It should be glaringly obvious …

Last night, I spent the entire time scratching. Sometimes, my itching rash of unknown origin goes into “flare” mode. Although I have in my possession every possible kind of antihistamine, cortisone (both the real deal and the jazzed up chemical variety), vitamin E in its pure and mixed-with-aloe forms, and several varieties of zinc oxide (cornstarch, talc, cream) — plus the you-wouldn’t-believe-how-expensive natural stuff with a bit of every known plant life in it — the only thing that helps is furious scratching until I am bleeding and look I was dragged on cement.

The problem with all this is not that I will die from an overkill of itchy rash, but that I can’t sleep when I itch. I drift off for bits and snatches, but I’m up again a little while later, smearing or powdering something on my skin. It was one of those nights when I tried everything , followed by scrubbing down and starting again.

I have no idea what brings these fits on, though I suspect it might have something to do with stress. What kind of stress? Well, there’s impending nuclear war with North Korea. The end of medical care. A hole where money our used to be. Why would any of that be stressful?

At around five in the morning, I took everything in my medicine bag that might help me sleep. Not a lot of anything because we have dentist appointments this morning and I only had a few hours, but I though even three hours of sleep would be better than none.

I heard Garry get up at around 7. I was in a dull haze, optimistically hoping for a little power nap before getting up. Until the soft beep-beep-beep of the alarm reminded me the time had come. Too soon, too soon.

Half an hour later, I realized I was blind.

Blind? Why am I blind?

Ultimately, I recognized I wasn’t wearing my glasses. How can you give a hostile glare to life without glasses?

Garry found my glasses and poured me another cup of coffee. I should be ready to glare any minute now. Meanwhile, it’s absolutely gorgeous outside. Warm (but not hot or sticky) and a perfect powdery blue sky. Hard to really glare at that, but I’ll give it my best shot.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.


    1. It’s weird. You feel okay. You settle down. And then … the itchy crawly starts. Get up, anoint, try again. Now it’s another part. Usually, i can get it settled down after a while, but this just wouldn’t let up. I think “it” know I had to be up early.


  1. Once I am in bed my aches and pains disappear and I can sleep well. I have had quite a problem with my left knee, something got torn in the muscle, but slowly it is improving and I can now walk better. In bed perfect and in the early morning, but by lunch time I am ready again for another restful sleep. Sorry your itching seems to have no end. If we didn’t have stress it would still itch, because something would be missing.


    1. Over the 40+ years I’ve had this rash, coming and going and coming and going, I could laugh, or I could wail. Laughing is better. It also doesn’t itch as much when I’m awake and have other things to distract me. But sometimes, I need to sleep!


          1. Possibly. Thought there was a problem with my heart. It fritters once a year, but nothing to worry about. I was taking mega pain killer and when I eased off felt weepy and my limbs did the funky shake. Worried I might be slightly addicted, they are opiates, I always worry about that as my mother was addicted scared me to death at the amount of pain pills she took. So I’ve never wanted to, that and I have an exceedingly high pain threshold. Haven’t taken any for weeks. Pain is reaching intolerable range, still won’t take pain med school which limits movement and ability so yeah it stresses me a bit. As soon as I get back on my comp, my daughter is using it atm, I’ll send you my email books, lol, your very own library smirk smirk. Do you use epub Kindle or? So I can send the correct format. Tata for the moment


            1. I take demerol, but like you I’m VERY careful about how much I take. The bottom line for me is that if you keep taking more, eventually it doesn’t work and you need something stronger … and I’m horribly allergic to everything except demerol. I can’t take NSAAIDs either (ulcers), so I have to be careful. Heating pads and not doing things that hurt. At a certain point in life, that’s the choice. If you can’t do it, don’t do it.


              1. Indeed, I’m with you. That’s what concerns me, your body all too quickly gets used to whatever medication you use and it then becomes useless. I try to grin and bear it for the most part. I don’t want to get cranky around the little people.


