Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Grup Dysease

For the past 48 hours, the skin over much of my body has looked something like Kirk's arms here, except not blue:I hobbled to the doctor (the soles of my feet had swollen up!) who said it was most likely an allergic reaction to the penicillin I'd taken for my tooth.
I've never been allergic to anything. I've hardly ever been sick.
But in the past 14 months I've had a run of decidedly unglamorous medical conditions. The sort of things that one doctor actually proclaimed to be "dime-a-dozen" (gallbladder stones, vertigo, hot flashes, dry socket, ...and now hives).

Kirk and Co. get these blue skin sores in the episode "Miri". The disease only attacks children who are turning into grown-ups ("grups"), and it kills them. Luckily none of my conditions is serious, as in "deadly"--though some of them are unpleasant enough to feel plenty serious.

But they do seem to be associated with aging. My body's defense/healing/regulating systems are starting to go all wobbly, I guess.
I've never paid much attention to my health--never had to. Seems I might should start now, eh? Not just physical/medical stuff, like diet and exercise, but mental/spiritual stuff that might come in handy when one is lying in bed at 3 a.m. with a plate-sized itch at the base of the spine.

I especially want to learn to handle the scary bits. You know, not like when you have a cold, even a really bad one--it's not scary, usually, because you know what the deal is. But most of these body-glitches have frightened me because I had no idea what they were. And I figured I would have to do the almost-most dreaded thing:
make a phone call to a stranger.
This is one of my neuroses: a dread that extends to calling doctors' offices, banks and credit card companies, and distant relatives with hearing loss.

So, as they say in 12 Steps, this seems to be AFLE = "Another Fucking Learning Experience."
If you've got any tips, I'd be glad to hear them.

And, not in the spirit of 12 Steps, when I'm finally off all these meds, I'm going to treat myself to a James Bond: a sort of champagne martini:

James Bond

1 sugar cube

Put 2-3 drops of bitters on the sugar cube. Put the sugar cube in the bottom of a glass. Fill glass about 2/3 full with champagne. Add 1/2 shot of vodka.
Drink and enjoy.

(What would Kirk drink?)

Btw, I'm much better now, though the back of my ears are itching like crazy as I write this. The doc put me on prednisone, which started to clear up the hives in 8 hours---sort of like Dr. McCoy's serum saves the grups.(This is one of those rare times Spock shows concern for the meanie McCoy. I think we'd all be kinder to the people who bug us if they were unconscious.)

Btw2, Mayo Clinic reports that a penicillin allergy is the most common drug allergy. Which makes sense to me---that stuff is in your body boldly killing all life forms it meets, sort of like V'ger in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Mayo also reports that "the simplest way to prevent penicillin allergy is to avoid penicillin and related antibiotics."
Imagine that.


Rudyinparis said...

This made me think of Patti Smith's commencement speech at Pratt... a sample from the NY Times: "My greatest urge is to speak to you of dental care. My generation had a rough go dentally. Our dentists were the Army dentists who came back from World War II and believed that the dental office was a battleground. You have a better chance at dental health. And I say this because you want at night to be pacing the floor because your fuse is burning inside of you, because you want to do your work, because you want to finish that canvas, because you want to help your fellow man. You don’t want to be pacing because you need a damn root canal. So, floss. Use salt and baking soda. Take care of your damn teeth." So true! Feel better!

Fresca said...

RUDY: Oh, too, too PERFECT!!!
Patti Smith rocks! (well, yeah)
This reminds me of what I always say when people say things were better in the past:
Maybe some things, but not dental care!

Lill said...

My sympathies. Being in unsound body is lousy. Hives are really weird. I got them once and had no clue from what. Eli used to get them from time to time when he was a kid -- also no clue from what. Frank had them once as a twenty-something from frozen pizza cheese and they did not itch or show but made one side of his face go numb; or so they said at the emergency room. Calamine lotion is recommended.

Feel better!

Margaret said...

it sucks to be you.

I've heard that phrase used as a sort of a jeer, but I mean it kindly; it really does suck to have hives! Maybe boil-covered Job's friends would've done better to make their statements short and say: "Job. It sucks to be you."
So again I say: sux2bu!

May you be hiveless and glowing as a newborn babe soon!
*virtual hive-five*

Clowncar said...

hang in there. I'm taking prednisone too! for my back.

my Dad calls this "being in the tall weeds", that realization that you body is more vulnerable than it used to be, more likely to betray you. it carries a twin meaning: that you are of an age where your friends are slowing beginning to die off.

kirk drinks makers mark. neat.

iloveyoumauralynch said...

Clowncar, my father's corollary to that one is 'they're starting to hoe in our row'! LOL
But clearly right now for Fresca we'll leave it at her favorite phrase, 'at mid-life I'm finding....[fill in the blank]...that hives suck!

Fresca said...

LiLL: Yeah, hives ARE weird.
The doctor even said he couldn't be sure it was the penicillin, just that that was most likely.
I'm sure not willing to risk it again!

MARGET: Is that from Avenue Q's "It Sucks to Be Me" I wonder? A song that is a competitive pity-fest.
Of course I know I'm lucky to have such minor health issues, but when they're happening to you, they don't feel so minor, and one does start feeling a bit like Job...
Better now, thank heavens.

CLOWN: It truly is comforting to know I'm not alone.
Silly, but true.

Maker's Mark--I shall add that to my post-meds celebratory drinks menu.

"Being in the tall weeds" or "They're starting to hoe in our row"---these are both great descriptive phrases.
It is unsettling, to say the least, to see members of my age group, even people I don't personally know, fall to the scythe of time...

Dania said...

I am so sorry, Fresca. I have had hives (allergist assumed it was from environmental allergies), severe reactions to antibiotics, and a great deal of dental work due to my parents benign neglect, so I know what you're going through.

After I had a severe reaction to antibiotics six year ago (that I ended up not even needing), I decided to find a homeopath, where at least I wouldn't potentially die if given the wrong medication. She's helped me a lot.

I have had a number of friends recently comment of having reactions to foods, that they hadn't had problems with before, that now gave them rashes. One friend suspects the non-organic item she ate. You never know what's safe anymore.

momo said...

oh, no! I haven't had a chance to keep up online, so I missed this news until now.

Allergies to medications are so dismaying. R. became allergic to amoxycillin due to having had 14 ear infections in her first year. I'm allergic to sulfa drugs and iodides. Hives stink. I"m glad you're getting better.

Fresca said...

DANIA: I'm thinking I need to learn a lot more about medicine and health--I've been so lucky not to need much, and now I'm a little nervous about how casually heavy-duty meds are prescribed.

Like, I'm wondering if prednisone, which is a scary drug, was really necessary for my allergic reaction, which was unpleasant but not dangerous.

I don't know... need to look more into all this. Thanks for your input and sympathy!

MOMO: Welcome home! Yes, hives suck!