In my anatomical family, my skin has always been the relentless problem child. It likes to make a scene, and continuously ruins the company picnic that is my life.
It throws a tantrum when I’m stressed or tired. On the tube, or under a bridge. When I’ve eaten too much hummus. When I’ve not eaten enough hummus? Maybe. Who knows at this point?
Just rest assured that my tango with adult acne is one that resumes every morning, and is a brutal, porous affair.
The upshot of this is that when something new and gross appears on my body, I generally just accept it as another blessing from the gods of Awesome Personalities, gifting me another carbuncle in the name of building better character. About a month ago, this manifested itself in the form of a rash on my arm. It’s about the size and shape of a two-pound coin, and it itches.
“Babe.” Chris is one of those dudes that voices concern by saying “Babe” in a serious voice. “You might want to get that checked out.”
‘Pffft,’ I say, and keep itching.
Among other things, Chris and I have very different understandings of what an illness is. To me, there are two categories of illness: the first is called Stuff that Just Seems to be Happening (ie, I am sneezing blood, pooping coal, itching my arm) and the second is My Small Intestine is Hanging out my Butt. If something is in the first category, it’s probably not worth doing anything about.
Chris also divides sickness into two categories, and they are as follows: Everything is Fine (everything is fine) and I Have Cancer, and I am Dying.
Chris will diagnose something as cancer faster than an 80-year-old woman with a kidney infection.
“But what if it’s cancer?”
‘It’s not cancer.’
“My aunt had cancer in her…”
‘In her eye. I know.’
A few more days of this, and I eventually relent and go to Boots. I like Boots. I explain my problem to the pharmacist, and show her my rash.
“Ahh,” says my fancy pharmacist, with a reassuring tone of recognition. “I know what you need for that.”
She disappears momentarily, and I begin to feel smug about not having an obvious cancer. She returns, with a tube of Canestan cream. I stare blankly at her. I know what Canestan cream is for, and it’s certainly not for your arm.
‘Are you…’ I begin awkwardly, ‘…are you sure this is the thing I need?’