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A Sign for All of Us
from Ria

Greetings Ed, and fellow flakers all! When I last wrote, I was moanin' and groanin' about dealing with P and tough case of depression, among other things.  I'm happy to tell you that even though everything is pretty much the same, my attitude has been getting much better.  I haven't been back to the derm for quite awhile.  I do continue with OTC lotions, they work at least as well as prescription stuff did for me.

I recently spent two separate weeks in hospital, each time for an infected abscess.  As you all can guess, the P got more attention than the foolish abscess.  I was too vulnerable the first visit to fight back, as it was also my first time dealing with the sort of infection I had.  The second time, however, was very different!  Like Roger D and his T-shirts[0499e.htm], I made myself a sign to stick on the wall above my hospital bed.  Within a frame of various size "spots" I wrote:

Thank You Very Much!

As various employees came in to do their job, they'd ask about my skin.  I just pointed to the sign.  They would read, chuckle, and again ask about the P.  I would point again to the sign.  That 2nd time would get through and we could then discuss the infection situation.

There are many articles in many forms of media, telling what a patient should or shouldn't do while in the hospital, including taking an active part in one's own care.  I had not seen any info on what to do when the issue that brought one to a hospital was less obvious than P.  Well, Ed, there you go!  Fight!  Fight!  Rah-rah-rah!    

Thanks for keeping up your site for those of us who need to "vent," shout out at the world, or just find out the latest info. Best Regards, -Ria


Ed’s Response:  As always, Ria, it’s a pleasure to hear from you.  (Readers: Just search for “Ria” for previous correspondence.)  I know exactly where you’re coming from.  I spent about a month in the hospital years ago after carrying around a burst appendix for eight days.  They opened me up like they were gutting a fish, because they did not know what was causing the massive infection around my intestines — as they said post-surgery, “No reasonable person carries around a burst appendix for 8 days!”  Anyway, my P was flaring at the same time.  The scalp P was the worst I’d ever had.  For the first two weeks I couldn’t tend to it with the “scalp cocktail” and shower-cap-overnight therapy and no one was willing to help me.  But I was able to accomplish this the last few days I was hospitalized.

One of the things the shower cap always does to me after wearing it for a night is leave a ribbon of red, depressed skin across my forehead where the elastic bites in overnight.  This lingers for an hour or two. Such was my state on the morning of my discharge. 

As is the custom in American hospitals, if your bill is substantially high they want to wheel you out in a wheelchair regardless of your mobility.  If the bill is that high, I’ve always thought the chief hospital administrator should do this; but of course that is not the case.  On the morning of my discharge a young volunteer (we call them “candy stripers” because of their striped red and white dresses) wheeled me out while my wife (wife number 2 of 3) walked beside her.  I was quiet — evidently suspiciously quiet to the young girl.  After perusing the red mark across my forehead, she asked my wife, “Has your husband just had brain surgery?”

No joke.  This happened.

Moving along….  I can think of any number of environments for which your sign is appropriate.  I’m thinking of making it into a tent sign to use at business meetings.  One I can set up in front of me when we all sit around a conference table and try not to talk about why that fellow Ed is shedding so profusely.

Stay in touch, Ria.  -Ed

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