Sunday, March 21, 2010


This week has been one of my most stressful weeks at work yet.  We're short a person, I'm drowning in appeals, and have been asked to do some new, exciting, but stressful things.  By Thursday afternoon, I was riding a nervous adrenaline wave down and should have gingerly walked ashore from freak-out mode; however, my board apparently crashed on hidden rocks.
Instead of an afternoon sigh, I was left with curious red spots on my stomach and redness on my arm.
Eh? And ZOMG, they itch.

I was scheduled to volunteer at a zoo program that Thursday evening so I changed into my uber-sexy tan pants and red zoo fleece before leaving work.  The redness on my arm had gathered, grown, swelled, and expanded to include most of my forearm and had weird red edges.

My thought process at this discovery:
Are you freakin' kidding me???!!!!
Well, hell.
I continued on to the zoo.  As I was waiting for the zoo instructor, I noticed the hives were moving onto my other arm ... and my right knee.  After unsuccessfully trying to call for a replacement, I decided I'd be worse sitting at home with only the red evil itchiness on which to dwell so I continued on with the program.

Distraction helped. A little.

I arrived home to find my arms clear of hives *YAY!!*
Oh ... they've moved to my back.
And ass. *insert look of horror*
My ass was officially two large red-rimmed (shut-up) hives.

This was officially a new experience for me.  I've had a bad, body-covering rash before (thank you little sister for failing to completely rinse your freshly cleaned bathtub), but never one that seemed alive, moving from bit to bit like an alien just searching for the right spot. 

[Yeah, I've probably watched too many sci-fi flicks.]

Enter Google's Health site to the ... really not so much a rescue as an annoying "you'll likely never now for sure the cause" mantra so commonly heard in doctors' offices.  Hives result from your body releasing histamine into your blood stream.  I'm told this could be from an allergic reaction (hmmm, I've done nothing new, eaten nothing new, tried no new soap or detergent, etc.) or, hey, the golden rule - "Hives can also result from emotional stress."  The go-to cause for doctors when they can't find another reason. That's greeeeeat.

Well, what the heck was I supposed to do???
  • Avoid hot baths or showers. Stay smelly, check.
  • Avoid irritating the area with tight-fitting clothing. Sleep naked, check.
  • Take antihistamines. Diphenhydramine is considered the most effective. Whadahoodahuh? It's late at night, man, and I itch and my ass is deformed ... I'm not leaving now, dammit!
Thursday night was largely a sleepless night.  I seemed to drift off for a while only to come abruptly back to reality and find the need to remove my watch since the hives had traveled to my hands/wrists and feet/ankles.  Each trip to the bathroom revealed old battlefields cleared as the enemy found fresh lands to conquer.  Hives were riding my body like a well-paid wh .... well, you get the idea.
I woke the next morning to find most of my body clear other than my shoulder and chest ... and ... is that red on my left cheek .... FACIAL CHEEK????!!!! Don't panic, don't panic, don't panic ....
I called my doctor's office and spoke to a phone nurse.  Presumably a phone nurse.  I explained my symptoms and concern.  She put me on hold.  When she returned from asking the Wizard of Oz her suggestions, she told me to take Benadryl and if they continue on through 24 hours of Benadryl bombardment, then I would need to come into the office.  Again, this was Friday.
Are you guys open on the weekends?
Um .... noooo, you'd need to go into a clinic.
I'm afraid of these going onto my face ... do hives ever go into eyes or anything like that?
Um .... I don't know.
[I wanted to hurt this woman at this point.]

I got ready for work, purchased my "Wal-dryl" (seriously, when it's the same ingredients, I am not opposed to Walgreen's equivalent for $1 less), gulped the adult dose down in the car, and crossed my fingers.  By the end of the day, I cautiously proclaimed myself "hive-free" and -dryl mellow.


I'll likely never know for sure the cause.  Yeah, yeah ... stress.  Well, then I should just keep a supply of -dryl in the home at all times.

My lingering unease --> I could swear my skin seems slightly darker now where the hives traveled.
Lesson learned: Histamine is one wicked bitch that you don't want to cross.  Unfortunately, she often doesn't tell you what you did that pissed her off thereby keeping you constantly wondering when and if she'll strike again. 

Ah, see ... I can kinda respect that.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I’ll Take The Night Terrors, Thank You.

I got to bed last night by 11 p.m., a virtual miracle these days. Boy, was that a mistake.

I just woke up from one of the most terrifying dreams I’ve had in years. The kind after which you stay awake realizing new and horrifying ways in which the dream was worse than you even initially thought.


From what I can remember, I was at a basketball game in a gym much like the one I remember from high school. There was a band playing and I laughed when I saw that it was my old high school band, complete with red and white uniforms. I was with someone. This person at one point was a guy I liked in school but at another point was someone unknown to me outside the dream. I was happy to be where I was.

