Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Wrong Cure

If I said that for me, 2009 has been a year of medical misadventures, it would border on comedic understatement.

I emerged from the ankle cast in the last days of March, itching to ditch the crutches and Frankenstein boot that would be my transition to normalcy. For the next four weeks, I would wean myself from crutches to cane and from boot to footwear. To date, though almost there, I'm still experiencing ankle issues to one degree or another.

As April turned into May, I noticed a rash redeveloping on my right foot. It has all the symptoms of a garden-variety foot fungus and being the self-reliant types, we treated it as such. So far so good; nearly everyone has in some point in their lives gone 'round the pole with a case of foot-shrooms. Ya' keep it dry, hit it with your choice of OTC antifungals and it gets better. No dice here; not only did the shrooms not go away, they jumped to the left foot and seemed to be blooming elsewhere. Before we knew it, I was walking around with perhaps 10% of my skin surface effected by itching, cracking, weeping lesions. I was ready for the sackcloth and the leper colony. Realizing that we were essentially exercising the definition of insanity, I raised the white flag and hooked up with a Dermatologist at Inova-Fairfax.

I was gobsmacked by the Dermatologist's diagnosis; the lesions were neither fungal nor bacterial. I was in the grip of Systemic Allergic Dermatitis or in daily parlance, a really wicked rash. The Doctor's treatment was simple; hydration and antihistamines for the itch. The itching stopped within hours and the lesions followed shortly after.

So what's the deal?

A legitimate cure illegitimately applied will provide unexpected results. Continually drying out skin that already inflamed and dry will only exacerbate the condition. The damage will extend into subdural areas and could ultimately result in dire results.

Hold that thought... More to come.

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