Monday, April 20, 2015

Arsenic and Old Cat Shit

In ancient Egypt they treated psoriasis by smearing cat shit on the affected areas. In the 1800's arsenic was introduced as a treatment for the disease. I guess they figured if you were dead the problem was solved. I remember my dad having psoriasis when he was in his forties and taking baths in a coal tar solution while washing himself with oatmeal soap. Lucky for my dad, they came up with better treatments after a few years of those stinky baths. Unlucky for me, I inherited the propensity for psoriasis from dad. When I first had troubles with my skin I went to a dermatologist, Dr. Fastandloose. A visit to Dr. Fastandloose never took too long. Not because he wasn't a good doctor, but because he would have you strip down in an examination room while you waited for his appearance. You would be sitting there all naked and vulnerable when the doctor swooped in, asked you what was the problem, turned you around once to get the full view, and then quickly wrote out a prescription.
"You have psoriasis. Go to the pharmacy and get this cream. Apply it to the affected skin once a day. You'll be fine."
He would then disappear out the door and on to the next patient. Elapsed time, one minute.

The problem with psoriasis is that it attacks the most tender skin areas first, and on a man that would be the place he most wouldn't want flaking, painful, crusty skin. Yes, I had psoriasis on what was absolutely my very favorite body part. Over the years I have found that I don't need to get a prescription for the expensive salve that the doctor wanted me to use. I buy over the counter Hydrocortisone. As long as I smear that stuff on the affected areas once a day, I'm fine. Unfortunately, as I get older other areas are becoming affected. My ears, and my scalp now have the scaly, itchy, flaky skin problem. The ears are easy. A Q-tip dipped in the hydrocortisone does the trick, but the scalp is a bit more difficult. I am using that Scalpicin stuff, and it does work, but it's expensive. What I figured out is that the shampoos I have been using aren't helping matters. They're full of chemicals, and perfumes that irritate things. So I came up with the brilliant idea of baby shampoo. I now use No More Tears by Johnson's, and it has cured my itchy scalp. It has one other benefit, I now smell adorable. 
Grandma and me

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