                1. That’s the danger. So I try to never take the maximum amount I am allowed – and also try not to take the same amount every day. I can’t go long without any, but I skip doses if I don’t absolutely need it. It’s the best I can do.


  2. There was a time when doctors actually did some detective work and could pin down those skin issues. Now it’s just symptom relief and it never gets properly resolved.


  3. I have mystery itches too… so you have my utmost sympathies. But like angloswiss up there ^^ I can sleep through just about any pain and/or itch — even migraines. It’s weird. Once I fall asleep, I stay asleep. If a pain wakes me up, it’s something to worry about and I pay attention. I hope you find relief… I know what those mystery rashes are like, and they ain’t fun.


    1. No, they aren’t fun, but since they aren’t likely to kill you, no one pays them a lot of attention. And there isn’t anything else I can use. After all these years, you’d think they’d at least know what causes it, but they don’t. They aren’t looking, so they probably never will know and I will keep scratching until it goes away. Which it does, sometimes.


  4. I am sure you have tried everything know to doctors and witch doctors too. So I know you have tried witch Hazel and oatmeal baths. These have been my go to itch reliefs when I have itch attacks. These have seen me through poison oak, chicken pops, poison ivy, and several other things my kids and dogs shared with me.


    1. Yes, used to do that. Unfortunately, i can get INTO the bath, but I have a lot of trouble getting out. Gravity is a one way assistant — down only. I should try again now, though. The last time i tried was pretty soon after heart surgery and I’m stronger now than i was a year ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I suppose there are as many reasons for itchy rashes as there are people!

    In my case i initially put it down to maybe a new laundry powder i might have been allergic to but it stayed regardless of the brand used. Turned out it was due to my failing kidneys and high ureaic acid in my blood. Since i had a new kidney fitted the itchyness and scratching till you bleed has pretty much cleared right up. All the doctors and nurses i asked while on dialysis knew of the problem but had no helpful remedy – only the transplant worked for me. Have you been checked for diabetes/kidney function??

    Good luck!



    1. Yes, but I’ve got a physical coming up in another 2 weeks and I will remind him because my father’s family all had diabetes. It’s one of the things I need to watch for. I don’t think so, though. I get tested often for cancer and for the other drugs I take and for my heart too. And my mother had the same problem. I’ve always thought that the symptom is the result of something else more systemic, but the doctors are very uninterested in the problem. But I’ll check. Thank you for the reminder!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I wanted to say thank you because you reminded me that I needed to call my doctor and tell him that I think i actually have a kidney infection and have for quite a while. I have an appointment with him on the 24th, but he put me on antibiotics immediately. I can’t begin to tell you how much better I feel! It hasn’t done anything for the itching, but other parts of me have started working again.

      How are you dealing with the anti-rejection medications? I have several friends who have had transplants — three kidney and one also got a liver transplant. Some of having more trouble with the drugs than others. I hope you are doing better!!


      1. I’m very glad i was of some benefit Marilyn! it’s great to hear you sounding and feeling a little better and closer to your ‘old’ self 😉 I think the itching can more often be a sign of some mineral imbalance ( too much or too little something in your blood – mine as urea/creatinine)

        As for my meds, my specialist has cut me back to about the bare minimum and i’m feeling/doing fine 🙂 I should probably do more exercise than i do and i would have more stamina and even better general health, but i really cannot complain all things considered. I believe i am one of the luckier ones and i try to do all my doctors tell me to do but no-one is a better doctor than you – you know what works and what does not for your own body. Doctors can merely suggest things and you see how they work.

        Hope you continue your good progress 🙂



        1. I know exactly what you mean. I hadn’t dealt with this because I was hoping it would just go away by itself. I gave it at least a month, but it just got worse. I don’t much like antibiotics, but who does? And these are horse pills. But I’ve got a replaced heart valve, so they don’t take any chances with me. If there’s anything like an infection, they put me on hefty antibiotics instantly. Thank you. I probably would have waited another couple of weeks if you hadn’t prodded me.

          I’m sure the itching is some systemic thing. I just know don’t WHAT.

          Liked by 1 person

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