Joined: Sep. 2006
Poor thing! I itched all the way through this, too. (But I do have OCD, in addition to sensitive skin.)
Yesterday's (July 1) New York Times has a piece on a woman, the science journalist's sister, who suffered from chronic eczema that became much worse:
|Over the weekend, itchy spots broke out on her arms, back and belly. The tops of her feet had no rashes, but at bedtime, she recalled, they grew “insanely itchy.” Sleep was impossible. |
On Monday, she saw a dermatologist, who said a bacterial infection — Staphylococcus aureus, a lab test revealed — had accelerated a full-body eczema outbreak. It was bizarre enough that three other doctors crowded into the room to ogle her rash under a magnifying lamp.
Her dermatologist gave her a shot of potent, anti-inflammatory cortisone and prescribed a daily corticosteroid ointment. Among other advice, he warned against too much showering or bathing because that dries the skin, irritating it; and the more so with hot water. Lukewarm water was best.
My sister cut back to showering every other day and generously moisturized with petroleum jelly. A prescription antihistamine aided her sleep, but left her zombielike at work.
The skin symptoms retreated, but only temporarily. My sister’s sensitive hide was quick to take umbrage — at dry air, warm temperatures, the roughness of denim, even stressful thoughts. She fell into a recurring cycle of flare-ups, and got a second cortisone shot. The doctor told her she might have to cope with the problem for the rest of her life.
Her story does have a happy ending, including weak bleach baths (yes, that's right! and her own astute conclusion:
|It remains a mystery why eczema erupted so fiercely into my sister’s life. But the lesson we took from it is tried and true: making the effort to understand a medical condition and the details of how best to treat it, really pays off. So does persistence.|
“You just have to try everything, and you can’t expect a doctor to know precisely what’s going to happen to you,” my sister said. A physician’s training is based on caring for an average patient, “and you may not be an average person.”
Certainly, my sister is not.
Friggin' A! I'd love to purge the English language of phrases such as "ordinary" or "average" people.
Just an aside - regarding this part of the NYorker article:
|In a 1710 “Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge,” the Irish philosopher George Berkeley objected to this view. We do not know the world of objects, he argued; we know only our mental ideas of objects. “Light and colours, heat and cold, extension and figures—in a word, the things we see and feel—what are they but so many sensations, notions, ideas?” Indeed, he concluded, the objects of the world are likely just inventions of the mind, put in there by God. To which Samuel Johnson famously responded by kicking a large stone and declaring, “I refute it thus!” |
Cynthia Ozick, one of my favorite writers, penned a hilarious short story regarding this famous anecdote about Johnson in relation to her profit-obsessed boss. It's called, "How I Lost My Summer Job." I recommend it (and everything else that she writes) to scratch your funnybone.
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?
AtBC Poet Laureate
"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive
"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr