Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Apparently, I'm Stressed and Losing Moisture by the Minute

...which is sort of bewildering to me because I'm not that stressed. Let me put it this way...right before Neal's last deployment, I asked him one night if he would mind banking his sperm...y'know, in case he didn't come back. We haven't had that conversation this time, or anything like it (and, for the record, he did mind). I am busy with the business, brushing up on my French, lending FRG aid to another unit at the Reserves Center, and catching up on the 100 or so bloggers that I love like 5-cheese macaroni and cheese. And I have started watching Bones, from the very beginning (I'm not sure how I missed the bus on that show. Hellllooo Special Agent Seeley Booth. Is that a gun in your pocket, or...). But apparently, my body is stressed and I'm wicking like a marathoner coming down the home stretch...because I have eczema. It has taken 1 visit to urgent care, 2 visits to the dermatologist, 1 call to the primary physician, and several prescriptions to figure this out. Mostly because I have never had eczema before..or any skin anything for that matter. When I think eczema, I think itchy, scaly, oozy old people not Zumba'ing, kickboxing jewelry designers. Ewww!! But alas, it happened. I was breaking it down, Reader's Digest-style (her words, not mine) to sweet Shana yesterday and she suggested I blog about it because...well, she thought it was high hilarity. And I'm all for a little entertainment so here goes...

This all started with an oubreak at T-14 days. Burning, itching, weeping around my nose and we were having professional pictures done in 48 hours. It required an emergency trip to the urgent care center for some sort of treatment. A quick WebMD search lead me to believe that I had staph (probably from the stupid bacteria-laced foam mats at the gym. I have a degree in gym, I know better than to put my sweaty palms on a mat and then put them on my face...I can only blame complete exhaustion from running laps around the track during a Kickboxing class. Running laps is not kickboxing. I should know. I used to teach it. So, make that extreme exhaustion and extreme frustration.) Conversation at the Med-Stop went something like this (by the way, I had to have "Med-Stop" explained to me. It's located in the old K-Mart and looks like a medical supplies warehouse. And our urgent treatment care in KY is called Urgent Treatment Care...you understand the confusion):

"Dr": Good morning, ____ (he addressed me by my first name. If I told you, I'd have to kill you). What is the problem today?
Me: Well, I woke up with this place on my nose this morning..red, itchy, burning, weeping. I think it might be staph.
"Dr": (after looking at my nose for approximately 0.3 seconds) Hmm...yes..OK..here's a prescription for Doxycycline. Should clear that right up. Take it with food and plenty of water. Thank you, have a great day. ("Dr" exits stage left)

I know that I am prone to exaggeration. I am not exaggerating. So, I took the Doxy and it did clear it right up, but I went off of the antibiotic a week early because I was a little paranoid that I was over-medicated...seeing how I diagnosed myself and all. My skin stayed clear long enough for us to take 2 sets of professional photos and Neal to leave on his jet plane.

Fast-forward to last Monday.

Woke up to painful, burning, and red eyebrows...like fresh-from-a-wax red and the nose thing again.

Went to breakfast with my aunt and her husband and hoped to goodness it would get better with grits and an egg sandwich. Went back on Doxy.

Endured red eyebrows and irritated nose until Doxy kicked in on Wednesday. Made appointment to see dermatologist PA again on Friday.

Went to appointment. PA looked at me for approximately 0.4 seconds (she must have graduated with Dr. Med-Stop) and gave me a prescription for an ointment.

The monsoons came to Middle Georgia.

I went to Zumba with DivaVee and 88 other people (I know there were 90 of us in that group fitness room because the fire marshal on base has been concerned about classes being held for 90 people in a room that is meant to hold 60. So, he made us do a head-count after class on Friday. 90).

Came home and started to feel...inflamed. Took a Doxy and went to bed.

Woke up Saturday morning with both eyes and the nose back at it. DivaVee shows up at 7:45 AM to leave for Huntsville. Her daughter, Hoops (not her real name so stop dialing Social Services), plays for Alabama A&M. DivaVee, in all of her awesomeness, repeatedly assures me that it's OK if I don't go.

We go.

We stopped at 3 different pharmacies, trying to find one that was open, stocked with Protonic ointment, and not in scary redneck suburb of suburb of Atlanta.

In the meantime, I was dousing my skin in aloe because that's what you do when you have spent the last 20 years of your life bathing in tanning accelerant and lounging in UV rays, both natural and not. Aloe was helping, but not curing.

Put, probably excessive amount...looking back on it now, ointment around nose and on eyes (doc said it was safe).

An hour later, blisters broke out on my eyelids.

Flipped the eff out and called Mama Virgo while she was being massaged on Marco Island. She didn't answer.

Called my stepmother who reads a lot and is well-versed in everything from home remedies to jewelry design.

She suggested a cold cloth (y'know the beautiful and lush red of the first summer tomato? That was my face) and more aloe. And stop the ointment...apparently, I was allergic.

Laid on the bed and watched HGTV through one eye while my face burned through cold washcloth after cold washcloth. Concerned that it might be staph again, we called Housekeeping for more towels. I probably owe them a little on their water bill this month.

Considered going to the emergency room. Desperately wanted to go to the basketball game.

Got up, got dressed in new A&M sweatshirt, slathered aloe all over face and neck, and went to basketball game.

Took another Doxy and more Benadryl. (Double overtime is the only thing that kept me awake).

