When he developed a striking suntan after a Caribbean holiday, KEN WALKER was rather pleased with himself. But when his nails and skin started working loose and he began sprouting strange facial hair, he realised something was terribly wrong.
Although a doctor himself, the 45-year-old was shocked to be told his wine drinking was having a nightmarish effect on his body...
With hindsight, it didn't start on holiday, but that's when it started to raise its ugly head. It was the final day of a fortnight spent on the Caribbean island of Tobago, and my wife and I were waiting for a taxi to the airport.
Along the side of my forefinger I noticed five or six tense blisters, each one about a quarter of an inch across. I put it down to having touched some coral when snorkelling the day before. At least the rest of me looked healthy.
As someone with a Scottish heritage (not quite the red hair and freckles, but with a definite luminosity) I wasn't used to looking like Dale Winton just after a re-spray - my suntan was unexpectedly spectacular. Even my wife was impressed.
About a week after getting home, I noticed something very weird happening with my big toenails. There seemed to be fluid underneath the nails and they were working loose. I figured my toenails could have been damaged by wearing flippers while snorkelling and diving on holiday.
When the same thing started happening to a few of my fingernails, it was less easy to explain. The final straw came when I bought a new pair of shoes and tried to put them on.
When I hooked my finger into the shoe and pulled, the skin on the back of the finger simply got scraped away from the gentle rub on my heel, leaving a bleeding, raw stripe.