Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Pox! A Pox upon you, foul knave! A brief journal (sort of brief) about a mad woman’s itch.

A buzzing sound. A buzz eclipses the silence of my dark square box in incessant drills of high-pitched screams. It’s an annoying and ignorant pest causing my brown eyelids to flick peevishly wide. I lift my hand, feeling the slips of crocheted lace tumble down my raised arm which doesn’t want to seek escape from the warm vapors underneath polyester coverings. My angry palm descends.
The alarm clock shuts down, the snooze button depressed mightily into its casing to never rise again. I’m going to the store today. I’ll buy a new clock while I’m out.
I’m in a hurry although I’m way ahead of schedule. I lucked out at the grocery story. The varicose veins along my legs were longer than the checkout lines. I hit the craft store for a few items. I didn’t know it would secretly hit back with an unnameable evil. Never realized it came upon me, perhaps from when I grabbed the grimy handlebar of the shopping cart. Or maybe it came from the cashier’s wayward sneeze. Or perhaps it occurred from the cute little boy who came in with his mother when I was on my way out. So cute he was as his mother steered him right to the restrooms before commencing her shopping. Such a wise woman - she knows to let the little lad empty out now. Nothing can be more embarrassing than dealing with a fidgeting child crying because he needs to go potty while you are bargain hunting. The last situation anyone wants to deal with is the sticky floor as the PA system blares - CLEAN UP IN AISLE TWO.

SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 2008
One o’clock in the morning and my body is fidgeting like I have to go to the bathroom. My bladder is empty, I make sure of this every night before hitting the hay. But the hay is making my body prickle along my skin. I slapped lotion on after my shower to fight the ashy skin. It’s always more noticeable on dark skin. I washed the bedding out this morning. There’s nothing more satisfying than sliding a clean body onto clean sheets. But my body is still prickling. It’s not exactly an itch. Feels more like something creepy-crawly inching across. From above my head in the bedroom on the second floor, the rain is pounding fiercely on the shingles. Hard rains can cause bugs to suddenly appear from the woodwork in this rickety 75-year-old house. No matter how much of the rubber sealant you slap on the cracks. Paranoia sets in. I jump from the bed, smack on the light, and throw off the bedding.
Nothing there. But it doesn’t prevent me from grabbing a bottle of FeBreeze from the closet. I spray liberally hoping this will scare off anything, realizing I’ll have to wait for it to dry. Since I’m wide awake, I’ll work on my writing. The scratching of the pen across paper almost takes my mind from the scratching I make on itchy skin.

I ignored the few bumps on my belly. It’s nothing to worry about. They’re near the indent of my bellybutton. I don’t have an innie or an outie. I have a fakie bellybutton. The surgical scar is still there and causes an amusing grin on my face whenever a guy asks me about my children. I don’t have children despite having a scar that looks like a C-section. I had an umbilical hernia when I was born. The doctors operated and gave me a fake indent when stitching me close. No innie. No outie. Just a fakie, and it has bumps on it. Ignored bumps.

FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2008
More bumps on my lower arms and on my upper back and on the sides of my waist and on the middle of my chest. Itch. Scratch. Itch. Scratch. Itch. Scratch.
I tried a new recipe for dinner and used ingredients I never ate before. Maybe it is a rash from a food allergy. The excuse sounds good to my ears. A few days and it will be gone.
A few days. Itch. Scratch. A few days.

MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2008
My skin looks like a landmine field of raised bumps. Blisters. And I made them worse by scratching them. Foolish me. Boneheaded me. Itchy, scratchy, me. I’ve tried everything to make it stop. Lotions. Creams. They only offer temporary relief. My home remedies must give way to a doctor’s visit. Oh boy, that’s not something I look forward to.

"How long has this been going on?" the doctor asks.
"Only for a little while," I meagerly respond. (Everybody has given this answer to a doctor once in their life. Don’t act as if you haven’t.)

