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Pariah

November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving was a resounding success. We all had fun, even me, and there was a marked lack of family squabbling. We were all bushed yesterday, though. I slept past 8, which I never, ever do. We stayed close to home and spent the evening sacked out on the family room floor watching “The Polar Express” on TV.

“I’m glad Thanksgiving’s over,” announced AJ afterwards.

“Why? Don’t you like Thanksgiving?”

“Yes, but Christmas is my favorite holiday.”

AJ is ready. He’s already requesting Christmas carols and stories at bedtime. But he’s also starting, for the first time, to question the logic of the whole Santa thing. While we were watching Santa fly off to deliver toys in his sleigh toward the end of the movie, AJ asked,

“How does he do that anyway.” At least that question was easy.

“I really don’t know, AJ.”

He’d asked the same thing the day before when we were reading Roger Hargreaves’ Mr. Snow at bedtime.

But he’s not looking for denial. He’s looking for an explanation. I hope if I keep my mouth shut, he’ll figure one out for himself. But we don’t have many years of blind faith left. And it makes me sad.

Today has been a quiet day in the Spy household. Mr. Spy and AJ went downtown to meet AJ’s uncle and go to a basketball game at Mr. Spy’s alma mater. I got to go to the urgent care center to find out what weird skin condition I’ve developed now. I definitely got the raw end of that deal.

Since an early age, I’ve had a talent for manifesting obscure symptoms in my skin. Just thinking about skin makes me itchy. It’s one of the things that’s stood between me and a tattoo (that and my mother’s abject horror). And naturally, whenever something like this happens to me, it is either a major holiday or my doctor is on vacation. Not that he can ever help me anyway. It’s the same thing every time:

1. This is an unusual case
2. There’s nothing we can do for you
3. Take antihistimines in case it helps. But it probably won’t.
4. Don’t wear any sweaters. (Keep in mind that I live in northern Illinois and that this inevitably happens in the dead of winter)

And I always go home swearing I will never bother with the doctor’s visits again.

But at some point, I always get so itchy that I can’t stand it any more and I try to consult a medical professional. And since my doctor is never at the office, I have to go to a clinic. Fortunately, there is a brand spanking new urgent care center about five minutes from my house, about two blocks from my favorite coffee shop. Coffee is an excellent self-bribe.

The new center is big and squeaky clean. There were four or five people in the enormous waiting room when I arrived, including a young dad rocking his baby in a car seat. They were all sitting about 3 inches from the front desk. The shipshape woman behind the desk smiled at me and said, “What are you here for?” I hesitated before I announced, “I have a rash.” I could feel all the other waiting room inhabitants step back several feet. A rash! Ew. The red spots on my back might as well have been forming a scarlet A.

The advantage of suffering from something vaguely disturbing like a rash, though, is that you get instant service. There was to be no endless lounging in the waiting room for me. The nurse showed up to escort me back before I’d even signed the paperwork. Ah, a private room. I was sure the people in the waiting room were not jealous though. They were shaking their heads and thinking, “She looked like such a nice, clean woman.”

As it turned out, I could have skipped the visit. I was not contagious (I never am) and, as usual, there was nothing they can do for me. And also as usual, I’ve got all of the rarest symptoms (“Wow, we don’t usually see this in people as old as you.” Doctors are not big on diplomacy. They are big on the royal “we.”). Even my ailments like to be special. The good news was that I don’t have the chronic incurable thing I thought I might but something else much less serious. The bad news was that it can last up to three months. Great. I’m going to have to rethink my yoga wardrobe. I’m going to be wearing a lot of turtlenecks this winter. And I’ll certainly have to forgo all those backless dresses I was dying to wear. I hope that doesn’t put a damper on my social schedule, what with all the elementary school holiday parties on my schedule this month.

But the rest of the day was better. I had the house to myself. I got AJ’s advent calendars mostly set up. I got the house vacuumed and my office cleaned. I did some trial versions of the crafts I was considering doing with AJ for Christmas presents this year. I got some music copied for my violin student. And I got some work done on the diss.

Now if only I weren’t so itchy.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Lass permalink
    November 29, 2008 10:22 pm

    When I lived in a cold-weather clime (yours), I suffered from rashes and hives and all kinds of contact dermatitis for the winter months. Since moving to a warmer climate, that has all cleared up, although I did get a bad case of what my sister and I call “chicken skin” (red, itchy dots on the legs and arms) during my recent trek. Yay. Here’s to an itch-free YOU, soon.

  2. November 29, 2008 10:28 pm

    I’ve always had those kinds of things too. I thought that’s what this was at first, but it turns out to be a virus. Interestingly, though, one of the recommended treatments was a tanning booth. Apparently UV rays help. So maybe that’s part of the warm climate cure as well.

  3. The Lass permalink
    November 30, 2008 8:53 am

    Come to Austin! AJ can run around in the fields and you and I can watch while we soak up the UV rays. I hear their effectiveness is enhanced by wine consumption.

  4. freshhell permalink
    November 30, 2008 9:35 am

    I’ve used the time zone differences to explain how Santa makes it all the way around the world in one night. He flies from east to west so it’s always midnight wherever he lands.

    Sorry about the rash. I have “sensitive” skin and can’t stand the feeling of wool or anything itchy (even acrylic – because I’m a princess) near my skin, even over another cotton shirt. And I’m allergic to mohair and those boa feathers. I also have to rip every tag out of every piece of clothing.

  5. November 30, 2008 12:25 pm

    I have more skin issues than I can easily get into here, but my favorite winter trick is long sleeved silk shirts under everything. Try Wintersilks.com

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