Friday, October 29, 2010

My Face is Bigger than Your Face

This past week I've been tweeting a lot about my face. The itching that started Monday, I mistakenly thought was related to my allergies and developing sinus infection. The two red spots that showed up Tuesday on either side of my right eye I thought were developing pimples. Tuesday night my forehead started to feel slightly bumpy. I called my friend who's an epidemiologist and explained to her what was going on, she told me to take Benadryl and that if it didn't help to see a doctor. Wednesday morning I had a nice ring around my entire right eye and spots developing on the left. I went to the doctor.

Except, I am still on my parent's insurance and have not seen a doctor in Richmond in over a year when I went to the VCU student clinic. But since I'm not a student there I can't go there anymore and my primary physician is located in Northern Virginia. So I had to call Tricare and was finally able to see someone at Ft. Lee. But because Ft. Lee is still more than thirty minutes away, I have to find a civilian doctor that takes Tricare to be my primary physician.

So I see the doctor, Dr. Huggins, a very short, plump woman who seems to think that continuously poking and prodding my face is somehow going to make it better. After some time (I think she took her time poking and prodding to make it seem like she was actually doing something) she writes me a prescription for an antihistamine. Then she leads me to a nurse to get my flu shot - I should mention that I don't typically get a flu shot, just because I unfortunately do not make my health a priority and I only got inoculated out of convenience, and it was free. I think I'm getting over my trypanophobia - I didn't cry or hyperventilate. PROGRESS!

I then make my way to the pharmacy and on the way I'm passing all these people in militay uniforms. I don't care so much about the uniforms, but in contrast to them I look sorely out of place. Aside from my face's mutation, my clothing says "Hi, I'm a poor student, am probably a lot more liberal than you, and yes I've been wearing this particular hoodie since the fifth grade." When I walk up to the pharmacy's receptionist, instead of greeting me with a hello or similar salutation she says, "What did you do to your face?"

I made the mistake of trying a fancy face wash my mom had samples of when I was home last weekend. I don't typically use much on my face. I have really sensitive skin and like to keep it simple, but I had been having all these small breakouts lately so I thought I'd try something stronger. Boy, was that the worst decision ever. I can only compare what is on my face to that one time in the seventh grade when I got poison ivy really bad and used it as an excuse to skip gym for three weeks. Except, it's on my face. And my right eye lid is swollen to the point that there isn't really a lash line and it makes reading small print difficult because everything looks blurry. And instead of missing gym I am missing what I have made out to be the best weekend of this year. I asked to take tomorrow off about a month ago for the Stewart/Colbert Sanity/Fear rally/gathering, and have been looking forward the Halloween festivities since last year. Last Halloween was pretty epic, if not messy.

(This is me last year as a candy striper very happily wearing a friend's "wild thing" head.)

I've digressed. Anyway, so, Wednesday I go to class that night and after I finish my quiz my professor comes up to me with the in-class assignments and tells me that I look contagious and if I need to go home. I proceed to call my boss and apologize for needing the next day off. Thursday is spent in bed hiding from the world until my sister stops by with neem and coconut oils that I had asked her to pick up for me at the suggestion of another friend. The oils are supposed to help with the swelling or something. "It really does look horrible," thanks, April. I don't know why she was so surprised. Sure, my typical descriptions of things I'm excited about may be a bit hyperbolic, but not about things I'm not excited about. Guys, it really is that bad. I have friends who keep claiming otherwise, asking for pictures, but I refuse to make any documented evidence of this situation.

This morning it wasn't any better. Please excuse me for insulting the only real socialize healthcare system in the US as I do like having it, but they never give you the good stuff the first time around. They would rather give you amoxicillin when you need augmentin - I know the difference and when which is necessary. (Example: I took one augmentin that I had lying around for the pesky sinus infection I had developing - POOF! Nipped that in the bud!) Hydroxyzine was just not doing the trick, so I made my way to the emergency room downtown to see a doctor that wasn't a contractor for the government. And while I was waiting in my room some man from the Richmond Health Department asked me if I wanted to get tested for HIV, for free. This week I have not been one to turn down free health related things, so I obliged and got free condoms to boot! "The pink one is for the guy who conveniently forgets to bring his own." What a sweetheart, right? And during such a shit week what could be better news that to have someone tell you that you're HIV negative? Really, in this life, I don't think there is anything better than being HIV negative.

I have had my sunglasses on this whole time. The doctor comes in and asks me to remove them and states, "This is a really impressive case." Impressive is not something anyone in this sort of situation wants to hear. It's the same thing doctors used to say as they called their colleagues in to look at my giant thyroid (it's something like 10 cm wide, which is apparently huge). I have also brought all of the stuff I have been taking, applying and an ingredients list I had the facial cleanser's company send me. He writes me a prescription for prednisone and I'm done. I have contact dermatitis, but a really bad case of it so I'm getting the big guns.

I've taken three today and so far it hasn't really made a difference. But it needs to start working by Sunday because my military ID expires on Tuesday (because my birthday is Wednesday) and if I have to see a specialist it would have to be on Monday. This all presents a problem because I had originally planned to renew my ID on Monday, but I won't be doing that because of the face issue. My mother suggested that I go ahead and do it and then get a replacement later, but that would require me to go out in public without sunglasses and make documented evidence - all things I am not going to do. My mother also didn't believe how awful I look until my sister told her. My parents are going to be in town tomorrow to visit my sister and her baby and want to swing by and see me to, this cannot happen. My mother is one of those people that always has a camera with her and in 20 years she would love to get out these pictures for family gatherings, I'm sure. They do not have my address, and I am not giving it to them.

1 comment:

russophile said...

i had contact dermatitus not too long ago and it was the WORST THING EVER and i couldn't leave the house and my face looked insane. i'm so sorry!!!!!