(June/July, 1999)

ER Nurse-Flaker Gets Advice
from Marian O.

Ed: What a great site! I have had psoriasis since age 2. I have—as everyone does—good times and bad. As an ER nurse I run into lots of award-winning-rude-or-stupid questions, but I cracked up when one of my patients told me that he used to have the same skin problem until he started shooting heroin. Since becoming a user, Gawdalmighty he's cured! Hmmm, I am so tempted: flaking or shooting, shooting or flaking ... sooo torn!

Actually I have sworn off all drugs except for good old vitamin E and the sun ... and it works (for now). All the great myths about curing psoriasis with pregnancy? Well, after 3 pregnancies and horrific rebound flare after two of them, I think I will stick with birth control.

I think I would like to have your book as a reference in the ER and read it to some of my lesser-informed patients. Who knows, some of my well meaning colleagues might learn something, too. That's right, some of the medical folks I know are as thoughtless as the "public." Like the doctor who told me I should not ever work with people who have AIDS 'cause I might frighten them. Of course he meant that as professional advice and was horrified when I told him that he missed his calling in life as a horse's ass! What can I say? I do get nasty about my P at times! Anyway, keep this up—its wonderful! -Marian O.


Ed's Response: Glad to hear vitamin E and sunshine are sufficing for now ... and that you've found us and joined the ranks.

Wouldn't it be interesting if someone did a study of heroin addicts and found a much lower percentage of active flakers among them ... but that some purported to HAVING BEEN flakers before they found nirvana.... I would LOVE TO READ the NPF's reportage on THAT. What might the connection be? Stress reduction?

I hadn't heard much (but some) about P rebounding after pregnancy. Your experience adds credibility to the supposition that while being pregnant might mitigate psoriasis activity at the time, it's not a permanent pardon. In other words: Pregnant ladies, don't get used to flake-free living!

I've heard from other health care workers who report particularly uninformed (and sometimes cruel) treatment from colleagues. I'm glad you told your colleague he missed his calling as a horse's ass. I might have been even nastier, suggesting he hadn't missed it after all. -Ed

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