I have to scratch. But perhaps I'm not all that smart. My degree isn't one that is widely respected. You say you have a BFA in Theatre Arts Performance, and folks aren't thinking you're roughly on par with a brain surgeon. This said, when I actually visit a doctor, I like to think that they're smarter than I am.
This is not always the case.
Dateline: Last week, this year
I have been itching for a over a month. And when I say itching, I mean all over, head to toe, driving me crazy, ITCHING. I'd been itching like someone exploded a can of itching powder in my closet and bureau drawers.
(In my family, this isn't out of the realm of possibility, but this time my husband and sons were innocent. Of that, anyhow.)
Nolan wasn't innocent of forcing me to see a medical professional, though. After a month of me itching and complaining and scratching incessantly, worse even than our allergenic yellow lab, he clenched his teeth and growled at me to, "PLEASE GO TO THE DOCTOR."
He might have possibly asked nicely several hundred times before that, but sometimes the growl really gives me the impetus to take action.
So I did. I went to the dermatologist. I go yearly, what with being a very fair-skinned, auburn-haired lass of Irish German descent who did idiotic things when she was younger, like lay in the sun and try to get a tan, or put baby oil all over her body and try to get a tan, or go without sunscreen trying to get a tan. (I never did get tan. At best I might have made myself off-white. Ecru, perhaps.) Every so often, I have to have a bit of skin cancer removed because of my suncreen-checkered past, so I have a clinical dermatologist in rotation. Don't mistake her for a cosmetic dermatologist; she is absolutely uninterested in making you wrinkle-free or pretty. And she has no filter. The last time I was in, she looked at my complexion, frowned and proclaimed that she didn't see anything. And if she were the patient, she'd be thrilled.
Well, I was the patient, and I wasn't.
In any case, she finally did what I wanted her to do on that score. For the itching, I had another hurdle to jump. But first I had to see Brunhilda, her nurse.
I don't know if Brunhilda is really this particular nurse's name. Probably not. But she's really stocky, has one rather large eyebrow that cuts a large swath across her forehead, and possesses a rather ironically unfortunate complexion for her chosen profession, so the name fits.
When doing her preliminary questions, she looked me up and down, and asked:
Brunhilda. Do you have lice?
Brunhilda. Been around anyone who has?
Brunhilda. Do you have scabies?
Carrie. Are you kidding?
Carrie. Oh. Right. No, I don't.
Brunhilda. Been around anyone who has?
Carrie. God, I hope not.
Then she instructed me to remove all my clothes, even my socks (because we all know that that's where the creepy crawlies live - between my freshly-pedicured toes).
So I get naked, put on the humiliating gown that never, ever covers enough, and sit in the freezing exam room for AN HOUR. Waiting. And shivering. And itching.
Let us not forget the itching.
The doctor finally came in, blithely apologized for the wait, asked me a few questions and took a look, opening the back of the gown first.
She said, "Oh, yes, You're dermatographic. See? Look at your buttocks."
I glanced back at her wondering if this ostensibly brilliant medical doctor would realize that unless there's a mirror in the room (there was not) or you're some sort of contortionist (I am not) YOU CANNOT LOOK AT YOUR OWN ASS. IT IS AN IMPOSSIBILITY.
But no, she continued with her diagnosis as if I were standing beside her, perusing my own rear end like a book. She included a whole lot of medical jargon and terminology that I didn't catch, but the crux of it was that I was scratching, and that was making the itching worse.
It's my fault, right? Fine. You have an itch, tell me what YOU do.
I then asked about the lice thing that Brunhilda mentioned, and the doctor said, "Goodness, no. Why would you think that?"
I shrugged and stammered and mumbled something about her mannish nurse and the whole thing was dismissed. But damned if Brunhilda didn't look a little smug when I walked out, as if she was pleased that she'd made me sit naked in a gown thinking I had icky things crawling on me for an hour.
This was a long story to say that several prescription and OTC drugs later, I'm nearly itch-free, though albeit more sluggish, generally. Those antihistamines really pack a punch.
Just like I'm going to give Brunhilda the next time I see her.