When I arrived, I placed my purse on the bleachers but inevitably moved farther and farther away from it. Hey, if this were really my old school, I wasn’t worried. You could go in, place your coats or other personal items anywhere and rest fairly assured that it would be in the same place when you returned. Ah … Amish country.

The dream skipped forward, as dreams are apt to do, and it was suddenly time for me to leave with ….hmmm … now my companion had morphed into a husband … but WOW. My husband from what I can remember was somehow involved in law enforcement … or a doctor … or both. This guy was the guy bad guys feared. He was trustworthy, intelligent, a good badass if you will. He was investigating something horrible, but not tonight. He was investigating murders of some kind, but not right now.

It was time to leave. I looked around for my purse and … huh … where the hell did it go? I look up, up, up into the corner of the gym, at the top of the bleachers, and see that someone has moved it to a ledge. There was a square kind of office up in the corner, all lit up and busy with strangers doing business of some kind, and my purse (in the dream it was an old brown one I used to have – thank GOD that thing is at Goodwill now) was perched above the office somehow. I stupidly thought perhaps it was a lost and found location and trudge up, irritated that anyone had touched it.

I enter the brightly lit office – I have to go through it apparently to reach the spot where my purse is sitting – and see six people behind a glass partition, all busy talking to patrons who have come in to … what …. I have no idea. I recognize one of the workers as a high school classmate who, oh, let’s just say she does not at all care for me (oh greeeeeat) and dread having to explain why I need to go through the office. I do. I point to my purse which is now out a back door to the same office, up and around a corner (the office has no ceiling so we can see this). 

[Sorry.  Dreams have a way of morphing into big blobs of hard-to-describe, "What Dreams May Come" nonsense; bear with me.]

I hurry out the back door, turn and go up several steps to what I can only describe as a cement walkway above the basketball court but somehow outside so people can get fresh air as they peer down to watch the game. There are people milling about and I see my purse has moved again (but of course in the dream it’s as if this was the first place I saw it when I had looked up from the floor so long ago). My purse is sitting on the top of a column but over a fence placed to keep spectators safe from falling. What. The. Hell.

What jackass … ? Who would … ? I’m perplexed to say the least.

I move around two young men and their giggling female counterparts (seriously, get a life), excuse myself and explain I have to climb up to get my purse. The boys grimace at the interruption but move and I make my way up, grab my purse, set it back on solid ground … and realize that something is very very wrong.

There are thorns, branches, bits of debris sticking out from my purse’s back pocket. I start pulling these things out, cursing, “What the hell is wrong with people!” I’m semi-talking to the young group still standing there. “Someone took my purse and, look, stuck all this crap …. I hate people!” I hear what seems to be maybe a grunt of acknowledgment and continue to investigate the violation of my purse.

I open the flap on top. I can’t describe well what I see … odds and ends of mutilated things. Blood. Disturbing images. And I immediately realize that the person or people my husband is trying to capture did this. I look around frantically and he is there, my husband; I sigh in relief and explain what is happening and we decide we must go immediately. Danger Will Robinson. Evil is lurking.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have ourselves an old-fashioned nightmare.

My husband is with an older male friend, an ally of some sort, the type of old hard good guy that you think has seen many many things, lived to tell about them, but remains a strong silent type. Good man perhaps past his prime. My husband and his friend maneuver me back to the office door and the dream morphs again. Now the three of us are making our way down a dark spiral staircase that apparently started around the area of the office. My husband is in front, then there's me hurrying to keep up, and finally the strong old friend bringing up the rear. [Hey, even I know the old guy’s toast at this point.]

Down, down, down … I’m flashing back to retrieving the purse and realized with a sudden jolt that I saw them. The young men who were by my purse. The young men who grunted with approval my hatred of people. They did this.

Sudden rapid footsteps coming down the stairs from behind us. Sudden holy-crap-I’m-gonna-die-and-be-cut-up-into-bits-and-stuffed-in-someone’s-purse terror. Super Husband now grabs me and makes a beeline straight down, almost like those guys you see on a ladder who put their feet on the outside and just slide. We zip down fast.

Old guy doesn’t.

We don’t hear the rapid steps anymore. They’ve found some reason … to stop.


And … I wake up. At 5:38 a.m.

I think of Stephen King and how screwed up that guy must be to have worse nightmares in his head all the time and put them all to paper. I wonder why on earth I went to bed so early (for me). And I realize, thinking about the dream, that those two lunatics would have my wallet, my address, my badge, my phone, know all about me.

Well, hell, I’m awake now. Happy freakin’ Tuesday.