I am prone to dry, itchy skin and mystery rashes as well as eczema and psoriasis. (Do I sound like a babe or WHAT?!) A few months ago my forehead and hairline, even my eyebrows, began itching like crazy. I would awake at night scratching and none of the over-the-counter cremes I tried helped. Time to seek medical help. Ha!
I can’t find a dermatologist who is right for me. I’m certain they’re out there; they just aren’t taking on any new patients in my lifetime. The ones who ARE still taking patients… is it be a bad sign when one can get an appointment the next day?
Take Dr. E, for instance. . . but be prepared to wait a few months. Last year after six months waiting for an appointment for a skin exam, I asked her about the dermatitis I get whenever I work in my garden. I know there is some plant out there I should ban from the premises and no, I don’t grow poison oak, so it must be an ornamental plant. The allergy patch tests she recommended revealed nothing except that she wasn’t listening to me, since none of the patches included plant tests. I paid $400 to learn I wasn’t allergic to my shovel.
Dr. E, young and pretty, was deferential to my age, referring to my brown blobs as “maturity spots.” Then there were the skin tags which she pronounced “age-related.” But the itchy things on my forehead, the things that look like little mushroom caps of skin? SURELY a reputable medical school did not teach her to refer to them as barnacles. That is just plain tacky. Where is the sensitivity?
The last appointment I had with her was for removing said barnacles, a process which consisted of spraying them with a mini fire-extinguisher concoction of something cold and burning that I should remember the name of, but don’t. (Remember, the barnacles WERE close to my brain!)
She’d told me that I’d probably get more and she was right. Within months I had a new crop of the itchy little blobs. I was on the phone for an appointment immediately. Granted, it’s a cosmetic thing to have life’s little speed bumps growing in ones’ hairline, but more critically, the darned things ITCHED!
The doctor can see you in February.
No kidding. February. Point your kids toward a career in dermatology. Not only could they repay you for the wrinkles they caused you, but they’d be in a career that’s apparently recession-proof. Santa may not be coming this year, restaurants and retail stores may be going out of business, but Botox, fills, peels, and the fountain of youth remain strong.
I could be squeezed in if it was a true emergency as opposed, I suppose, to a false emergency which is the category under which she put my ailment. Itching did not count unless it involved accompanying, preferrably bloody rash. Barnacles didn’t make the list.
I called Dermatologist B, who could see me the next day. That is not a comfortable feeling. How bad IS he that I can have my choice of times?
In truth, I have seen him before and never had a problem with him until a friend told me he reminded her so much of the Pillsbury Doughboy that she had a difficulty taking him seriously. She shouldn’t have told me that. I found myself wanting to poke him in the tummy to see if he giggled. I looked for a less puffy doctor, which is how I ended up supposedly itching until February.
Doughboy could see me quickly and I was itching, so I was in his office before 9am. They put me in a room with an examination chair instead of a table. I don’t know why it makes a difference, but sitting buck naked on a paper-covered chair with a paper lap robe feels even more ridiculous than lying under a paper blanket on a table.
Yes, I had to get naked to have my forehead looked at. They’d informed me it was time for a body scan. He he looked at my forehead, telling me that my “barnacles” were actually a topical yeast infection. I’m not joking, the Pillsbury Doughboy Doctor told me I was yeasty.
Is this the diagnosis of the year? I don’t have a vaginal yeast infection. Topical. When I took my dog to the vet with problems like his sore paw, itching skin, sore places on his stomach, the diagnosis was the same: yeast infection. Apparently we live in Fungusville.
But back to my extreme naked state in the chair at the dermatologist’s office. . . I had to stand and turn slowly while he checked all my age spots, moles, itchy patches, suspicious discolorations, etc. from his vantage point on the stool. Since he previously found a mole at the stage just before it becomes a melanoma, I don’t mess around with body checks. My humiliation level was already at Maximum, I decided to bare ALL and ask him about one other undiagnosed skin problem I’ve never had the nerve to address. I turned my back to him andrevealed a sore spot in the area which would be in my . . . um. . . crack. (Please, someone tell me a better name for that!)
Same problem as the one on your face, he told me. Yeast infection. You can use the same meds to treat both. Apply both cremes to the areas twice daily. . . and I advise doing the face first.
I threatened to deduct that crack from his bill.
I now find myself with $146 worth of potions with the instructions to “Apply to face and buttocks twice daily.” Don’t you know the pharmacist had to wonder at that one!
So here’s the dilemma. . . which diagnosis should I believe? Do I have a yeast infection on my forehead or barnacles on my butt?
Could it be that my medical care is falling through the cracks?