Tuesday, 4 November 2008

There is a mosquito bite on my heel

Either that, or I am having an allergic reaction to the hypo-allergenic plaster I had on my heel during the day yesterday. The latter is more likely (it's a bit of a funny shape for a mosquito bite), but the former makes a better title, and must not be ruled out.

So, I suppose I could tell you the story of why I have such sensitive heels. What a story that is, tinged with youthful impatience, and the dreams only teenagers can dare to dream...

When I was about 15, Doc Martens were cool. They were so cool, in fact, that my dream at the time was to be a cathedral organist with a nice house and boyfriend, and green DMs with yellow laces. Well, I got the green DMs with yellow laces.

Alas, DMs, even green ones, need a bit of wearing in. This may take as long as wearing out takes, from what I have heard. In the meantime, they shred heels.

And so it came to pass that my heels were under DM attack every day. Rather than being sensible and letting my heels recover, I commenced a love affair with fabric plasters (fabric plasters, how I miss thee), wearing plasters on my heels at all times for a period of several months. The end of this period was brought about by the first evidence my body threw at me regarding my lack of fitness for this life and the chemicals therein: my heels started to itch somewhat impressively, with raised white patches corresponding to where the sticky bits of the plasters had been. They itched every night for a period of several weeks (they probably itched during the day, too, but what I remember are the nights as I was trying to get to sleep. Yes - am remembering uncomfortable lessons in labs at school now. Ooh, that was itchy), and I could not make it stop. If only the wonders of hydrocortisone had been pointed out to me... Or perhaps I should have resorted to that old trick of letting Mother know that there was something medically wrong with me. For some reason I cannot fathom, I do not want people to know if I am actually ill. I feel embarrassed to say so. Mother, had she known, would probably eventually have taken me to the doctor, who would no doubt have introduced me to hydrocortisone. Mmm, steroids.

After my heels had stopped itching every night, my skin came up with a different trick: plaster marks reappearing in the bath. I got a cut on my leg (my manual dexterity with a razor was not up to much), and used a plaster on that; it took longer for the reaction to happen, but for weeks afterwards it was impressive to see the plaster mark reappear in raised white format at bath time. With itch effects. Eventually that went away, too, and I stopped using non-hypo-allergenic plasters.

So yes, I am sensitive to plasters. Hy heels seem to be the most sensitive bit of me, but I can usually get away with a hypoallergenic plaster for the day. Three weekends ago I did use a standard plaster for the evening on the same heel. Perhaps that is what did it.

Now the special tablet is kicking in, and my heel feels a little better. My body feels as though it is on the verge of declaring full-scale itch warfare any day now, though. I think that my doctor's scepticism about the efficacy of evening primrose oil against itchiness* may be wearing off, which is a pity. Hey - the special tablet should have made my shoulders stop itching. Why aren't you working properly, you naughty tablet? Come on - hop to it!

*I went to see him about my general lack of perfection a few weeks ago. Among other things we discussed the gluten intolerance, the failure to inhale effectively and my amazing hairy itchy legs, which were merely being amazingly hairy at the time. He expressed scepticism that the evening primrose oil was stopping my legs from itching, even though as soon as I started taking it the first time my legs improved, and shortly after I stopped they got worse again, only to improve when I started again. He asked me to desist, and to come back when I could show him a rash or something. I got the impression that his scepticism might have kept the itching away, but these past couple of days my arms, back and shoulders have been itching. It's a lovely bumpy rash, and my skin goes nice and bright pink. I have so much fun with my skin.


Lisa Moon said...

I love Doc Martens, too. :) In fact, I just had to sell a nearly new pair as the tops came to just about the exact spot where I was injured and now begins my neurological disorder... bugger. :(

They DO indeed require some break in time and as someone who's aquired a sensitivity to adhesive after several weeks of taping my injured foot in the process of therapy to restrengthen it, I do have a suggestion. Not sure what you might have in your part of the world, but I have seen the equivalent of those plasters but they are a very soft little pad that sticks to the inside of your SHOE instead of on your skin. All the benefits of the padding but no adhesive to make you itchy! Do try looking for some in a shoe shop or a pharmacy; we have them in the aisles where you can purchase insoles for your shoes and foot powder and so on.

After a couple of weeks of wearing the tape for a few days, then letting the skin air for a few days... I went to remove the tape and underneath my poor skin was all broken down and ulcerated (read: open sores and general not-goodness). Boo! So no more sticky things stuck to me!

As for the evening primrose, yes, it would be an excellent thing for you skin itchies. Doctors are quite silly and spend no time studying vitamins, minerals, nutrition or even pain! But they can sure write you a prescription for something and send you off...

I'm interested in your skin issues; I'm a former licensed esthetician (you might not call them the same thing in England?) with a special interest and focus on natural treatments for skin and a long-time deep interest for natural health and nutrition. My impression is that your skin troubles are intimately linked to your food sensitivities/allergies as these often show up on the skin.

Abi said...

Ooh - what colour were yours? I have since discovered a whole world of more comfortable footwear, but they are a happy teenage memory.

We do have that stuff in England, too. I am always wary of leaving a sticky patch behind when the padding inevitably moves, which I would not like. Also, the shoe would still rub against my foot, but would be more gentle about it. My preferred method is not to go out for the evening in a brand new pair of shoes (how I got the last injury) and wearing really padded socks.

Your reaction to things stuck to you sounds extreme! It makes my itchy redness (with extra whiteness!) look tame.

As always, I wonder if the effect of evening primrose oil is psycho-somatic with me. I would not be prepared to rule that out, but the evidence suggests that it is helpful. This doctor hasn't written me a prescription for anything yet, but I am hoping for a magic one to make me breathe properly on Tuesday. Thinking back, it may be a long time since I last inhaled really effectively...

I do wonder if the skin (and the breathing, for that matter) are linked to not avoiding gluten carefully enough. Or to using the wrong washing powder. Or to stress. Or to not eating properly. Or to just not being very well-designed. Or (horror of horrors) to my soap. I do hope it's not that! And it had better not be milk, or anything - it's hard enough finding food as it is. I'm getting anxious at the thought of not being able to eat a pot of rice pudding or yoghurt on Monday evenings (when I have to feed myself away from home). Ha. I am so brave ;-)

Rant over. Deep breaths. Ooh - some lung capacity. Yay!