Life, photos but not the universe

Important advance warning

This post may cause itching





Some time ago, Barney complained of an itch somewhere on his back and in between two moles which he could neither see nor reach.  I looked at it and though I was pretty sure it was only an insect bite it did seem to be getting bigger and a bit scaly looking so I hesitated to say “This is not skin cancer” and suggested we take it to the doctor.  Especially when he began to spend time rubbing his back on doors, walls and trees.  It made him look a bit odd.

Doctor 1 agreed it probably wasn’t cancer but more likely a fungal infection and prescribed an anti fungal cream.  Two extremely itchy weeks later we returned and by this time both spots had become patches and looked a bit cross.  Doctor 1 prescribed an antibiotic after conferring with Dr 2.  Two or three weeks later, we returned because it was beginning to look quite angry and got a second opinion from Doctor 3, and some cortisone cream.  Inflammation?  Isn’t that what cortisone cream deals with?  After a bit of outright fury the first two patches began to fade a bit.

Somewhere between these visits, a new, large and apparently unrelated rash appeared on large quantities of Barney.  (Mostly bits he couldn’t see easily).  Lots of little pink spots.  Itchy.  A bit cross-looking.

At some point – now becoming a little confused in both our memories – we (I was coming with him as, of the two of us,  only I could see the original spots)  were handed over to Doctor 3 who is the practice’s resident skin expert.  She had suggested the anti cortisone and also an all over body moisturiser.  I thought the moisturiser might be exacerbating the new rash which rapidly evolved into big, extremely angry patches with an eczema like appearance.  (Or maybe fungal).  She thought not and prescribed more antibiotic.  Come back in two weeks.

After this, confusion reigns and the only constant is that Barney itches.  We are now treating the new rash as probably not but maybe scabies*  So just in case it is, he’s now been covered with anti scabies cream.  During our last consultation with Doctor 3, I mentioned that the itching itself was the main problem.  Oh yes, she said sympathetically,  itching is one of the most dificult and distressing symptoms to suffer.  I wondered if he could take paracetamol  to soothe the ITCHING!!  Oh yes she said cheerfully and also at my suggestion,  prescribed at least two antihistamines TO SOOTHE THE ITCHING!!!!  Would it be a good idea if he didn’t have hot showers?  I asked.  Oh definitely – tepid showers will be much better she said encouragingly.

I began to wonder if these nice people had considered at all that the main problem from the beginning was the ITCHING!!  And that the second problem was the resultant SCRATCHING!!!!

Just a thought.  Well of course they didn’t have to sleep with a furiously itching, scratching, cursing person.

Anyway, one morning, I woke up with a small itch on my arm.  Sleepily I peered at it – thinking, HaHa well I expect that means we’ll both end up in quarantine – and discovered, not an incipient rash but a tick !!!

Uttering several small screams, I shot out of bed and rushed down to the internet where I discovered some concise and clear instructions on how to remove ticks and what to watch out for after removal.  I successfully removed it and following instructions, put it in a small jar in case it was needed for identification later (a mustard jar in fact – I always knew one of them would come in handy one day;  thank heavens I didn’t exchange them for Christopher’s creme fraiche pots).  I’m delighted to report that  I have subsequently seen no signs of Lyme’s disease.  Recounting this incident to a friend a few days later, I was delighted when she said she too had found one recently and had done exactly the same as me in every detail.  I believe she also hasn’t shown any sign of Lyme’s disease.

Sorry, no photos but….

(….Oh you didn’t want photos?  Because if you did, I was going to say they’re really easy to find on Google – marvellously clear and detailed.  Thousands of them.  In full technicolour.

….Really not?

….Oh well.  Up to you.)

I notice that Barney has written

“black mustard sad”  on the kitchen notice board.  A slip of the pen?  Or just evidence that the disturbance to his nerve-endings has finally led to derangement of a more general kind.  Anyway, underneath that I have written

“cocktail sticks

sherry vinegar”

Which tends to suggest a slightly sadistic outlook.

Perish the thought.   Let us think of roses and raindrops.

*Because it seems that the best way to deal with skin problems is to make a guess at the underlying cause and treat it.  It’s a guess because the main symptom of skin problems is pretty much the same for most of them.  If the treatment doesn’t work, that probable cause is eliminated and then you try something else.  And so on.  Hence the assorted attacks on the original itch.  And unless I’m mistaken, the one that cured it was the one that simply reduced the inflammation and therefore the ITCH!!!!!  So that he didn’t scratch so much and gave it a chance to cure itself.**

*Which reminds me, I’d like some scabious in my next patch of cleared garden.  Not small pink spots but big blue-petaled cushions  on long silvery stems with hairy leaves.

**The obvious reason to discount scabies is that although we have sat and slept in all the same places, I do not have any itchy rashes thank you very much (and don’t intend to either).


June 18, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. It actually sounds pretty dangerous where you live. I have many chickpea jars should you run out.