Ate dinner, talked to Neal about my face for 30 minutes and forgot to ask him about his day.

Took more Benadryl and slept for 10 hours. Got up and had wonderful Embassy Suites breakfast, sure that grits and pancakes would ease the situation.

Shopped at outlet malls on way home from Huntsville.

Bought sweet little across-the-body Coach purse to help ease the situation.

Called Neal 18 times in an hour, hoping that he would finally answer and approve the purchase of sweet little Coach purse (This is not anti-feminism, this is reality when you don't bring in regular, steady income. I am completely OK with it.)

Neal never answered.

I bought sweet little Coach purse and wished myself a Happy Valentine's Day.

Neal finally called back as we got to the other side of Atlanta. He also wished me Happy Valentine's Day and hoped that Coach and I are very happy together in his absence.

Arrived home, ate Popeye's shrimp po-boy sandwich like I have not been watching carbs and exercising 2 hours everyday

Did an hour of WebMD searching, inserting all of my various symptoms.

Discovered I have eczema.

Discovered that the Protopic ointment the second PA gave me is specifically for eczema (what would have helped is if she had said "I think you have eczema" instead of "Looks like just an atopic dermatitis").

Tried ointment again, in less generous amount.

Woke up with non-waxed look over eyebrows and a nose on the mend.

Got an email from my stepmother, who said I have stress-induced eczema caused by loss of moisture. She asked if I had been crying a lot lately.

No, but I've drinking my weight in coffee and wine and sweating like a guru in a lodge. Without much water intake. That could classify as "loss of moisture", right?

Continued on ointment and watched a borderline obsessive number of Bones episodes while I ate chocolate chips from the bag.

But I'm back to work today. Still just a smidge swollen, but no longer scaring the women and children.

In other news, Neal has been snowed on, iced on, lost heat in his bedroom for 3 days, and forced to drink horrific coffee due to a water main break on post. I still got the better end of the deal, but bless his heart...he has texted, called, and bought me a Coach purse, all in the name of making it better.

Tomorrow will be all about him because it's not all about me. Excepts when my face is afire.

PS...no photos in this post because there is a good chance that you are eating lunch while you read this. So, just remember, I got the love, people...


  1. For the record...I do not think you being in itchy, red, inflamed hell is high hilarity. You just happen to tell a fantastic story...even when your face is falling off.

    Now...as someone who majored in gym and who was a fitness instructor...I would think you would know better than to do all of the things you are doing without increasing your intake of water. Silly girl. I assume you are now drinking water by the gallon. And also, getting a new doctor. Because seriously...the ones you saw are clearly idiots.

  2. Girl, that's exactly what you get for looking at WebMD. I don't feel sorry for you.

    Except that I do -- nothing worse than stuff going on with the ol face. I'd much rather have a rash on my ass.

  3. Is it wrong that I laughed several times while reading this post?
    A woman after my own heart! Who would've thought that grits, eggs, pancakes, po'boys and chocolate chips (straight from the bag) wouldn't help?!
    And after having my wisdom tooth extracted, I totally cheered myself with a new pair of snakeskin, pointy-toed pumps. They didn't take the pain away, but my feet looked hot while I moaned around the house in my jammies.
    Glad you are feeling better, eczema can be a real bitch (as you obviously know).

  4. Ugh! That is awful! Glad you are on the mend! I really think it was the heaping dose of Seeley Booth that cured it! LOL. Bones is one of my FAVORITE shows, and you made the right choice watching it from the beginning. The dynamics between the characters will be more meaningful and make more sense! Enjoy!!!

  5. You're braver than I am-- the last time I had an allergic reaction on my face I refused to leave the house for 3 days until it cleared up. Good for you for getting to that basketball game!

    And good for Neal for being so sweet even from so far away. =)

  6. Okay, my face just started itching. Hope the eczema goes away soon, and that you remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

  7. You poor thing! Drink up that water!!!!

    I wanna see your purse!

    Hang in there!

  8. I'm glad you got to the bottom of this!!! Mike's nephew has this issue and his mom rubs [no lie] Crisco on his itchy patches. She was also told by their derm that it's a great form of lotion. His sister uses this on her face nightly... not even kidding and she has amazing skin. So if you ever feel the need to test it... get a tub of Crisco and make Paula Dean proud!!!

    I'm glad you're doing better.

    P.S. Sister, next time you are in Huntsville you have to let me know. Seriously I'm like an hour from there - we got there to hang out with friends quite often and I would have gladly taken care of you!!!!

  9. I love you and your stories...even if it's about your poor swollen, red face. Glad you are on the mend!!! So frustrating that the dr's were less than helpful.

    P.S. My kids both have horrid eczema and I use prescription strength hydrocortisone on theirs, but the dr told me not to use it on their faces. Not much help here!

  10. Stress is a bitch. A stupid, mean-girling, over-eating causing bitch! That's just my opinion anyway. My mom has the same thing on her palms and it was so bad when my brother went through his multi-year bad phase that Dr's couldn't figure out what to do. I'm so glad you finally got to the right cure! What a good husband to get you a Coach bag for V-Day!

    Bones = awesomeness! The show is actually based off books by Kathy Reichs that are really good if you're looking for some reading.

  11. Oh dear, as my grandma would say. You poor thing! I really hope your face feels better. That has got to suck! But for the record, Coach would make He feel better, too.

    Also, we should compare doctor stories. It sounds like we go to the same ones! Lucky us!


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