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my buddy AL


Again, I tout the wonders of modern-day medicine. As you may know, I suffer from severe eczema, especially during the winter months. Add some stress and you have yourself a recipe for disaster.

The last time things got crazily out of control was the winter of 1998. I had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and the stress was almost unbearable. Let's just say my eyes weren't the only things weeping that winter.

I'm not sure which emotional stressor has pushed me over the edge this time.

It could be that over Christmas I may be seeing my punk ass brother-in-law for the first time in ten months since he came on to me.

It could be that my mother is wasting away mentally from Alzheimer's and she gets visibly worse from month to month.

It could be that my brother is severely disabled from MS, is bed ridden, is pretty much paralyzed, can't feed himself and is a shadow of his former self.

It could be that my 80-year-old father has a permit to carry a concealed weapon and keeps a loaded pistol in the house at all times. I have to remember to ask him to unload it and hide it away when I come over to visit with my children as he keeps it on the floor in his bedroom -- which is a place where my children like to play.

Whatever the reason, I haven't had to have a prescription lotion for eight years. So I was pretty surprised when I woke up at 1:30 a.m. two nights ago actively itching my legs and hands. That's correct; I was scratching IN MY SLEEP and woke up in the middle of the classic itch-scratch cycle.

No, it didn't stop there. I was awake for a good hour scratching and applying over-the-counter lotion to no avail. I finally opted for an ice pack that I rotated from hand to hand to leg to leg and back again. I eventually fell asleep with the ice pack in my hand under my pillow. (Look Mom! The Eczema Fairy left me a room-temperature gel-filled ice pack!)

So the next morning I called my family doctor and left a desperate message begging him to call in a prescription for me. And call he did. Shout out to Dr. A!

It's the generic form of Lac-Hydrin, also known as Ammonium Lactate Cream 12%, but I call it manna from Heaven. It does sting a bit going on, but within ten minutes the sensation of itching is gone. Hallelujah and Amen bruthah!

Now I am no sissy when it comes to pain. I had all three kids drug-free. That was a personal choice and I didn't do it so I could brag to other people, I'm just saying I can handle pain pretty well. But when it comes to itching I am a wuss. I can't take it. I would MUCH rather be in pain than endure the incredible, intensive itching that comes with eczema.

So it speaks volumes that I had to bow down to eczema's pressure. (Note to eczema: you are a Spiteful Wench and I despise you with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.)

As previously noted, I am in constant awe of how medication actually works. Since I don't like to use it very often I am utterly amazed when it delivers on its promise. And Ammonium Lactate is no different. Like a good neighbor, Ammonium Lactate is there.

Thank you, AL. You have no idea what you mean to me.


2006-12-08 at 6:23 a.m.

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