    Comment by rozanne | June 18, 2011 | Reply

  2. This is a strange ordeal your husband had to go through, (Well, you went through it with him, I guess). Hope all is better and the itch is gone. I’ve had these episodes before. Mrs. Spadoman insists it’s dry skin. She will get the hard to reach places on my back. I use something that has no scent or anything and is hypoalergenic, (is that the right word?), meaning it doesn’t have anything to irritate, it just moisturizes.
    As for ticks, this time of year, “tick inspection” is one of our favorite games to play! Easily played in the shower by the way. We do find them on the Grandkids. They are close to the ground and out in the grassy areas of the yard a lot more than I am. We have a Tick Chamber of Death near the kitchen sink. It is nothing more than a recycled jar, (we don’t use enough mustard around here, it is a mayonaise jar), and it has about an inch of dish soap in it. The ticks we take off the kids are placed in this death chamber to die. (the ones we find in the shower are simply allowed to go down the drain).


    Comment by Spadoman | June 18, 2011 | Reply

  3. *scratching*

    Geeze….what a time consuming itchy-scratchy adventure.

    *shuddering and muttering*

    *scratching some more*

    I think we have Benadryl around here somewhere…
    *scratching again!!*

    Comment by Mel | June 18, 2011 | Reply

  4. Here, this is catching! Excuse me a moment, I can’t type and scr*tch at the same time…ah, that’s better. Very satisfying. Actually, this sounds like inflammation due to some plant, like Giant Hogweed or other moderately poisonous umbellifer, known to infest canal banks. Or a bad go of nettle rash. Calomine lotion (externally) and plenty of good red wine (internally) should do the trick.

    Comment by Christopher | June 18, 2011 | Reply

  5. Yes, I read that North America is a busy place for ticks ‘Man. And apparently, Berkshire (UK) is too. (In fact I probably read more about ticks, their habits and their habitats than was good for me). Still, we don’t see many and it’s generally considered more of a pet than a people problem round here. And for Barney, I’ve invested in sensitive skin clothes washing powder and tea tree and witch hazel cream. No joy yet!

    Sorry Mel – but I did warn you : ) Benadryl? Should I be looking for that?

    We have Giant Hogwart everywhere Christopher. And nettles. And we had heat too. But we’ve always had them so we don’t know why they should suddenly have attacked the poor man. Now – I might pour him a glass of calamine (such a nice creamy pink colour) and I’ve already put some wine in the stew but there’s a bit left to make a nice back rub.
    Oh – wrong way round. Well maybe I’ll drink a little red wine myself as a preventative. Mmm. Much better. I hardly notice his itching now, possibly because he’s watching the cricket in the other room.

    Comment by letouttoplay | June 18, 2011 | Reply

  6. I may need the chickpea jars Rosie (zanne?) and thank you : )

    Comment by letouttoplay | June 19, 2011 | Reply

  7. for a moment I was wondering about that chicken pox related thing, erm, the word for which has totally escaped my mind (which is either Alzheimer’s or the ECT)(still). . . but I guess the quacks would have checked for that?

    how about calamine lotion? for the itchy-scratchy? you probably don’t need “useful” suggestions, do you!

    I tried to visit the other day but either my netbook or wordpress was acting up and I couldn’t – hope Mr B is a little better

    love and hugs

    (non itchy-scratchy ones!)

    Comment by english inukshuk | June 22, 2011 | Reply

  8. oh! I’ve just read your reply to Christophe about the calamine. . .

    . . .great minds, eh!



    Comment by english inukshuk | June 22, 2011 | Reply

  9. (erm, I’m still here. . . have you tried aloe vera? Boots do a huge tub of the stuff at a good price, sold as an after-sun lotion – probably would serve a multitude of purposes tho. . . just a thought!)

    Comment by english inukshuk | June 22, 2011 | Reply

  10. oh! oh! oh! and ALSO (last one, I promise) I too am absolutely in love with scabious at the moment – saw some a month or so ago in a local flower shop and should have bought it

    my parents used to have it in their garden, can’t remember where, and I loved the way it wanders in the breeze. . . since I’ve filled my courtyard containers up to be jolly and colourful and remind me of the Egyptian hotel gardens, I think scabious might find a place in a pot somewhere. . . thanks for the reminder!

    Comment by english inukshuk | June 22, 2011 | Reply

  11. The greatness of our minds is boggling Inukshuk! I thought of … er … um … what’sitcalled … Shingles!!! Yes, no, they didn’t check but no blisters so it’s not that. And I asked about calamine and she said it dries the skin! Aloe vera! Hmm. Might be worth considering in the same way that arnica is good for almost all small pains as well as bruises.

    Scabious grows wild all along the hedgerows here and I love it. Also I saw a deep red variety in a pub garden the other day! Stunning! I want some!
    It would probably grow in between your flagstones? It’s a very tough little plant! Would love to see your Egyptian courtyard : )
    (Thyme would grow in between your flagstones too : )

    Comment by letouttoplay | June 22, 2011 | Reply

    • OH!! Benadryl stops itching. You can take it orally–or it comes in a clear lotiony deal to put on the area. It’s not like you’re wearing PINK all day long. LOL

      Ya might assume that’s why there’s NO calamine lotion in the house.
      Though we do have aloe–and that’s green. :-/

      Hoping you and himself are itching less and enjoying the weather more…and healing……

      Comment by Mel | June 24, 2011 | Reply

      • Thank you Mel. We are enjoying and healing both.
        They decided to refer him to a more special specialist and now it’s finally fading away. Typical! He still has to see the specialist though. I expect the threat of special treatment was what drove it away.

        (So what’s wrong with wearing pink? : )

        Comment by letouttoplay | June 25, 2011

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