You should believe in your beliefs, I believe. Furthermore I believe I should set a good example in this matter and I believe I did not.
Tuesday night is the last night on which I slept, through the night, in the manner, in which, I think, normal people are prone to do. I cannot remember exactly because I have lost the sleep of reason and am no longer normal.
Husband reading paper: What are you laughing at?
Reader: She says she’s no longer normal.
HRP: I thought that’s why you read it.
On Thursday night, swollen ‘twixt neck and knee and unable to find a place to place any place of me without it swelling and itching, approximately five sisquetillion times worse than in the photo, (previous blog, scroll down) I bravely co-opted the OH.
He likes his sleep the OH.
I was desperate.
The OH found the phone number of NHS direct, I phoned them. Yes I phoned a medical helpline in the middle of a pandemic.
HRP: Now what has she done?
Reader: She’s very optimistic, you’ve got to give her that.
There was a solid ten minutes of : we are busy, if you cannot breathe try a bit harder. Then there was ten minutes of: there’s a pandemic on, had you not noticed? Then there was five minutes of: if you are dying, hang up and then try this very long number which we are only going to tell you once. Then there was a lady with an accent so thick you could have cut it into slices with a butter knife and spread it on toast, topped off with some very idiosyncratic grammar. For several minutes, utilising all the skills I had acquired teaching English in the language school, I did the fifty questions which must only be answered with the answers on the sheet she was holding, so that we can proceed to the next question. A mere ten minutes of questions established whether or not I was exhibiting coronavirus symptoms to determine if I had accessed the correct service and a variety of numbers if I had not.
Half an hour after I had dialled the number, my identity was established. Always a help when trying to help (or not as the case turned out) to find out who it is you are trying to help and always useful to understand the English spelling of a tricky and unusual name such as: Jane, I find, don’t you?*
Half an hour into the conversation the OH, whose desire to assist had been prompted by the sight of a wife resembling an inflated red balloon with fingers and feet sticking out of the sphere, lost the desire and sloped off to bed.
The gods of You Should Help Your Wife were on my side, however. I had awoken his prostate. As I itched for Britain he put in a bid for the 2024 DampOlympics. How glad I was that I had spent the extra on reinforced underlay for the carpet between his bed and the bathroom! For it is rather jolly to feel vindicated as a person of reason in the midst of telephone helplines, which, come to think of it, urgently need renaming with a name that is fit for purpose.
That afternoon I had taken an anti inflammatory prescribed for the OH, Fexofenadine. It had worked briefly. I had also at hand an over-the-counter anti-histamine, whose leaflet of contra-indications were practically a verbatim (despite being written) description of Yours Truly’s current state of being. As in: do not take this if you look like this.
I would not, as I did, which information, in small, easily understood sentences, I conveyed to the listener on the helpline.
A few times.
A few more times elicited the response that it was almost certainly inadvisable to take the over-the-counter remedy, coupled with vast surprise at the matchy matchy nature of the written script and my state of being.
The caller gave out the potentially helpful information that she had been joined by a pharmacist.
But she would not let me talk to the pharmacist as I had TAKEN A MEDICINE PRESCRIBED FOR SOMEONE ELSE WHO WAS NOT ME.
The last five minutes of the hour were occupied with the advice to hang up and ring the GP in the morning. The telephone assistant was so helpful she said she herself would book me a call to the doctor. She was on it like a car bonnet. With no further action on my part, the GP would ring me solicitously in the AM, alert as a lurcher with a downed duck in sight, ready to prescribe medicine for the person the medicine was to be prescribed for and no other human.
HRP: What are you tutting for?
Reader: Remember that set-to I had with that receptionist?
HRP: Oh, that!
Reader: Just like that.
As I hung up the phone on an hour and a half of my life that I would never get back, I noticed that my arm, which had been resting on the marble top of the wash stand, was quite a bit less inflated than the other arm.
Therefore the next ten minutes were spent with both arms resting on the marble.
I did try for thighs on the marble, small of the back on the marble, ears on the marble, midriff on the marble.
