photos etc, and ask me to dig a grub out of his back – he managed the others, but couldn’t reach this one. Oh Lordy!! Perry brought his penknife for me to “just slice off a flap of skin”: FUCCKKK: thought well now I know why I’m not a doctor: nearly puked all over him!  Anyway – very disappointing: grub was dead and quite small (according to Perry) – I sat at least hoping for some REAL LIVE ACTION, and I had to check the thing out in a magnifying glass to see it was a grub – no question, doll – THESE ARE THE REAL MACOY!! Shit – I would have platsed on the spot if I were you, digging this grotesque thing out of my groin!! What do they eat – blood, or flesh???  P was quite unpreturbed – even brought his Germolene ointment along!!

Anyway. Enough said. I thought I’d dropped the bloody thing on the floor, it was going to turn into a fly in my bathroom, and I was going to populate Pinelands with bugs in their broeks, but fortunately this was all just hyped-up imagination. It’s not every day I get to slice someone open with a penknife, so I wasn’t quite myself at the time.

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  1. Chris Martin says:

    “generally fatal if untreated” according to Wiki. Oh gha!

  2. Sonya Stephenson ( aka Jane's sister) says:

    Heh heh! I vividly recall the surgical procedure, but not the production of that appallingly badly written and foul – mouthed account of it. Had I known at the time I would emerge years later as a guest writer on your blog, I would most certainly have reported the incident a tad more elegantly, In truth, I remain extremely proud of both your and my fortitude on the occasion in question and I claim now that my comments to Jane that I was in any way sickened by the event were grossly exaggerated. Indeed, your and my joint gung ho approach to the entire affair is one of my prouder moments in life, and I can reliably report that I am a better person for the experience. And you have the scars to prove it.

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