Afghanistan’s effects on the body

Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan --  It may be hard to see because of my skin tone, but look closely and you’ll see I am being eaten alive by something. I know I have a flea infestation in my B-hut, but wonder what else might be making my body react like this.
Bagram Air Field,
Afghanistan —
It may be hard to see because of my skin tone, but look closely and you’ll see I am being eaten alive by something. I know I have a flea infestation in my B-hut, but wonder what else might be making my body react like this.

Moving from one climate to another can make your body react in different ways.

Here in the ‘stan, my body has been dealing with several changes based on the multiple variables that exist here.

Most notable is the amount of dirt/dust I inhale. It’s in the air here, and it’s unescapable. I can taste it when I walk outside, and I can feel the grit of the grains in my nose. So, every night, my nose is filled with dirt … when I wipe my nose, I can see the collected dust.

Sometimes I just take a swig of water to rinse the grit out of my mouth. When the wind blows, it makes the dirt collect in my hair (which is a magnet for dirt,) so, when I run my hand over my head, I feel it … when I take a shower, the dirt gives a nice scalp exfoliation when I wash my hair! We are actually issued neck gaiters (scarfs) to wrap around our mouth and nose to help filter some of the dirt. (Guess I’d better start USING mine.)

Aside from reacting to the dirt, my body is also reacting to the hard ground … most of our time is spent walking on hard gravel or rough, dry, impenetrable land (like mountain terrain.) My feet hurt when standing too long, and my ankles are getting a workout from all the balancing and walking on rocks.

Although I’ve been here a while, I haven’t had a chance to try the local cuisine yet. So, I’m not sure how my body will react to it. (Hopefully, it doesn’t involve the use of Kaopectate.)

But, if you look at the pictures above, you’ll see that my body is either being used as dinner for bedbugs or other mites, or, I’ve had an allergic reaction of some kind. The hard thing about allergies is that you have to pinpoint the instigator in order to solve the problem. But, what do you do when almost everything about you has changed? How do I find exactly what’s “bugging” me? (pun intended.)

Is an insect eating me? If so, which one? (I found fleas in the carpet, and see ants crawling in the rocks.) Maybe my skin is having an allergic reaction to the water we use here (it’s not potable, but has been treated to be used for hygiene purposes. I’m sleeping on a used mattress (that I’m sure lots of servicemembers have used before me,) maybe I’m allergic to that. Maybe it’s the soap they’re using at the laundry when they wash my clothes. Maybe it’s the food … Who knows?

The point here is that so much has changed since I’ve arrived in the ‘stan, it could be anything. To limit some variables, I removed the carpet from my room today and thew away the old mattress. Hopefully, that helps.

Man, do I miss my bed back home.

darricklee Written by: