I am a travel wowser.

The rash began as a series of red lumps on the lower half of my legs and because I woke to it on the first day of our holidays away my son in law who was spending some time away with us became convinced it was caused by bed bugs.

We spent only three nights away but for two of them from the onset of the rash I lay awake imagining the mites digging into my flesh. No one else was affected. In those first few days the rash seemed minor and I decided that as soon as I arrived home it would all clear up in the absence of those bugs. But it did not.

They say it is not uncommon to go on holidays and to get sick, as if your body, which has been driving you on for days, weeks and months decides at last now is the time to collapse.

I cannot say I am sick. I am well enough through it all but the rash has spread further up my legs and onto my arms, and even into the little nooks and crevasses of my body where it itches away and refuses to let me sleep.

Last Tuesday after our return I visited the chemist. Our regular chap is away on holidays and his fill-in thought the rash did not look like bites. He offered me antihistamine and a light steroid cream to help heal the itch.

Another day passed and the rash grew worse so after Googling one night and changing my diagnosis to folliculitis I took my self to the doctor. He agreed with that diagnosis and decided a dose of antibiotics should do the trick. He suspected that I’d had a virus somewhere down the track, certainly unbeknown to me, and these sorts of folliculitis things the doctor said can flare up when your immune system is compromised.

It’s possible, he said, that you had a tiny nick in your skin and the bacteria, which lives on the surface of your skin and gives you no trouble at all sneaks in and starts up a chain reaction.

Fine, antibiotics I thought that will put an end to it, but two days later and the rash was worsening, so back to the doctors and this time he suggested a whack of cortisone.

The dreaded cortisone. I have never been on cortisone – or prednisolone as it’s called here – before but the doctor insisted it’s okay to take it for short spells to block what he now considers most likely to be some sort of allergic reaction and probably a delayed response to that damn invisible virus.

My body feel like it is breaking down, at least my skin is, and the worst of it is the itchiness. I can wear trousers and conceal the spots and lumps and bumps. It’s cold at the moment, too, despite the advent of spring, so a cardigan is necessary at all times. I can hide these blemishes to outsiders, but not to me.

This itch is at its worst in the middle of the night. When I’m snuggled up in bed and heat up, the itch comes to life and moves from one part of my leg, to my arm, to my belly and back again. Always an itch somewhere.

I cannot then stop myself from clawing at my skin as the itch moves around, even when I know to scratch at a itch is not a good thing to do. There is always the danger of breaking the skin and making it worse.

But what can I do in the middle of the night? The doctor did not prescribe anything for topical relief because he said antibacterial or antibiotic ointments would probably not touch it, this inflammation is coming from inside.

Sorry to bore you with all this detail but it perplexes me. I know that it will pass. I hope that it will pass, but in the meantime in my own typical fashion I must analyse why now?

What is going on in my life just now to cause this sort of skin reaction?

Your skin is your greatest protection. It seals in your insides. I think of skin reactions as reflecting a troubled internal state.

It’s holidays, although they’re ending now. I am soon to submit my thesis but it’s under control. I will be sad to say goodbye to my thesis. It has been a loved companion these past seven years and of course there’s then the question of what will I do next? This troubles me, but only a little.

It’s not far from the first anniversary of breaking my leg. I’m about to have a routine colonoscopy, you know the sort we all dread. The last time my husband had one of those he wound up with a heart attack. That’s unlikely to happen again, or to me, but still it’s a fear.

Finally, I took on medical power of attorney for my mother last week, a responsibility I share with my older sister and for some strange reason it feels ominous.

My mother continues to survive. She turns 92 next week and I’m apprehensive about how long she can go one. Although, as the woman in charge of my mother’s retirement village says, she’s not palliative yet. She had been but she recovered.

I suppose these are enough reasons to be troubled. Though I am aware of these issues. There must be one hiding away deep in my unconscious of which I haven’t a clue. Worries do that you know, at least I believe they do, and they sneak out when you least expect them and can often express themselves through your body.

I have a tendency to interpret everything on psychological grounds and it does not suit me to put it all down to a purely physiological response. There has to be something more to it. Of course this notion does not sit so well with the notion that one day we will all die. It is inevitable. We will have to die of something and that something could take multiple forms.

