This is Part 2 of a my experiences with Poison Oak. Go here to read Part 1.
I sat on the examination table in the dermatologist office. The doctor stood over my lower right leg, which looked like it had been set on fire in the waiting room. My inside ankle up to mid-calf was puffy, deeply red and oozing.
- Ok, Scott, do you know if your leg came into contact with something?
- Yes, as I said before, I touched poison oak.
- Are you sure?
- [don't scratch, don't scratch] Um, yeah.
This wasn’t good. I was getting twitchy. It had two hours since my last Benedril and the itchiness was beginning to come back. Aside from the giant leg wound being explored by my dermatologist that didn’t itch, I had dozens of little poison oak outbreaks across my legs and arms that did. Two days before I was mostly concerned with the ooziness pouring onto the ground from my ankle. Now, I was like some addled addict popping antihistmines every few hours to keep the constant itching from driving me out of my mind. The doctor kept looking at my leg, though kept standing as if she thought that it might reach out and grab her.
- Well, it definitely looks like you touched something.
- [don't scratch, don't scratch] Uh…
I had finally taken the advice of my family and called my dermatologist the day before when I realized that my stoic resolve for dealing with my poison oak was beginning to crack. I was in a constant medication cycle of pain killers, salves, antihistamines and home remedies but the twitchiness was becoming unbearable. My three weeks of “oh-gee-look-I-have-poison-oak” had transitioned to “OH-MY-GOD-I-HAVE-BEES-BUZZING-IN-MY-BRAIN!”. I needed real drugs, a fix, SOMETHING, and I was becoming desperate. I hadn’t said anything like that when I pleaded with the receptionist to schedule me, however, I doubt I was really fooling anyone.
- Ok, I’m going to put you on two weeks of Prednisone. That should help.
- Really? When can I start?
- [excited, addled junkies hooping and hollering in my head] Ok.
It took a lot not to run to the pharmacy, but I got my meds. Later that day, the itchiness went away. Two days after that, the poison oak subsided and my leg began to look like I had taken a bad bicycle fall instead of looking like… well, what it had been. All this was wonderful, though it was marred by the 10lbs that I gained practically overnight.
I had read enough bodybuilding books and anti-steroids articles to know that weight gain was to be expected. I had been warned that the steroids might make me jumpy, give me insomnia and mess with my dreams. My friend Richard told me that I was probably going to be a jerk to everyone in my life for the next few weeks. Ah, yes, the winning combination of being hyperactive and semi-feral. It would be just like returning to middle school. Actually, I had half-expected to turn into a wolfman with an out-of-control sex drive and a bad attitude after the first pill, my inner Mr. Hyde being set loose on the world.
But, no, none of that happened.
I have to admit, life on steroids was cool. I was healing much faster than usual. I could breathe better. I felt more awake, more energetic. One morning, I realized something had changed. I turned to K who was getting ready for work.
- I actually have hair on my chest.
- Ah, you’re finally growing up.
This was more momentous than most people realize. The Moe men don’t have chest hair. We’re white, pasty and hairless, like new-born pandas. I thought for a moment. Perhaps the steroids would help me finally grow a real beard. Sadly, my Prednisone prescription wore off before I could start to look like Wolverine.
Well, there is always the next time.