Assiduously, I assure you. However, the pensionable may struggle at five in the AM to hoist parts of their person on to a waist level Edwardian wash stand. I certainly did.
I eventually discovered that the key to curtailing the itching was to get cold.
Fortunately it is August in Britain, therefore quite chilly.
Reader: Ooh, remind me to find the hot water bottle for tonight.
HRP: Will it stop you putting your feet on me to warm up?
Then I remembered that I had not put the dustbin out. Gambling that the neighbours would all be abed, I put the dustbin out wearing very very little clothing. Me, not the bin. No one passed by to remark that they were seeing more of me than usual. Reluctantly I returned to the warmish indoors and spent the rest of the night doing wash stand, bed, wash stand bed, as you do.
The first time you can ring the doctor’s in the morning is 8.30, exactly at 8.30 there were 22 people ahead of me in the queue. When I finally accessed the receptionist, I discovered that the helpline direct had indeed arranged for a call from the doctor in the late afternoon, as it was non-urgent.
So, the doctor’s receptionist being sympathetic, the doctor rang half an hour later. I told him I was in post surgical isolation and could only let him see my rash if he was willing to direct his computer to my blog.
Which he did.
In perfect English (as he is) in a five minute conversation all was established, the rash identified as a post-surgical over-reaction to insect bites and Fexofenadine, but much stronger than the OH’s, prescribed.
The OH in bed, informed, did after half an hour get up of his own volition and fetch it, and I took the One-A-Day pill, once. And after two hours the swellin’ subsided.
Reader: Oh she’s alright.
Reader: Oh hang on……
By bed time it had thoroughly worn off.
Three o clock arms on the washstand, half past hair on the wash stand.
Do you know how it is when you give up and decide to sit up and read and, when you put your glasses on (because you are no longer short sighted) and the passage of the arm of the glasses sets off a furious itching behind your ear? And then all the curly bits inside your ear join in and swell too. No? Lucky you.
I was terrified the swelling would get to my face and I would scratch and dislodge the recent implant in my eye. My ears were swollen like a prize winning boxer, leather belt and gold shield.
Terrified with the terror of terribly tired at four in the morning.
I interrupt this blog to go downstairs and get the next dose of Fexofenadine for it is ten sixteen, exactly 24 hours since the last dose.
And then I bethought me.
Reader: Finally, she’s thinking!
HRP: You could take a leaf out of that book.
Reader: You can talk!
HRP: No, I’m trying to read, in case you hadn’t noticed.
Serrapeptase! My serrapeptase! The classed-as-a-health-food enzyme that saves me from polymyalgia rheumatica – it’s an anti-inflammatory!
Three doses at hourly intervals later, the itching everywhere except in my hair and on my hands (which look like I’m wearing inflated red rubber gloves) has subsided. Even the thighs, which were extreme. You know when you have cheap mass catering and they do pigs in blankets as tiny expensive sausages encased in massive huge cheap puff pasty rolls? Like that.
And then it was eight o’ clock and a mere two and a half hours to the next Fexofenadine, so I kept my fat itchy fingers busy writing this.
I should have thought of the Serrapeptase sooner. I should have kept the faith and believed in an enzyme which is of proven assistance rather than an advertised so-called helpline.
I should have known what I know instead of believing anything that can be looked up on a phone. With age comes marginal wisdom, there to be used, if you remember to do so.
I hope with great sincerity that this is the last blog on the subject of itching. The last three nights I could have given the Singing Detective a run for his money, that’s for sure.
In the insufficiently-chilly night I recalled a film about the French Foreign Legion (in my defence it was half past two and I was swollen) in which some poor wrong-doer was either staked out on an anthill in the sand, or buried up to the neck with wriggly things, I forget which, but if they have ever done this for real, you want to avoid joining the French Foreign Legion, you really do, no matter how bleak the supermarket chiller cabinet is for vegetarians in barbecue season. No really. Anyway, you wouldn’t suit the hat.
*Ken I quoll yeeuw Jen? Jeeyan?
No, call me stupid, that will do.