Archive for August, 2010


Since May 14th, I have had an itchy rash. It started with a small red welt on my right upper arm, like a mosquito bite. Three days later it had spread up to my shoulder and down to my elbow, and the itching was bad. I went to the Medical Center where the nurse practitioner, who said she’d never seen a rash that looked like this, prescribed first a steroid ointment, and when that didn’t work, a course of oral steroid. By the time I took the last tablet, May 30th, the rash had gone. But on June 3rd it returned over more of my right side, down my back and buttock, across my right shoulder.

Back at the Medical Center another nurse practitioner prescribed oral antihistamine treatment. When that had no effect, he said, “You really must be seen by a doctor right away. I have no idea what this is.”

The doctor who happened to be available for emergency visits was Ernie’s doctor. By this time the rash had spread some more. He examined it in minute detail, using a little light, questioned me at length, and said, “This is bizarre.” He prescribed another course of steroid treatment. Which had no effect.

“You need to see a dermatologist,” the doctor told me.

But then came Ernie’s massive brain attack and its aftermath. I didn’t get around to calling the dermatologist until July. The earliest appointment I could get was for September 3rd.

Meanwhile, the rash has continued to spread; the itching is often intense, though it flares for a while and recedes a bit. But I’m always aware of some degree of burning itching sensation which is exacerbated by any contact with my skin: by clothing, for example, and even by water when I’m swimming. Now it looks like this.

A field of tiny red dots and striations across my back, most apparent at my left waist.


Deep red patches down my arm and underarm.


Across my shoulder and neck, up to the hairline.


It looks like that over most of my body, with occasional flaring patches on my face along my jaw and on my legs.

Friday I’ll find out whether there is any diagnosis and treatment for this condition. It’s hard to live with it.

I promise that my next post will be upbeat. Enough of this kvetching.

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At 6:30 this morning I headed for son Michael’s house. From there we drove to Middle River for kayaking. By 7:40 Michael was unloading the kayak.


Here’s where we launched the kayak.


We were just a few yards from the marina.


Past the marina, we headed in this direction, toward a creek out of sight on the right, along those trees at the horizon. Had we turned left, we would have been going toward the Chesapeake Bay.


It was a perfect morning—temperature in the 70s, clear blue sky, smooth water, slight breeze, and no one else in view. Quiet. Serene. We paddled for an hour, and I took breaks only when Michael did—to sit silently, watching a heron fly overhead, hearing bird and insect sounds from the trees and tall grasses along the river side.

As we returned, this was our view.


Loaded up, ready to go home.


I arrived home at 10:40.

Next time we’re going to go at 5:30 and see the sun rise.

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