My hives started to heal over the weekend, but yesterday they were back and they were furious. My eyes were surrounded by hives, puffy, red, practically swollen shut. My chin was covered in hives and my lower lip was swollen twice its usual size. Charlie said my face looked scary and he didn’t like looking at me. Honesty + autism + Charlie = *sigh*
But really, the killer was my neck. It was entirely bumpy and angry, itchy and tender. Nora Ephron wrote a funny book about aging called I Feel Bad About My Neck. While our reasons weren’t exactly the same, I felt very bad about my neck yesterday.
So off to the dermatologist I went, with my littlest boys in tow, looking like I had a pox. And I was limping, because the bottom of my right foot is hive-ville. Srsly.
Figuring out skin reactions requires some sleuthing, so the dermatologist, the nurse, and I went through everything I ate, drank, touched, ingested, or applied to myself during the past week. Nothing stood out, until they asked if I felt flu-ish, which I sorta did.
Bingo. I have a virus, and my body is manifesting it as a violently horrific case of hives. The human body is phenomenal. And also very weird.
We drove home from the doctor’s office and I started shivering. I tried to drop off my prescriptions for oral and topical steroids at the drive-through pharmacy, but as luck would have it, the drive-through window was broken. Because that’s how it works when you feel like death and your face looks like you stumbled off the set of The Walking Dead.
Jeff was two hours away. Jack was due to be delivered from day camp at any minute. Junior was out sick. The respite sitter was out of town. In desperation, I called my friend Chris and begged her to go to the pharmacy for me. Because she is an angel person, she did it. And she took my two little boys, plus her four kids, which means she is so much nicer than I am and that she is totally going to heaven. She brought me my meds, along with a Coke Zero and some chocolate, and effectively saved my sickly life.
Jack was a bit of a disaster after disembarking from the day camp van. In no uncertain terms, he demanded a ride and fries. As I drove him, screaming, to get said fries, I straight up prayed for deliverance. “Help me through the next few hours,” I moaned. “Stay with me until Jeff is back and Jack is calm and the meds are absorbed into my system.”
Then, this happened: Jack sprawled on my bed and fell asleep after he ate his fries. A tender mercy and a blessed miracle. And my sister, Lisa, texted and offered to take the boys to her house to play with her puppy, Penny, today.
It seems like whenever I am having THE ABSOLUTE WORST DAY, some meme about making every day great! or living each day like it’s your last! (ugh) pops up in my news feed. This is why the internet is maddening.
But also on days such as yesterday, which actually are THE ABSOLUTE WORST, there are true gifts.
I needed Jack to stop screaming and lunging at me, and God knew it. I prayed and held on and Jack fell blessedly asleep. I was an itchy, miserable mess, and he knew it. He sent Chris and medicine and Lisa and Coke Zero.
Illness makes one appreciate being well. Relief from suffering makes one appreciate everything.