It had been three days and the bumps weren’t gone. In fact, they were getting worse.
What had started as a few itchy spots on my forearms had spread, and now my arms, stomach, and legs are covered in large, blistering red welts, oozing fluid and keeping me up all night with the intensity of the itch.
In our last episode, you may remember I had returned to my boat abode to find it overtaken by mold, and had spent hours on hands and knees scrubbing with bleach just in time for the epic rain storm to hit and undo all said progress. Well, after several scrubbings and an intensive washing of all my clothes and blankets, I had thought the problem was finally gone.
Just a few days later I found myself lying awake, trying to force myself not to scratch all my skin off and sleeping hardly at all for the unbearable itching. After hours of frantic research on such helpful sites as Web, MD, I was convinced I was being eaten alive by scabies. Scabies are these horrible mites that burrow into your skin and lay eggs, then hatch under your skin and feed off your flesh. They are also terribly contagious. I instantly made myself a doctors appointment and secluded myself in my infested boat.
The emotional upset at suddenly finding myself confined to a 26 foot box without human contact was severe. I spent my hours watching episodes of House, MD (which not only temporarily turned me into a hypochondriac but also deeply disturbed my political sensibilities), playing banjo, and crying.
As it turns out (I admitted only two doctors and two dermatologists diagnoses later), I am extremely sensitive to the noxious, toxic chemicals that pass for cleaning agents in this culture, and what I had thought was a scabies attack was actually a severe case of contact dermatitis, resulting from the intensive boat cleaning.
The emotional side-effects, unfortunately, persist. Now, though no longer confined to my boat in fear of spreading disease, I am taking steroids each morning, which give me a jolt of energy, shortly followed by benadryl every few hours, which makes me drowsy as hell. The itching is under control for the most part now, but the insomnia is still debilitating and the mood swings associated with the drugs have rendered me anti-social.
Wonderful. Just in time for the holidays.