Hi there. I’m Nic. Nice to meet you. I enjoy short walks around the block, strawberry ice cream, and snuggling near the fire place on cold winter nights. I’m a Pisces, and I love to be near water. How about you? What are your interests?
You’re just here to see my rash?
Yeah, ok, no problem.
Go for it.
You guys. Med students LOVE me.
Just not the way I love them.
I can’t remember the last time that I went to a doctor’s appointment where the doctor did not go running off to gather up what seemed like every medical student, specialty resident or visiting whosawhatsee in a 5 office radius. Having so many chronic medical conditions has made me a hot commodity in the teaching sphere. Numerous doctors light up like Christmas trees when they see me coming. Hushed whispers follow me down corridors- “Is that the girl with the…?” “Yes! That’s her!” (ok, so maybe I imagine that part)
Inquisitive eyes squint at me as my doctor hovers. “Here, a perfect example! A beautiful example!” “What is it, doctor?” they ask with bated breath.
Yeah. What the heck is it, doctor?
This happened just a couple of weeks ago.
On June 1st, I was fine. Fine in that chronic illness defined way that means I’ve been better, but I’ve been worse, so I guess right now I’m ok. Actually I was more than ok, because it was my friend, V’s bridal shower and I was SO HAPPY to see her.
This is a picture of my happy face on Sunday:
This is a picture of my unhappy face four days later, on Thursday:
For years, I have had a history of weird skin rashes. Usually they just occur on my face (by “occur” I mean “take over”, um, ew.) but this year in addition to my icky rash face, I had itchy rash arms to go with it. Just what I’ve always wanted, a matching set!
So I went to a new dermatologist this year because my old dermatologist kept telling me that it was caused by “stress” which is doctor code for “I don’t know what it is, go away, please.” New dermatologist was downright thrilled to see my face and arms. …As was dermatologist’s very friendly colleague. …And his very friendly nurses, who at one point were all standing over me shining the World’s Brightest Light on said rashy face and arms. “What do you see?” the doctor asked all of them.
Yeah, what do you see?
Cause I’d kinda like to know what you kids are seeing.
Dermatologist can’t stand the suspense of waiting for his audience to guess.
“POLYMORPHOUS LIGHT ERUPTION!” he exclaims.
Hahahahahahahahahahaha. The name makes me giggle. Also the way that the derm says it because he has kind of a lisp and he’s like, so excited and…
Polymorphous light eruption. Cause undetermined. It’s a type of sun-sensitivity that can be one of three things: 1) a symptom of Lupus, 2) a precursor to Lupus, or 3) completely unrelated to Lupus. If it is completely unrelated to Lupus, it is considered an allergic reaction to sunlight.
So in addition to all the other weirdo stuff I’ve got going on, I may have now developed an allergy to the sun. Seriously. Can’t a girl catch a break?
But this post isn’t about that. It’s about a med student/male nurse adora-boy named R. To him, in this moment, I am not a human being, but a magical, sun-allergic unicorn sent from the medical gods to enliven his Tuesday.
And enliven it I do because R. gets to anesthetize me for the biopsy. Which means he gets to stick me with a needle full of liquid that may or may not cause my blood pressure to freak out, and therefore may or may not cause me to pass out, or at the very least, get a little woozy. Which I have to warn him of beforehand. Which means then that HE may or may not freak out, and therefore may or may not pass out, or at the very least, get a little woozy. Unicorns aren’t all as much fun as they’re cracked up to be, huh, R?
Really though. It’s like giving a kid a puppy that then bites the kid in the face when I have to tell inexperienced medical professionals that I might get POTSy on them while they treat me for my unusual ailment. He was so excited until I asked to lie down so it’s easier to bring me back to consciousness, in the event that he needs to. Then we just end up in an early 2000s Verizon ad in which I just wish he’d go ahead and stick me already and he’s all “Are you ok? Good.” “How about now? Good.” “And now? Good.” “You still there? Good.” Can you hear me now?
Yep. Still here, R.
Perfectly uneventful anesthetizing. Totally good. The derm comes back to lop off some skin samples, then it’s over.
“So I’ll call you.”
“Oh you will, R?” I say, batting my eyelashes suggestively.
“…With the biopsy results.”
Maybe next time?