About two years ago, my legs started itching really bad. I chalked it up to dry skin and, like most men my age, pretty much operated under the time-worn medical advice that “if you just ignore something long enough, it will all go away and everything will be fine and you can pretend like it never happened.”
There’s always something happening around here and I pretty much have absolutely no idea what’s going on.
Usually during the summertime there’s some sort of malady that gets me. I’m under alot of stress and it takes a toll. I’ll get bad headaches or a bad sunburn or I’ll hurt my back. A steady diet of Ibuprofen and sometimes tequila usually fixes me right up.
Well, it wasn’t fine and it didn’t get better. It got worse. Lots worse. My legs were killing me. I tried not to scratch but you probably know how well that went. The itching was unbearable and, well, scratching felt so good. I tried moisturizer (don’t tell my buddies). I kept them covered and out of the sun. I drank 10 glasses of water a day. I took vitamins. Then minerals. I bought new “soft” pants so that my denim ones wouldn’t rub. I meditated. Nothing worked. It was driving me crazy.
Finally (finally!), I made a Doctor’s appointment. The phone call went something like this,
Me: “Hello. My name is Rob and I need to make an appointment to see the Doctor.”
Nurse: “What seems to be the matter?”
Me: “I have this unbearable itchiness in my legs. I’ve been scratching them all over. The pain is unbearable.”
Nurse: “OK. I think we can get you in sometime during the year 2023.”
No, seriously, we worked it all out and the day of the appointment finally came. I was ready.
The Doc took a look at my legs and seemed surprised. She hadn’t seen anything like that before. Now I am not one who expects my doctor to know absolutely everything. But looking through medical books DURING THE APPOINTMENT is definitely something that you never want to see. She’s flipping through pages and shaking her head. “Hmmm. that’s interesting,” she says every now and again. Meantime, I’m thinking of all the folks that have rare diseases named after them. “I’m going to be famous,” I thought, “but not in a good way or a way that means I can retire early and move to Key West.”
So she’s flipping through these books (yes, multiple books by this point) and finally I see the proverbial light bulb go off. She looks me in the eye and asks, “do you have a cat?” My eyes light up, of course, because I’m a real animal lover and I say “Oh yes, her name is Martha. We just got her and she finally learned to mouse and she has the most beautiful green eyes and a tiger-striped brown coat and….”
The Doc raises her hand and cuts me off.
“You have fleas.”