I have good news and bad news: Good news is my ears are not so red or swollen. Not to say they are back to normal. They are still flaming red, but at least small enough to tuck under a hat, or hide under hair--if I had long hair.
The bad news is that this dreaded "red ear" condition has morphed into a body rash. A blotchy, itchy, red rash. I am reminded of David Shannon's A Bad Case of Stripes. Heroine, Camilla Cream loves lima beans, but gave them up because her friends hated them and she wanted to fit in.
For some fortuitous reason, I am often in Singapore when health issues strike: last time it was an eye infection; the time before that an appendix attack. This time, because my flight arrived in Singapore at 1:00 am and the next flight out wasn't until morning, I'd booked a room for the night and scheduled an eye exam in the morning, with a flight out that afternoon.
In the same way damp hair drips down your back and spreads, I could feel the rash spreading during the long, long, 20 hours it took to fly from Los Angeles to Singapore via Tokyo. I'm thinking the girls seated next to me wondered about all that scratching and wiggling that went on under my blanket during lights out. Periodically, I'd slink off to the restroom to cool the rash with water and reapply Cortaid, which helped some. But by the time we landed in Singapore, I was determined to add one more doctor check to my list.
Ah, we love Singapore doctors. While waiting for my eye check, I called my regular doctor's office and was told they'd fit me in as soon as my eye check was finished. Dr. Lim, took one look at my rash, talked me through the ususal rash causing suspects--alergies, insect bites, "no" "no" "no"--then called a dermatologist who fit me right in.
Turns out my rash isn't of the normal, ate something strange or tangled with the wrong plant variety. It's a "bull's eye or target rash" meaning the red splotches are more like rings with white centers. Thus indicating that the rash is systemic. A virus perhaps contracted from someone with cold or fluish symtoms. The Dermatologist asked if I had been in contact with anyone coughing or sneezing. I laughed and told him that could be any of hundreds of people as in the past week I had been on 2 trains and 4 planes and at a 4th of July Spectacular.....
Still, as I scratch and itch, duly take the medicines the doctor ordered, which include topical cream, an antihistamine and steroids to bring down the rash, I keep returning to my friend Sydnie's theory of dis-ease as related to my swollen ears: what was I not wanting to hear? And of Camilla Cream in Bad Case of Stripes: what am I doing, not doing, or suppressing?
What's odder, the rash didn't spread from my ears down as one might expect. Instead, it skipped my neck, chest, shoulders and lower half of my legs and is instead concentrated on my underarms, hips, thighs and legs--all the fatty bits. So, does this mean in an effort to "fit in" or not...I've been eating too much and my body is rebelling? Or are my body parts rebelling because I haven't been exercising? Or?????? Help Camilla! Help David Shannon! Help Sydnie! Help me unravel the meaning behind this bull's eye rash before I scratch myself into oblivion.