Sunday, July 11, 2010

And when I go, don’t you follow

Lake by the ocean

My poison oak itchiness is becoming unbearable. I’m using every pharmaceutical product I can get my hands on: benadryl and caladryl and Ivy-dry and Tecnu and a steroid cream from a previous prescription and hydrocortisone and showers as hot as I can make them switching to as cold as I can make them. Tomorrow morning my goal is to wake up before seven in the morning so I can call and make an appointment with the local county clinic as early as possible. I'm trying not to anticipate the questions, like: what, exactly, were you doing when you spread poison all over your belly and inner thighs and sensitive areas?

The thing is: I was doing nothing. According to the internet, I must have a Class Four Hyperallergy, because that’s my only logical explanation. Unless I peed on the stuff, it must have brushed my clothes and shoes and socks, and spread that way all over everything. I can’t imagine what I would look like if I had actually done anything illicit in a patch of the stuff. I’d be dead now, almost certainly.

I’m back in Chattanooga now, at least, after suffering through the plane flight with massive amounts of Tylenol PM, wearing a long-sleeved shirt and pants in the 95-degree weather to shield my helpless limbs from the eyes of onlookers. It’s almost impossible to focus on anything when I’m fending off scratching myself bloody. One part of my brain is always focused on not scratching. Actually, about three parts of my brain.

At least being back here where I’m a formal resident means that I have access to things like the County Department of Health, even if it does put me in the province of the illegal immigrant, which is basically where I rank in the hierarchy of health insurance. I’m praying to God that they’ll give me prednisone, the only thing I know that will give me relief. Yet another brush with the darker side of health care in this country, or more specifically, my choices that always seem to put me into the nether-regions of our system. I’m too distracted to develop any kind of argument, but it does seem wrong to me that this is how we condemn those attempting to live as artists.

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