Lately I’m prone to a rash of plagues, or a plague of rashes, or both. They’ve come upon me like carpenter ants on a vine-covered porch since I’ve been retired.
Every year around this time, I get little bug bites that itch like crazy. They start at my ankles and work their way up my body over a few weeks. Places on my lower back that are hard to reach are a favorite snacking area for these critters. Also the wing flaps of my upper arms. For immediate relief, I scrub my skin to within an inch of its life with the back brush in the shower.
I also treat with my father’s go-to ointment—Boroleum. It’s an analgesic with menthol and eucalyptol. It was developed for nasal use, but it’s versatile. Remember the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding who used Windex on everything, including zits? Well, that’s me with my Boroleum, thanks to my father. It’s amazingly soothing, but only for awhile. No matter what I do, until the nibbling season is over, I’m doomed to a life of itch and scratch.
This is also the season for sneezing fits. Those with severe allergies are thinking: “Big whoop. The whole year is that season for me.” I understand the need to sneeze when I’m exposed to pollen. But my office is in the basement. In a windowless area. The fits I get there at this time of year go on and on.
The first sneeze, I just ignore. The second sneeze gets me looking around for the tissue box, just in case. By the third sneeze, I’m trying to sniff the drips back up there. Sneeze four gets me pressing my knees together. Sneeze five has me blowing my nose (still pressing my knees together). And blowing. And blowing. By the time sneeze six comes around, and it usually does, I’m running up the stairs to the bathroom.
Maybe my office gets dustier in Spring. It doesn’t seem that way to me. True, I drag the porch furniture out of the basement around the same time, and that stirs things up. But they’re in a different room and they go out the bulkhead. Even Luke is sneezing more now, and he hasn’t been o-u-t in weeks. Whatever the reason, sneeze fests are just another plague of the season for us.
My recent checkup with my GP reminded me of yet another side effect of an aging body: I bruise much more easily now. I guess my skin is thinner, so the blood vessels are closer to the surface. You know those little suction cup electrodes the tech sticks onto you when she does your annual EKG? Now they leave red marks. They usually disappear within a few hours, but it’s a different story for the other bruises that I get without having a clue why.
The other day I found a small discoloration on my left forearm. I’m sure it started as a typical black and blue mark. By the time I noticed it, the color had already moved on to the green phase. Now it’s that ugly yellow that signals the end of the cycle. I find bruises on my hips and thighs all the time, and I rarely can remember bumping into anything. Or more correctly, into anything in particular.
I bump into things all the time. My depth perception has always been lousy. Now that my eyesight is also less than stellar, unintentional contact with my surroundings happens several times a day, leaving me muttering: “Ouch! That’s going to leave a mark.” The more I walk around the house, the more bruises I get, and at least half of the ones I notice have origins unknown.
This provides a suitable excuse for just staying put in a chair with a good book. And a nice glass of wine. And no, it’s not the wine that makes me clumsy, so you can wipe that smirk off your face. What’s even better—by the second glass, I don’t notice the bug bites anymore. Ah, Spring! When ones thoughts turn to restocking the “medicine cabinet” with Boroleum and tissues. And wine, of course.