Dry Skin

I went to the small, local hospital today to consult a doctor. I have been extremely sick since I last posted. I feel slightly better today but my face has swelled up like a balloon that’s been filled with water.
What are your symptoms, asked the one doctor on duty, an older man who’d had a busy afternoon. I described them. He examined me.
You have dermatitis, he said.
I looked at him with my mouth open. I don’t deny that I have dry, flaky skin, I replied, but I wasn’t aware that dermatitis causes paralysis of the neck muscles, fever, unconsciousness, hearing loss and oedema that makes your head swell up like a football. If anything, I would have thought all of that secondarily resulted in dry skin, rather than the other way around.
You have dermatitis, he repeated.
But I’m starting to think I have meningitis, I pressed.
If it happens again, call an ambulance, he replied, and wrote a prescription for calamine lotion.
I’m now sitting in the waiting area at the larger hospital. When I walked in, the receptionist gaped at the state of my face. What’s wrong with you, she enquired.
Suspected meningitis, I said. Can I get tested for meningitis please. 
Have you seen a doctor before coming here, she asked. Yes, I sighed. And what was his diagnosis, she asked. Dry skin, I reluctantly replied.
I could be here for a while.

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