Itching. No Laughing Matter

I found this article on itching on the NPR website. Here are a couple of selected passages.

Gawande describes some itching horror stories. Like the woman who was “so tormented by an itch that would not go away that she would scratch during her sleep,” he says. One night, she scratched through her skull and into her brain.

And there are people who are so tormented by constant itching … who can scratch incessantly and feel that they’re itchy for years on end to the point that they can’t work, they can’t function, they can’t concentrate.”

Like most things, comedy is tragedy happening to someone else. I might have snickered at the idea of someone scratching through their skull. That is until 2 years 8 months and 13 days ago. That is the day i developed hives. They have not gone away yet.

Ever see the look in the eyes of a woman who had a very hard childbirth when you ask about it. Even years later the trauma will instantly appear on her face. Those memories have been burned into her brain.

That’s how I am about itching. Most days the twice daily dose of antihistamines takes care of it. Every now and again I have an itchy day. But those first few weeks were torture. In fact as the debates on torture at Guantanamo were  happening I was joking that one sure way to find out any information was to induce hives and don’t treat it. Within a day or two people would confess to anything. Water-boarding is for sissies next to untreated itching.

It took six weeks to find a medicine that worked and did not put me to sleep. For two weeks I tried working with a “healer” and took Chinese herbs while rubbing stuff on my skin that made me smell like bad Chinese food. I was waking up in the middle of the night wanting to rip my skin off. The worst side effect was that I could not stand to eat Chinese for weeks.

Even the best allergist in the area is not positive of what caused the hives and does not know when they might stop. In the meantime I travel nowhere without several days doses of my medicine. I am hoping that no one discovers some side effects from long-term use of antihistimines. Personally I blame them for my huge appetite and my inability to lose the 12 extra pounds that I have been carrying. If you are going to have to suffer with hives, you should at least get a good excuse out of them.

About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

4 Responses to Itching. No Laughing Matter

  1. Pax Romano says:

    Oh man, that scratching through to the brain bit made my blood run cold.

    I am glad you found relief, my dad has had hives so I know that it can make a person nuts.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an itch on my back I can not reach.

  2. Frank says:

    I had no idea…strange how things happen to us like that…you are remarkably calm, so that itching hasn’t gotten you down…and I hope, as they arrived as a surprise, that they go away one day without explanation and never return.

    I got some crazy thing on my wrist this spring from doing some gardening…lasted a month…and I know what you mean about scratching incessantly. Ugh.

  3. LK says:

    I can empathize—-I have the same thing. It’ll be 7 years and counting in a couple weeks. Your words ring true: “Even the best allergist in the area is not positive of what caused the hives and does not know when they might stop. In the meantime I travel nowhere without several days doses of my medicine.”

    I believe we have the same allergist. Hope our hives some day go away as suddenly as they came!

  4. 48facets says:

    Pax, the article does address the psycological aspects of itching. It is not limited to physical causes.

    Frank, Glad that the wrist “cancer” went away. When I left Philly I was worried it might be contagious. I do not know how calm I am but fortunately most days the meds work.

    Loryn, I cannot believe that it has been 7 years. That is a record I do not want to break.

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