Sunday, July 14, 2024

Lip Service

damaged lips
Ever since we returned from visiting our daughter in Los Angeles last month I have been having a problem with irritation on my lower lip. Because I wore a wide-brimmed hat and use Z Blok on my lips, I was surprised to have any issues. To be fair, my lips are always sensitive due to prior sun damage. With my history of 19 skin cancers to date, my dermatologist had suggested a couple visits ago that I put a chemotherapy cream on my lips due to the sun damage. I've used the cream once on my forehead with dreadful side effects, so I did not jump on that suggestion. I don't know how you would eat or drink during that treatment. 

Regardless, my lips have gotten worse over the past two weeks, to the point where I was indeed having problems eating and drinking. My usual Carmex didn't help, nor did Vaseline or Aquaphor for lips. Concerned that I might have an underlying infection going on, I called my dermatologist first. She is on vacation, so they suggested I go to my primary care doctor. She also is on vacation, but one of the other physicians could see me last Tuesday.

After asking me a lot of questions and looking at my lip, he feels that this is just a cold sore. While I admit that I do get those on occasion, they are always on my upper lip and I have never had them spread across the entire lip. It also did not start out with the usual tingling sensation I get when a cold sore is coming on. He prescribed Valacyclovir, which is a drug used for cold sores and also shingles, chicken pox, etc. You only get four pills and take two at a time, twelve hours apart. He also said to use Abreva on my lip.

My pharmacy did not even get them in until Wednesday afternoon, so I took the first dose at 5:30 p.m. Sadly I was awake early enough the next morning to take the next two at 5:30 a.m. Unfortunately, this medicine works best if you take it just as you experience the first symptoms, and I was already two weeks into my ordeal.

The good news is that I did not suffer any side effects from the drug. That's good to know for the future when I get another cold sore. But while the lip definitely looks better, it is still not 100%. I have not been going outside during the day at all as I don't want to experience a setback. The doctor said if it didn't get better, and for sure if it got worse, to let them know as it might turn out to be a different kind of infection. I'll probably see how things go over the next few days before I make any decision on the next steps.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Smithsonian National Zoo

We drove up to Springfield to be with our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter for the long holiday weekend. Virginia always has clever signage along the interstate, and this trip was no different. Way to get across the point to not drink and drive, Virginia! 

Virginia road signs
National Zoo
Because it was so hot and our granddaughter is still pretty young we mostly stayed close to the house, going outside early in the day to let her play with her splash pool and water table. But on July 5th we headed out early to go to the National Zoo. My husband and I had not been there before, and it was the little gal's first time as well. Until we arrived I had no idea that the zoo is part of the Smithsonian, which explains the free admission. You just have to pay $30 to park.

Even though the temperature was pretty high, the humidity was low which made our time there bearable (pardon the pun). It also helped that they had many mist sprayers available, and some of the exhibits are inside as well.

We have been to a lot of zoos, and this one was pretty nice even though the pandas were sent back to China. They are supposed to get a new pair sometime later this year. Apparently the two countries have worked out their differences, at least as far as pandas go. 

National Zoo

orangutan
My favorite exhibit, though that seems like too small of a word to use, was the orangutans. They have two separate enclosures, but to get from one to the other they climb overhead on cables called the Orangutan Transportation System, aka the O-Line. The visitor walking path is directly below part of the cabling systems, so you definitely don't want to be standing there when one goes (literally) overhead!

Overall, we had a great time in Springfield with our family. And of course it is always a pleasure to spend quality time with our only grandchild.