Tag Archives: doctor

Living that Hive Life

20 Apr

It has been a rough go in Rebekah-land recenly, friends. Why? Well, the title of this blog is a dead giveaway. That’s right, I keep breaking out in hives and oh my god it is terrible. It all started on Monday, March 21st in a small place in Iceland called Geysir. Yes, Gey-sir. (Chuckle, chuckle, snort.) My constant travel companion Carrie and I had just finished walking around this super prehistoric-seeming landscape, oohing and aahing with other tourists as the earth shot a buttload of water like a hundred feet into the air every 6-8 minutes. It was a sight to behold and a smell to experience. Iceland, in case you were wondering, has a nasty case of the sulphurs.  Anyway, so there we were in Gey-Sir, (chuckle, chuckle, snort) walking through the gift store when all of a sudden my knees started itching something fierce. They were the itchiest knees I have ever had. And then my hands were itching. And I looked at my hands and I had these little red bumps all around my knuckles. I wrote a whole thing about it here that you should read if you really want all the background information. But to make a long story short, basically I broke out in hives over my entire body and Carrie and I had to race across the Icelandic tundra to this random pharmacy that was about to close and the lady there asked me if I had tried to wash the hives off. I mean, I had washed my hands a few times but obviously the hives had not gone anywhere because they were attached to my skin. Hives aren’t something akin to dirt. You can’t just wash them off. And if I’m being completely honest it did give me a little bit of pause that the only lady available to me in my moment of need was someone who thought I could wash the hives off my hands with sulphur water but whatever, I was desperate. Anyway I took some Icelandic antihistamine and they cleared up. Hooray!

But the relief was short lived. Dun dun DUUUUUUN.

Over the past 4 weeks I have broken out in hives at least a dozen times. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. I can’t seem to identify any common factors. (Except for the fact that I am certain I am dying a slow and itchy death.) I haven’t changed my diet, detergent or lotion. I am beginning to think that perhaps breaking out in hives, as opposed to always getting shat on by animals in trees, is my real superhero power. Wouldn’t that be a gas? But of course as I was formulating that hypothesis I realized that I had put my cell phone down in a fresh pile of bird shit so, you know. That theory is still up for debate. It’s almost as if my other superhero power, my actual proven power, was feeling the pressure of being ousted from its position in my life and was like

Nah, I gotchu. Just put your cell phone down right…..there. That’s right, girl. See? We’re good.

I am not certain when I determined that my superhero power was actually an independent being with its own voice, personality and motives but I am just going to go with it.

So here is the thing: breaking out in hives really sucks. Like really, really. First off, they are super uncomfortable. They like morph my hands into a giant mosquito bite. Second, they look really gross. Third, they make me feel like I am this freak of a person because itchy red bumps just sprout up all over my hands and knees at random. Who wants to be friends with the girl with random itchy red bumps? No one, that’s who. And four, they are like a total mind fuck! It’s like, I know I am poisoning my body with something because my body is all,


And then I’m all like

Yeah, but how am I supposed to know what it is if you don’t use your words, body? Use. Your. Words.

But my body has no words. It only has horribly itchy red bumps.

So my favorite hive experience was this past Saturday when I was out for lunch with my friends Katie and Shannon. Katie, it just so happens, is a nurse. So when I met up with her I did a very similar thing as when I encountered the Icelandic pharmacist: I put my hands in front of her face and looked meaningfully between her and them. Katie looked a little worried and proclaimed

Oh! Hives!

because she knows shit. I told her I had taken some Claritin so I was pretty sure it was going to be better any minute. She looked doubtful and concerned. Over the next 45 minutes or so, my hands got progressively itchier. So itchy, in fact, that I kept sticking them in my armpits in hopes that somehow doing an imitation of Mary Katherine Gallagher would fix everything. It did not. This was the first time this approach has ever failed me. As we were sitting down to brunch it only got worse. I looked at my hands. What had started as small, itchy bumps on my knuckles had spread to the palms of my hands and the insides of my wrists. I have learned in my month of living the hive life that when the wrists go, certain doom follows. I panicked. I jumped off my seat and said, as dramatically as I could,

Order me a coffee! I need topical cream!

and rushed to the local pharmacy where the pharmacist did not ask me whether I had washed my hands but instead said that a trip to an allergist and perhaps some Benadryl was in order. This, of course, was in response to me practically breaking out in tears in front of her because I was so itchy and also freaking about randomly having horrible allergic reactions to an unknown source when all I was trying to do was have a Bloody Mary with my girlfriends on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I couldn’t buy Benadryl because I had to bartend that night and it makes me super sleepy so instead I got this crazy topical cream which I now carry with me at all times like a weirdo. A hive producing weirdo.

So, anyway, I haven’t gotten any hives since Monday night so I am feeling pretty positive about things in general. And I have an appointment with a doctor today who helped me with my stomach problems in college by doing some shit with magnets. I feel like life is looking up, friends. I feel like although hives might be winning right now, I am going to make a late-in-the-game comeback. I am going to show them who is boss! I am going to say

Fuck you hives! You are not my superhero power!

and hopefully get shat on by a bird. Just to prove the point.

