Over the past few days I have noticed a small rash developing on my legs. By yesterday evening it was a full blown nasty-ugly-splotchy-itchy rash spreading onto my stomach and arms. It's the kind of rash that produces an itch that makes you want to scratch right down to the bone, which is what I spent most of the night doing. At 3AM I was turning my place inside out looking for some anti-itching cream, but alas there was none. By morning, my thighs looked like they were covered in raw hamburger, so I headed to my neighborhood pharmacy in hopes they might have something to help relieve my misery.
Not knowing the word for rash, I had to describe the problem. I had some on my arm, and some on my stomach but I knew that in order for them to really appreciate my predicament it was imperative that they see my legs. I grabbed two female pharmacists, went into a corner behind the counter, and dropped my pants so they could see the rash in all it's glory, so to speak! Keep in mind that this is not the shocking occurrence that it would be in the US, since it's quite common to see people trying on clothes out in the open in markets or wandering the streets in pajamas. Upon seeing my beet-red legs, they gave out a yelp, and pronounced with absolute certainty "guoming" (allergy), and then without missing a beat asked me if I had eaten fish recently. FISH? AGAIN WITH THE FISH?? In China everything always eventually comes back to the fish! I assured them that I had not eaten any fish recently, but I don't think they believed me.
They gave me three remedies: hydro-cortisone cream, an antihistimine, and 12 tiny jars of liquid calcium-gluconate that I'm supposed to drink. Don't worry, they come with their own tiny little straws. I've used the first two, but I'm very hesitant to drink from what look to me like tiny IV bottles.
I paid my $8.00, thanked them, and left the store just as they were convening what sounded to me like a symposium on Foreigners Who Speak Chinese. I was also anxious to leave before they figured out that I was the stupid foreigner who had come in a couple of years ago with a burned finger!!!