Telemedicine is emerging as a useful tool to provide expert medical advice to individuals facing health issues while traveling in remote areas. Here one of the DocReady employees recounts a situation he experienced while traveling.
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One sunny morning while on vacation in the sleepy beach town of Sayulita, Mexico, I was enjoying a delicious breakfast with family on a patio overlooking the ocean below. I poured myself a glass of champagne and topped it off with a green juice similar to what you would find at your local juice bar and dubbed it a “Mexican Mimosa.” It was the perfect way to start the day!

Not long after we finished our breakfast, I started to have an unusual feeling in my right eye. What was at first a feeling of mild numbness quickly evolved into the most intense itchiness I have ever felt. I am a long time seasonal allergy sufferer and this itchiness was 10 times worse than what I experience during the worst of allergy seasons. It was soon apparent that my right eye was also swelling, resulting in a look similar to that of a boxer losing his bout after ten intense rounds. It wasn’t pretty.

My travel companions guessed that I was likely bitten by a spider or some other insect which caused such a severe reaction. The decision was made to seek emergent medical attention. Sayulita is a quaint town with dirt roads, only a few markets, bars, restaurants, and one little pharmacy. A great spot to surf and enjoy the beach, however not ideal for a medical emergency.

The conclusion was made that I would have to make the hour drive to the more developed Puerta Vallarta to see a doctor. This option didn’t sit well with me as I didn’t want to take away from everyone else enjoying their day. My eye was still swollen closed however the other symptoms had since past, and I was completely comfortable.

Delaying what appeared to be a necessary, unplanned, and inconvenient trip to Puerta Vallarta, I conducted some quick research and came across a TeleHealth platform. I was able to easily create an account, put in my credit card information, and within minutes was speaking with a board-certified doctor face to face through video chat. The doctor asked me a handful of questions and had me hold the camera in a way that would allow him to best be able to see my eye and the surrounding area. The doctor had me open it as well as zoom in on different areas. It was his professional opinion that if it was a bite the marks would be visible, and there were none.

After further discussion, the doctor determined I was having an allergic reaction, likely due to something I ate or drank that morning. He advised I take an antihistamine and apply ice to my eye to help with the swelling. We ended the call, I took a Benadryl, put some frozen peas on my eye, and went out and laid by the pool. Within an hour (the time it would have taken me to drive to see a doctor) my eye was completely back to normal and I was feeling great, although a little tired from the Benadryl.

Prior to this experience, I was unaware of such an easy solution for medical help. I am glad I found it!

The next day I omitted the green juice from my morning champagne mimosa, assuming the green juice was the cause of my allergic reaction the day prior, and went with a more traditional orange juice mimosa. Unfortunately, I again ended up next to the pool with a bag of peas on my eye and drowsy from the Benedryl.

I’m not sure how it happened, but in my 30’s I somehow developed a severe allergy to grapes which happen to be what most wines and champagnes are made with. Following my Mexico Vacation experience, I have had many other grape related allergic reactions which have been frustrating and inconvenient. But I won’t go into all of these stories now.

Telemedicine allowed me the opportunity to get the care I needed quickly and affordably while on vacation. I am sold on the concept and continue to use telemedicine as a means to access care for myself and my family.

-Tyson Smith, DocReady Director and Patient