What Did I Ever do to You, Ears?

13 Jul

My ears and I have never had the best of relationships.  This isn’t a superficial thing.  I have no problem, visually, with the way my ears look.  They are neither particularly big nor particularly small.  They neither stick out too much nor hug my head too closely.  I do sometimes think that they are a little bit high because wearing a hat can be somewhat problematic at times.  I either have to tuck my ears into the hat, thereby looking foolish, or let them stick out, thereby looking foolish.  My solution?  I don’t often wear hats and I’m okay with that.  The poor relationship that I have with my ears, and particularly my left one, is predicated on the fact that for my entire life they have caused me quite a bit of pain.

For the first 5 or so years of my life I had near-constant ear infections, or at least that’s how I remember it.  I think it was more a seasonal thing in reality but I have always been one for exaggerating so let’s go with it.  I think it had something to do with the development of my ear canals and so my ears didn’t drain themselves properly, or something.  Regardless of the reason they occurred there was no denying the fact that I was a walking ear infection.  It was so constant that my pediatrician, most awesome lady ever, considered draining my ears out to stop all the build-up of whatever it was that was building-up.  She told my mom that if the following ear-infection season (read: all the fucking seasons) I got another infection, then she would drain them but she was reluctant to do so because she said there was a risk of me losing my hearing.  My ears, upon hearing this news of having tubes painfully stuck into them, decided to stop infecting themselves.  For then…dun dun DUUUUUN!

Fast-forward to the winter of 2004, west coast of India.

There I was with some of my friends from my study abroad program on the beach at night.  We decided to go swimming despite the relatively large waves crashing down on the shore.  I was doing that thing that I love doing where I turn my back until a big wave comes and then I jump and ride the wave all the way onto the beach, only sometimes bloodying my knees.  For some reason right when a monster wave was approaching I looked over my left shoulder and CRASH!  The wave hit me right in the side of the head, absolutely pummeling my left ear.  My ear became clogged with water and remained that way for the following 2 months.  The annoying aspect of that was completely offset by the fact that I got to say to people, in my best Jewish Grandma voice, “Eh? Talk into my good ear, sweetie, I got some schmutz in the left.”

Ever since that incident over 9 years ago, my ears, and particularly my left one, have consistently acted up.  It’s sort of like, when my doctor threatened to stick tubes in them they ran scared but they were really just biding their time.  Maybe they even forgot.  But then one day my mom told me my old pediatrician had retired and seeing as how they get the information before the rest of my body a spark of an idea was born and they were all “we’ll show you, thinking you can control us.  You got nothing on us, bitch.”  So now every time I swim and every time I wash my hair they suck water into themselves and hold onto it for dear life.  For days everyone else’s voices are muffled while mine is in stereo.  Then comes the headaches on the sides of my forehead just up and out from my eye sockets.  The occasional searing pain and the embarrassing realization that I am probably the only adult in the entire world who still gets ear infections.  But that’s not the worst of it.  The worst thing ever is flying.

I have never loved flying, per se.  I enjoy the idea of going somewhere new, of boarding a plane somewhere I know and ending up somewhere completely different.  But the flying itself, boring.  I can’t sleep on planes because I can’t sleep sitting up.  Also, my butt falls asleep and it is always so damn cold on those planes and I, without fail, forget to bring a blanket.  I always end up sitting dangerously close to the bathroom, children, or both.  Or someone who smells.  But the worst of it is the excruciating pain that shoots through my head.  It literally feels like my ear drums are about to explode or my head is just going to split in half.  I sit there, doubled over with my head on my knees, stupid ass earplugs sticking out of my ears that are supposed to help relieve the pain but really just make me look like an asshole, chewing like 12 pieces of gum in order to try to salivate enough so that I can continuously swallow thereby popping my ears (which, by the way, hurts like a motherfucker) and crying.  Crying.  Almost every god damn time.  I routinely bring scarves or just take off my sweatshirt so when the moment comes when tears are pouring down my face I can at least cover up.  Sometimes I take Sudafed but then I often lose it between journeys and have to buy another box, again landing myself on the national “is this person a meth head” registry.  And it only helps like half of the time.  And you know what else?  The flight attendants never stop to see if I am okay.  I am doubled over in pain and only one time did someone stop and she told me to chew gum.  Bitch!  I have like a whole pack in my mouth right now!  The only people that ever seem mildly concerned are my seat neighbors and mostly they just look at me like I’m nuts and/or click sympathetically. This last flight my neighbor goes to his wife,

“Oh her ears must be clogged.  Quite a production.”

It’s like, I can hear you!  It sounds like you’re about 10 miles away but I can ever so slightly hear you and if my eardrums explode I hope you get eardrum gore all over your stupid golf shirt.

So yea, my ears like totally suck.  Especially the left one.  I went swimming on Tuesday afternoon and you know what? Still clogged!  Still can’t hear shit except my own stupid self!  So, yea, that’s what’s up with my ears and why if you see me any time in the next few weeks I might ask you to repeat yourself 12 times.  I think I am going to make a doctors appointment but don’t tell my ears, especially the left one, because who knows what torture they’ll have in store for me next.