Here I go again agonising over the mind body link, trying to put the old Cartesian spilt in place even when I know it does not exist. Our minds are our bodies. Our bodies are our minds and yet I still tend to think of them separately.

Beyond our bodies there’s the environment.

Last weekend in the tranquil Wartook Valley among the shining kangaroos my body let me down, at least my skin failed to hold me in. You’d think I’d grow from the experience. But every time I go away something goes wrong with my body. Invariably I get constipated. I get things like tinea or cold sores on my lip and now this: bed bugs or folliculitis, or an allergic reaction to a virus and that of course does not include the practical issues of possible plane crashes or car accidents.

In some ways I put it down to the experience of being born to migrants. I still sense my mother’s pain at having to leave her beloved homeland. I always imagined that she would have preferred to be elsewhere and it left me with the odd feeling that Australia, my home, was not good enough for her. I resolved over time then that I would stay put and now even short trips away unsettle me.

I am a travel wowser.

66 thoughts on “I am a travel wowser.”

  1. Ouch. While I was working I was prone to weekend migraines. I very rarely had one during the week. Friday nights were their preferred launching spot. The pain escalated until I was left helplessly vomiting. It would then ease off, leaving me with a hangover, which also left me in time for the working week.
    I also think that unconscious worries often cause these failures of my body.
    I hope your medical treatment helps address the itch and the lumps and that the worry surfaces. Though between your thesis and concerns about your mother and your future I think you have enough on your plate without a hidden addition. Hoping you are much better, very quickly.

  2. Sorry to hear about your rash and the itchiness Elizabeth. I had something similar a few weeks ago and the doctor said it was a reaction to penicillin, but the rash stayed for 3-4 days after I had quit taking it. I also tend to think many of my physical ailments are from psychological causes and so when a doctor recommends steroids I refuse them. Mainly I refuse them because I can't stand how they make me feel. Hopefully, they will help in your case, and the rash will disappear as quickly as it came. Feel better!

  3. Two things.

    I was prescribed an antibiotic by a dentist and I had the absolute worse reaction to it. But only after I had been taking it for more than a week. The worst rash I have ever had all over my body. Miserably painfully itchy. Steroids were magic. Not only did they make the rash go away but all my other aches and pains as well. I bounded up out of bed in the mornings, bounced around all day.

    After finishing a fairly large job that took months of intense mental and physical labor, a week later my back went into a spasm that took a year to recover from. The release and relief from the tension, when I had finally relaxed, is when my body could finally object. Which is probably why yours reacts when you go on vacation.

    Perhaps you need to introduce something into your routine that helps relieve stress. I found working out at a gym and/or yoga to be helpful.

  4. Ah Elisabeth, I am sorry to hear about your rash dramas. I think the worst part of being ill is surrendering yourself to the care of medical people and having to trust them – and then the round goes on and on. (Perhaps that reveals far more about my mind-body link than I meant.)

    You sound like you have a great deal to cope with and sometimes the 'small issues' add up to more than a major one.

    Or then again, your post might be totally fictional and the holiday is a mirage and the rash stands in for – guilt? despair? doubt? none of which can be treated by pills.

    I hope you feel better soon and the colonoscopy is uneventful.

    Best wishes

  5. I believe that for something like the rash you described to be caused by stress it would be apparent as to what troubles your mind. If there is nothing out of the ordinary I would think an external causative to be your problem.

    A culprit

    bed bugs are easy enough to find if they were the cause but if you no longer are staying in the troublesome bed then you won't find them. There are also certain moths and beetle looking ants (common name of Rove Beetle)that can cause skin conditions similar to what you describe. But it is extremely rare for beetle or moth to be diagnosed as the culprit.

    some moths have tiny (practically invisible) hairs that looks like pitch forks with barbs which are called seta. The worst cases are when a moth dies and all of it's setas get blown by the wind. If they find skin to lodge, the rash is almost never attributed to the seta and nothing can be done until your immune system can disintegrate it (which it does by forming the tiny red papule) some times a long soak in the tub with epsom salt and lots of baking soda or another alkali can soften your skin enough so that a gentle scrubbing can remove them.

    the Rove Beetles secrete an oily liquid that causes an irritable rash, except that it doesn't show up for about a day, so it too is almost never realized to be the cause.

    an amateur entomologist could easily identify troublesome insects which makes it a cakewalk to ID culprit or culprits

    An entomologist is not even needed if it happens more than twice. When occurrences happen repeatedly, it shouldn't take too much vigilance to find a culprit. At least that's my experience with just about everything if life that is unpleasant when a culprit or culprits cause it.

