Sunday, July 09, 2006

Simply Waiting


This may be the most aesthetically unattractive post I've ever done. But it rings with the truth, so here goes.

So, I tough out the increased itching and swelling from head to toe. Finally, I call "uncle" and go see my neighbor and family practitioner. Bob's probably forty-five or so, the father of four girls, boyish looking. Hie's part of a very large practice in suburban Philadelphia and sees everybody from "womb to tomb" as the saying goes. When he walked in on Thursday and saw my very distorted flesh, he smiled ( gratious enough not to laugh--I was a sight ). "Well, Mary, I'd say you really have classic poison ivy. You're a perfect clinical picture." I smiled but wasn't amused. At that moment, I felt as if my skin was crawling with a thousand centipedes. No, make that two thousand who were crawling over one another to get a good spot of skin.

Bob gave me prednisone, a hefty dose, to curb the progress of the toxin that was running rampant through my vascular system. Prednisone, a steroid, is an immunosupressive. Simply put, it makes all allergic reactions stop--something the endocrine system of the body does naturally--but this was a crisis, and more than the pituitary and adrenals could pump up in the time to stop the enormous amount of toxin I ( apparently ) absorbed through my skin. I began the steroid therapy and as if by magic, the next morning the swelling had decreased and the itching felt like only a legion of fire ants instead of the centipede brigade.

Now for the morality tale. Prednisone ( or any steroid derivative ) is a serious drug class just like the NBA has been trying to tell Jason Giambi, Barry Bonds, McGwire et al. So, there is a risk/benefit ratio that goes along with taking the medication. Let me just give you a few of the side effects that need to be managed if the reduction of inflammation is critical to the patient's recovery. Here goes: skin reaction, headache, sleeplessness, ringing in the ears, GI distress/bleeding, hyperactivity or depression, weight gain.

OK, so you don't get something for nothing. That's fair. But let's remember the story line here. Rounding 60 ( me ) prepares for the New York Marathon. Remember? So, first the PT; now the poison ivy.

Is this a test?

Don't know. But I'm in for the long haul--sleep deprived, ears ringing, puffy, itchy. Whatever. As my very wise trainer, Bill Sayer would say: "Rob dirt in it, get up and go on."

I have told my kids more times than thye ever wanted to hear: "The outcome of patience is patience."
St. Augustine 324 ( or so ) C.E.

That's a little too pat for me right now. But, doggedly, I'm simply waiting. Waiting to see what the metaphor is.

P.S. The song on the radio right now? "Why does it always rain on me?" What a coincidence.

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