I do truly believe that the success of the children is directly related to the character of the parents.
Sometimes, this frightens me terribly…
Take me, for example. Of my many flaws, one of my greatest, is that I talk too much. While this can be beneficial to my kids – they are all little walking books of stupid trivial knowledge I have haphazardly dribbled on them over the years – the habit tends to concern me more than not. I do come by the problem honestly, however; apparently it is a symptom of my ‘hypomanic’ personality. But I still have to take full responsibility for some of the stories I find myself telling before I’ve fully thought through their impact on my listener. While my family is used to my imparting somewhat personal anecdotes of their lives, I take special care to keep my legs well shaved so as not to chaffe my lips during those special, even common times when I find I have inserted my foot much too far into my mouth.
I won’t get into the why factor of the choosing of this topic for this post. Suffice it to say that by sharing this chapter of my life, I hope to offer a little insight as to the challenges my family faces on a regular basis due to my inability to filter everything I think before speaking. The fact that none of them feel overly concerned about what I’m writing in this blog – they all know about it, yet none of them log on to read it! – speaks volumes of the trust they have in me. And so I share with you…
Many years ago I developed an embarrassing little problem on my left foot. Being ridiculously sensitive about my feet – they never see the light of day! – I was understandably reluctant to have the problem looked at by anyone, including the doctor.
I did, however, muster up the courage to bare my sole on three different occasions.
The first doctor looked at it and suggested an over-the-counter spray. Apply twice daily, keep it clean. Should clear up in a week or two.
A few years later, after the retirement of the first doctor, I broached the subject to my new one.
“Eww,” she said, in her most comforting air of disgust.
She sent me to a dermatologist to get a better opinion.
He took one look and brought in three students. I was fine so long as nobody touched it. So when one of them started with the vinyl glove, I backed out. They offered some cream to be applied to a clean, well-soaked foot, three times a day for six months.
Needless to say, I suffered on.
You have to understand: it wasn’t so much that my foot looked like it had begun to die without the rest of me. It was the itch. I experienced an itch like nothing I had ever experienced before, or since. While yes, there was an ugly – in the true sense of the word – patch of fungus that wrapped from the top of my foot, around the outside, under the bottom, and up through my toes, peeling and stinky, it was the severity and depth of the itch that drove me to my limits of endurance. (My apologies to the easily-queasy, but the details are necessary to the story…)
You see, having outrageously ticklish feet, I had no way to scratch the itch. At the merest touch, I throw up.
This reduced my options terribly.
After some time, though, I discovered a routine that made the ordeal almost bearable.
The worst time for the itch was when I removed my shoe and sock at bedtime. There was no denying that itch. It consumed me beyond reason and thought. It created an ache that I could feel to the top of my head. But if I countered the itch with pain, I could stand it.
So I ended up with a piece of old carpet next to my bed where, every night, I would rub my poor foot, building heat and friction to the point of burning and bleeding, the pain of which would deaden the itch.
And pain I could handle. I had given birth. More than once.
This horrid routine went on for a number of years.
Until my doctor sold her practice to a new doctor.
During my first physical with the new doc, the most thorough doctor I have ever encountered, she spotted my foot.
Completely concerned about my home remedy she quickly wrote me a prescription and explained the procedure. One pill, once a day, 28 days. Keep it clean.
She repeated. I couldn’t believe it. She was about to become my new best friend.
So, off I went to the drug store, feeling utterly euphoric that there might be an end to my own little disaster. A pill for crying out loud!!
I handed the pharmacist the prescription and she read it, her eyebrows raising slightly.
“Are you aware that your doctor has prescribed this medication for 28 days?” she asked professionally.
“Yes,” I answered confidently. I was not going to let anyone ruin my chances for recovery. My hopes were up. The light at the end of the tunnel was blinding. The silver lining in my cloud had just turned to gold! “The infection is really bad,” I confided.
She smiled warmly at me. I took that as personal understanding.
“You know,” I confided, “with an itch that’ll kill.”
“Yes, I can imagine,” she agreed.
Feeling I was making a new friend, I added, “It gets so bad at night that I have to rub it on the carpet ’til it bleeds just to kill the itch!”
The look on her face told me that I’d gone too far. Too much sharing for our brand new relationship. “Come back in fifteen minutes,” she said.
When I returned, my new friend wasn’t making eye contact. She reinforced the doctor’s directions – one pill, once a day, orally. (Yeah, duh.) But she only had 7 pills in stock. She would order the rest and I could pick them up in a few days.
I asked about the pharmacy only having 7 of something.
She explained that they don’t see this prescription very often and that 3-7 pills is usually sufficient to clear up the problem.
“Oh,” I understood. “Yes, it is pretty bad. But these work well?” I asked, feeling a little embarrassed that I’d left the problem for so long.
“Oh, yes. Excellent.”
Remembering my husband’s encouragement from that morning, I added, “Well, I guess so long as it kills the stink, at least my husband will be happy.”
She walked away muttering something that sounded like “Good luck.”
Again, I was sharing too much.
But it didn’t matter. I had pills to fix my foot. I practically ran from the store, drove straight home, and headed up to the bathroom. It was still morning. There was time to take my first dose. I suddenly couldn’t wait to be done with the ‘foot carpet.’
Of course, being the conscientious patient that I am, I pulled the entire package apart to check it all out.
The first thing I noticed was that each pill came in its own individual box, about the size of an ice cube. Odd.
The next thing I noticed was the warning across the top of each box, in big bright red letters:
“FOR THE TREATMENT OF VAGINAL YEAST INFECTION”
Oh no. No.
“Oh, the itching,” I’d said.
“I rub it on the carpet ’til it bleeds,” I’d shared.
“I’ve had it for years,” I’d admitted.
“And my husband can’t stand the stink!!!!”
The humiliation came upon me in waves. The look on the pharmacist’s face. The way she’d stood back from the counter. The way she put the bag – and my change – on the counter instead of handing it to me.
It was hours before I could force myself back out of the bathroom. Oh, why couldn’t I have just kept my mouth shut?
In the end, I realized that the only thing worse than the spectacle I’d just made of myself, was knowing that I still had the dreadful fate of having to return to the store a week later to pick up the rest of the pills!!!
It was truly one of those times where one wishes one could actually die of embarrassment.