Communications (October-November, 1997)

Viceless but Flaking
from Nic Wood

After reading your September mailbag, I feel humbled by saying that at the age of 36, I have small lesions on each inner ankle (what they lack in size they make up for in itchiness!), and recently my eyelids have started to show signs of the flake. I did not suffer from P as a child, nor do I have to cover my body to hide P (my additional fatty tissue is the reason for not taking off my shirt in public).

I read the comments from Stu in Scotland about alcohol, and also other comments regarding stress. My P gets worse when I am under higher stress levels (OK not higher, but when I let things get to me). I have been a strict vegetarian for nearly five years, and the nearest I get to alcohol is the screen wash in the car (no I don't drink the stuff, just spray it on the car windshield!).

Running a small computer consultancy is not without its headaches. P last visited me when I worked for another company run by the Paranoid-Brothers. My forearms developed 'scaly-fish' syndrome (as my now-wife calls it). As soon as I left the employ of the Paranoids, my arms returned to their previous flake free existence.

My dad was a flake (or more of a blotch). He suffered in silence, but did pass on to me (as if some ritual potion) a half used tube of a substance called E45 cream. Not having access to a "derm" meant that it was the local doctor who told me that my flakes might be a long term thing. He did say not to make too much fuss about it (we are British you know!)

I really feel that my P is brought on when things get tough (life that is, not the flakes) and as I don't take many of the normal substances (drink, animal products etc) this link to self-esteem is real enough to me.

I visited the National P Foundation and am quite content to not be able to categorize my flakes at present. It was good to know why flakes are (they just ARE man !!), and also having read comments from other flakeys that many of the creams/potions treatments don't have any long term effects.

Nice to see your web site. -Nic Wood


Ed's Reply:

Thanks for stopping by, Nic. Your story is a "sit-up-and-take-notice" sort of story. You don't drink, you don't eat meat ... still, you flake. There's a pot full of derms over here in the Colonies who would be totally disarmed by you. ("Well, bygawd Nic ol'boy, you MUST be doing SOMEthing wrong!" Allow me to spit in their eyes on your behalf.)

E45? That's a new one for me. (‘Twixt you'n'me, Nic; if you blokes had been a bit more imaginative about naming things, you might still be handing out the traffic tickets in Hong Kong. You know?) Your father left you a tube of E45. Is it something you can still procure? It sounds ominous (Ebola Strain #45). If you haven't opened the tube in some time, have your neighbor's teenager try it, first.

In this country, your link between P and the Paranoid-Brothers would call for a workman's compensation lawsuit. Every good ambulance-chasing barrister in the U.S. knows at least ten barrister-chasing MDs who would say the Bro's caused your P. I've been hunting for someone to sue for ages but, unfortunately, I've not been able to draw such strong links—except to X-wives, who always manage to sue ME before I can get around to suing THEM.

Anyway, Nic. Stay in touch. I have fond memories of your Isle, of taking my first ever road trip driving a standard transmission while seated on the wrong side of the car and having to drive on the wrong side of the road ... but we'll save my vacation stories for some other time. -Ed

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