    I don't think of you as a "wowser" but more like someone who may not necessarily looks for trouble nor whines about it although like anybody with a spine you have the courage to finish it.

    I respect that

  6. The mind/body thing is fascinating. I have always understood rashes to be the last expression of some disorder or imbalance and the body's attempt to right itself. I hope that this is so for you — I imagine the trouble with suppressing the symptoms is that you risk pushing it back into the body (but that's alternative thinking) — anyway, I hope it all clears up soon.

  7. I reckon when you went on holidays so did your immune system it let this nasty virus in that caused your rash. You're no travel wowser at all, hope you get well soon :-).

  8. Definition of WOWSER
    chiefly Australian
    : an obtrusively puritanical person
    Examples of WOWSER


    That's from merriam-webster.com … Yes, I had to look it up. So educational!

    I got mysterious spots on my arms and hands and legs and feet earlier this year. Intermittently itchy. Never'd had such. Came at the end of a little bout of some sort of bug – fever, aches, etc. After speculating about this or that Doc thought it probably an immune system reaction to the virus, the red dots being where the capillaries had gathered the bad stuff. The dots faded fairly quickly after that and were never much of a bother. Just weird and scary for being nothing I'd seen before.

  9. I have to be honest: I don't mind your rash and itchiness so much. It is barely a bother at all. In fact, I hardly notice it, and to the degree that I do, it almost makes me smile. I wish you no harm, really.

    However, for reasons I cannot fully explain, the tale of your mother, her retirement village and survival, her forsaken homeland, resonated in a major way, and hit me unexpectedly hard. I think it has more to do with my own mother, who was born in the U.S., than it does with yours, and more to do with the concept of an unsettled condition that one ultimately takes to a grave, a grave that used to seem a long way off, but now feels familiar.

    Yuck. Your article was depressing. I am not accusing you of anything, but writing well.

  10. Sorry to hear of your rash experiences. Not fun at all. I do hope that whatever it is has finally gone.
    Seven years working on your dissertation. Wow. That is a long time. and now to part with your "baby."

  11. The rash itself, and the subsequent efforts to understand its origins, sound miserable. We are so fragile. But we forget how much so, because we are also incredibly resilient. When I think what we put ourselves through, especially in these days when information batters our minds beyond reason, it's small wonder we encounter reactions like this now and then. But we don't always, so what has caused this. I hope that it either just goes away like a nameless visitor, or that you will get to the bottom of it, and soon.

  12. My older sister told me the other day that she too suffered migraines almost the instant she went off on holidays. The same process as you describe I expect, Sue of Elephant's child.

    Usually I get through my holidays without mishap so this time is more disturbing, or at least it's unexpected.

    I think I'm on the mend, but it's easy to say that now at ten in the evening. I'll know better at two am. that's when the itching really kicks in. Maybe better luck this time. I can feel the cortisone having some effect.

    Thanks, Sue.

  13. It sounds as though you may be allergic to penicillin, Rubye Jack.

    I wonder what I'm allergic to. Hopefully not to cortisone. I've never taken it before as I said, but it seems to help.

    My husband says they call prednisolone the wonder drug for obvious reasons.

    Problem arise with prolonged use and also in weaning yourself off it. Apparently your body can forget how to produce its own cortisone and then you can be very vulnerable to all sorts of ailments.

    Ah me, we tread a difficult line in this health business, but I shall take care and only take a minimal amount of the stuff for as short a period as possible.

    Thanks for your good wishes, Rubye Jack.

  14. I've been thinking of taking up pilates, Ellen, as a way of helping me to relax those muscles, but I've yet to make the commitment.

