This episode is one big complaint, which is not my usual style (at least, not so overtly). For those of you tuning in for the first time, I had (I hope) an allergic reaction to some cheap Czech laundry detergent and every part of me that is touched by clothing is now a mess. I’ve never had anything like this happen to me before.
I haven’t left the homestead in a while — the day I watched the Chargers lose was the only other time in a week, but today I had no choice if I wanted to eat. I’m at the little café right now, and I’m itchy.
At night, I go to bed, and often manage to fall asleep, only to wake up a short time later with one nerve somewhere on my body screaming bloody murder. In my half-awake state I will scratch it. From then on I’m no longer just half awake. Whatever I scratched burns like someone is holding a match to it. I lie awake, trying not to think about the burning, trying not to think of… the other itch, and the other one, and the one after that. I lie in bed, rigid, resolutely not scratching, chanting my “no scratching” mantra.
Must. Not. Scratch. Must. Not. Scratch.
Then there is the moment of erosion of will. A new itch will arise, angry and demanding, from a new awkward and uncomfortable location. I thought I had run out of such spots several nights ago, but no. “Oh, crap, not there too,” has become my eternal lament.
Eventually the itch becomes too powerful, and I will watch as if from a distance as one of my hands scratches the most urgent of the itches. There is a tiny moment of blessed relief before the burning starts. I try to restore discipline, but there’s no turning back now. I claw at my skin, from neck to toe, trying to draw as little blood as possible, but there is only one priority. Scratch. My mantra changes as well — last night I caught myself muttering:
Scratchy. Scratchy. Good, Good.
Eventually my brain is so flooded with endorphins that I can fall back to sleep. For while it’s painful, it’s easier to sleep through the general discomfort of ones entire epidermis burning than it is to ignore the urgent, actionable discomfort that is the itch. Once the itch is banished and there’s nothing I can do to lessen my mysery, I am released from my scratchy frenzy and sleep can come again — until the next itch starts.
If you really want, you can see my skin here, but it doesn’t really capture the purpleness or the puffiness. My hip was just an easy region to photograph. I offer this image in defense of being called a whiner.