Skin (empathy for the mangy bear in PA)

There's debate raging online about this image: Is it a junior sasquatch -- or merely a bear with mange? I will not weigh in on this debate, except to say, that if it is a bear with mange (as seems likely), the beast has my sympathy, and I know how it feels...

To explain: I'm at a juncture in my life where I should be stable and happy: I'm not looking for love, work, or a place to live, and some of the past catastrophes in my life are somewhat receding. Just when I should be relatively carefree -- at least on the micro-level, on the larger, macro scale, there's always plenty of depressing problems to consider -- something has come up that is threatening to upset the little apple cart that is my boring, ordered, suburban life.

It started about this time last year: Small bumps appeared, much like poison ivy, on the inside of my left elbow and like poison ivy, the bumps itched severely. This was diagnosed as eczema, for the first time in my adult life, and soon spread to other parts of my body. This condition has waxed and waned in past year, but never entirely gone away. When this condition is bad I'm not in pain but it is very uncomfortable and I am unable to be at ease in my own skin, and sometimes scratch myself until I bleed. Expensive prescription medications have not cured the problem. Also my eyes are frequently irritated and are itchy and tear profusely for no good reason, and the persistent irritation and subsequent rubbing has aged the skin around my eyes noticeably: I look a lot older now.

In August 2006 I moved into my new place, the total distance involved was only about 30 miles. Something, however, in my new environment seems to have triggered a quite severe and ongoing reaction in my body. This past week I had one awful night at home (a very bad night -- if nights like that became the norm, I would have to move, or live in a plastic bubble), so consequently I am seeing an allergist next week to have some tests run.

Hopefully this visit will result in a simple, inexpensive (I don't have expansive medical coverage) and straightforward diagnosis and treatment plan, but I anticipate that this will probably not be the case. One idea that I am still getting used to, is seeing a doctor about this situation, spending money, taking drugs, and yet nothing really changes...it's very discouraging. I'm starting to feel like the protagonist in the Singing Detective.

[I know, that if a prospective employer was to come across this post, it could be concluded that I am a bad insurance risk, someone with a body riddled with various chronic conditions. That really isn't the case, until this point in my life, I have been quite fortunate, both in terms of injury and illness -- which makes my current predicament all the more difficult for me to deal with. I'm not used to living with incurable conditions other than bad eyesight.]

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