    Your story sounds pretty alarming. To be on antibiotics for a week and then react, and then to be saved by the cortisone only to fall again.

    I know that all these interventions, the chemical ones can be problematic. But I think western medicine still has its merits.

    Maybe it's good to find a balance between western medicine and the alternative types, including yoga and the like, but life is so short and often we reach for the quick fix, which as we all know is dangerous. Thanks, Ellen.

  15. I almost wish this post were fictional, Isabel, but it's not. It's all too true in so far as the truth is possible. as I said earlier to Sue, I think I maybe on the mend but I'll have a clearer sense of that once this night to come is over.

    Daylight savings begins in Victoria tomorrow and we lose an hour. Maybe that 'll affect things. I doubt it.

    My sister told me that earlier this week we also had a blue moon, maybe that affected things, too. Now I am entering into the fictional.

    Thanks for your good wishes, Isabel. Hopefully things will settle down soon.

  16. What? You think you have this rash because your mother left her homeland? There's a mind bender for you.
    It's much more likely that your skin has reacted to something you came in contact with on your holiday.
    Different detergent used to wash the sheets? Something different in the water supply? Something in the food that your body is not used to?
    Possibly just a simple case of hives?
    It isn't getting better because you're stressing over it. Stress has been known to produce such reactions.
    I've had that type of wandering itch too. As soon as I scratch, the itch moves on. Grrr!!

  17. Your story of all those bugs is wonderful, Dusty, and a bit chilling. To think of those bugs stealing a few bites out of us and then passing on horrible rashes and reactions, ghastly.

    I'm fairly sure my ailments now are not the result of bed bugs, but the exact cause still evades me.

    Tomorrow I visit a GP whom I trust more than most for followup. She's a dedicated and competent woman who seems to take time to consider might be wrong and to suggest thoughtful solutions.

    I will see her and then I am confident that I will feel less troubled by whatever it is that ails me. In the meantime, I do hope the medication I've taken thus far helps.

    Thanks for your kind words, Dusty. I'm glad you don't find me a wowser.

  18. Alternative thinking is fine by me, Elizabeth. In fact, I welcome it.

    I agree with you, there's a risk in suppressing those symptoms. They might well go away at least temporarily but then they might reemerge in some form or other further down the track.

    But I don't quite know what else to do, but take the doctor's advice. I'm not sure I could stand too many more nights in this itchy hell.

    Hopefully whatever backlash I cop will not be too severe.

    Thanks, Elizabeth.

  19. You're probably right, Windsmoke, I went on holidays in one direction and my immune system went off in the other direction.

    Maybe next time we can arrange it so we both go to the same place.

    Thanks for your cheering words, Windsmoke.

  20. Your symptoms sound similar to nine, Glenn and our doctor's description of the possible cause likewise.

    Thank s for educating me on the word 'wowser'. I hope I'm not that right-wing ad conservative. I'm all for other people's travel. I only like to limit my own.

    Thanks, Gl


  21. I'm glad my rash doesn't bother you John, but I can imagine that if we dig deeper some of what I have to say about my mother and death and all the rest, can get under your skin, in more ways than a simple rash.

    I have a tendency to sneak in like that myself, writing wise, rather like an irritation that you don;t see coming. I don't mean any harm by it.

    Thanks, John.

  22. Parting with my dissertation baby is unsettling, Rob-bear but exhilarating too in some ways.

    If the rash comes about as consequence of such endings and new beginnings then so be it. It could be worse.

    Thanks for your good wishes. Rob bear.

  23. It's true, Ruth, as you say, we tend to put ourselves through a great deal in trying to live life well and to the full, especially when it comes not only to living but also to providing some sort of record of that living.

    Sometimes it seems to me there's more living in the writing than in the living itself, and that is something to wonder about.

    Thanks, Ruth. Times like this I wish that I too were a poet, but I'm not so clumsy prose will have to do.

  24. Wow, sounds aweful. Poor you. Sure it's not hives? Sounds like stress to me.

    My partner and I both hate leaving home. We attribute it to both having to leave our families at the age of 9. He to boarding school in Australia from Singapore, and me to my maternal grandmother's when the family unit broke up. We make no apologies. We love our lives and where we are, even though it seems unfashionable.

