Imagine there is no place on your body that does not dry out, flake, weep, crack, irritate, peel or sting. Imagine an itch that travels while all this is going on. Imagine the itch cannot be scratched.
Imagine waking up and looking in the mirror. A crusty, flaking, peeling visage staring back at you. Eyelids swollen and itching. You’re drowsy from the alcohol and Benadryl cocktail taken three hours before you finally fell asleep due to the inability to stop itching and or insomnia. Four Benadryl and half a bottle of Costco Kirkland Signature vodka to be exact.
Imagine taking your dog for a walk and you can’t get more than four blocks before your asshole and accompanying area starts to itch. The slight breeze stings your eyes. Your eyelids itch. Your eyeballs leak. You can barely keep them open. Constantly wiping tears, but you are not crying. With each step the crust-puss-rash behind your knees opens and closes. Itches and stings. The air reminds you it’s still wet. Your goal is to walk slow enough to not break out into a sweat, but fast enough get home, and try not to let the ass-itch drive you to the point of insanity.
Imagine getting home and looking at your ruined sheets. Discolored from the petroleum based drug store concoction you coated yourself in, crusty from dried up puss ooze, and sprinkled with skin chips that either fell off or you scratched off. Oh and the blood smears because, that’s just how you roll.
Imagine pouring yourself a bleach bath because the oatmeal bath didn’t dry out your soggy thighs that are now weeping and oozing. If feels like you are wearing wet jeans. Imagine getting into the bleach bath. Imagine following it up with a scalding hot shower. It scratches the worst of itches without breaking more skin. The itch is so bad the scalding heat is euphoric. Intense, sensual, sexual even. You do everything but orgasm. It’s the best shower you wish you didn’t have to take. You feel violated, dirty, and used, but you liked it. You hate yourself for looking forward to it again.
Imagine looking at your t-shirts noticing the vaseline and hydrocortisone ointment stains that won’t wash out. Imagine your skin not being able to breathe because you are coated with shit that doesn't work, but it's better than nothing. Imagine your nails always black with dry skin and some crappy moisturizer. Imagine your palms are cracked and it hurts to open and close your hands. Imaging just washing your finger tips because the soap and water will make things worse everywhere else. Imagine this is the first hour of your day.
Imagine this is two years of your life.
I worked when it was dark just to avoid the conversations my condition would spark.
My back was way worse.
The inside of my hands. Washing my hands always hurt.