Doctor: "Why didn’t you come into the office sooner?"
Me: "Because anytime I decide to see a doctor for an illness, the illness is almost gone and I end up paying a bill for nothing."
Doctor: "Hmm, you still should have come in."
Me: "Hmm, would you have waived the bill if I were almost well?"
Doctor: "I see the rash has also given you a fever. Jokes caused by delirium will cost you extra."
Me, serious now: "So what’s up, Doc?"
Doctor: "Chickenpox."
Me: "Huh?"
Doctor: "Hmm, patient is also experiencing hearing problems. You brought your checkbook, right?"
Me: "How can I get chickenpox? I already had the chickenpox when I was a kid?"
Doctor: "Did you come into my office back then?"
Me: "No, my mother said it was the chickenpox. Although, I had a lot fewer bumps back then, and they weren’t as itchy as these ones."
Doctor: "Misdiagnosis will cost extra. Compounded interest by yearly missed treatment. Why don’t you just give me your bank card and PIN number? I’ll mail it back to you after my month-long business trip to the Caribbean."
Me: "Ha. Ha. I’m on television, right? America’s Funniest Doctors. I’m about to kill over from laughter while you pick my pockets clean. Next time we meet it will be on a court show. Malpractice CSI. Guest starring you and me and the sympathetic judge who rules in my favor for ten million dollars."
Doctor, gulping: "Um, your mother mistook an ordinary rash with the chickenpox. Or you had the chickenpox and your body wasn’t fully immune from getting it again. So you now have what is called shingles. It’s the reactivation of the chickenpox virus."
Me: "And the treatment for it is?"
Doctor, shrugging his shoulders: "Actually, you’re almost over the virus. A few more days and it should heal up. Try to avoid scratching. Use lotions and creams to help against the itch. Pay the nurse at the door."
Me, angry: "I should hurt you."
Doctor, smiling: "Hurting your doctor costs extra."

The doctor was right. The itching has almost faded. It’s only along my lower legs now. My chest, stomach, back, and arms still have a few bumps but they aren’t bothering me.
I hate my doctor.

Attention readers: This story is made up. The writer claims no responsibility for diagnosis from her story. She barely claims responsibility for herself.


  1. Oh noooooo! The dreaded Chickenpox!

    As my beloved beatles would say...

    GET BACK!!!!

  2. Haha! I had some fun with this story. I wanted to try different elements of writing it - like the doctor's conversation. I wanted to focus more on the talk itself than with any background scenes going on at the same time.

    BTW, um . . . you wouldn't know a home treatment for itchy skin? I have a friend named Bill who has a little body rash and I, uh, she was just curious. LOL!!!!

  3. LOL! It sounds as if you did. I noticed your technique. It worked well. ^_^

    For itchy skin via bug bites I go for benadryl.

    For just intense itch, bathe in evaporated milk or use aloe vera. It could be that your 'friend' is allergic to the material of clothes he is wearing.

    1. Wool, herringbone wool (expensive wool)
    2. Polyster

    etc are the usual suspects. He might find relief in a usual lotioning routine (which men seem to abstain from), and switching to more natural fabrics (re: silk, cotton etc).


  4. Evaporated milk? I heard of that before but I always thought it was an old wive's tale.

    My friend "Bill" will be all right. She has tried the other techniques (using soaps that have oatmeal works good too) and the itch has lessened.

    As for allergies, 'Bill' sure has a lot of them, but not to clothing. Her worse one is metal, i.e. jewelry and metal banded watches, which she can't wear. This was a reason she believed her chickenpox was an allergy. She lives on a farm with well water, and there have been many heavy rains. She figured there might be a large concentration of minerals that she is gulping down from the tap.

    BTW, in case anyone is wondering, the part about the fake bellybutton is true. I . . . um, Bill, really did have an umbilical hernia when she was born.

    I think it makes for a better tale when you can add true elements in with the fake - just don't call the writing a memoir.

  5. LOL! Glad that you and Bill were able to find some use out of my reply.


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