  25. When I first started reading your symptoms, I thought shingles. It was one of several ailments my poor mother suffered from in her final decade. In some ways it was the least serious of her problems as it wasn't life-threatening and more easily treatable than her other ailments. However, in another way, it was the worst of her problems as she suffered more intense pain from that than from anything else she went through. Your doctor didn't diagnose shingles. Be grateful he didn't.

    Maybe one reason people get sick on vacation is the sudden break with routine?

  26. The dreaded cortisone although you have never used it?
    I am wondering what your experiences are?
    Cortisone is a life saving drug and used under medical supervision is an amazing tool to boost our immune system when it is under attack.
    It's usually not the drugs that are the problem but the bad press and more often the SELF medicating of said drugs.
    Working in the medical field I see people's suspicion of "drugs" everyday but I also see how dramatically they can change things for the better.
    If your reaction is caused by a stressor that is something you will have to work through but in the meantime a little bit of help with the symptoms is not a bad thing.
    Karen C

  27. By the way, in that Wowzer definition there was an example that, because of html coding brackets, got invisible-ized. Here it is:

    "Wowzers would be well-advised to avoid Sydney's annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras …"

  28. Funny, but Peggy was on Predisone AND had a colonoscopy last week. The two of you should travel as a team; that way if one of you ran out of a medication, you could just use some of the other's.

  29. Wandering itch indeed, River. I have a new diagnosis, care of another doctor this afternoon.

    She believes it's a condition that is usually chronic but can flare up in an acute form for unknown reasons. It's called pityriasis rubra pilaris: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pityriasis_rubra_pilaris

    My GP is not alarmed and has added a topical cortisone cream to the mix and the possibility of the antihistamine, phenergan, if I still have trouble sleeping. I think I may be on top of it now but time will tell.

    Of course, my fantasies about the cause of this ailment are deep seated, but it can't hurt to imagine how things might connect. There are so many threads.

    Thanks, River.

  30. Thanks for the comfot Michelle. It's worse than hives but most probably stress related. Stress is usualy a factor in modt ailments that inviolve the skin i reckon apart from those awfiul things caused by too kuch sun.

    I'm glad to hear there are others like me who prefer the comfort of home to gallivanting around the world.

    To my mind, there are many ways of travelling Michelle, and not just physically. We can always travel far and in our imaginations and through technology. The blogosphere makes this far more possible.


  31. I've tried tea tree oil, Maggie, without much success. This rash calls for tougher stuff but as I said earlier to River, I think I may be beating it.

    Thanks for your good wishes, Maggie.

  32. I’m not a traveller. My family never went away on holiday after my brother was born and all I can remember prior to that was a trip to Blackpool (the illuminations are the kind of thing that would certainly impress a young boy and yet what I remember the clearest is being bought a tin truck big enough for me to sit on) and a trip to a caravan somewhere but that memory is less clear; perhaps I was younger still. These are probably my earliest memories. The idea of an annual holiday though, when the family packs suitcases and heads off somewhere if only Butlins to get away from it all, is quite alien to me. Carrie and I have been away three times since we’ve been together – fourteen years she informs me – once to let her family see that I wasn’t some weirdo who had spirited their daughter away, once to Dublin to do research for Milligan and Murphy and once to the Lake District – we hired a car and just went where the mood took us but after a couple of days we were missing our own bed and drove home. Now she visits her family three times a year (less of a holiday and more of a … well, to say anything else would be unkind) and I look after the bird.

    I don’t recall ever being especially unwell when away from home. If it’s more than a night I’m itching to get home but that’s only metaphorical itching. When I first moved out on my own I thought that now I was free to go where I wanted whenever I wanted that I might investigate the world (or at least the UK) a bit more but I’ve never travelled further south than Morecambe in Lancashire and that’s still very much the looked-down-upon North. I’ve been all over Scotland and you can see quite a bit of it and still get back to your bed at night; my last wife and I did quite a bit of sightseeing that way.

    Ill health is another thing completely. Like most men I don’t rush to see the doctor over every ache and pain. My mother didn’t like doctors and resisted calling them unless it was absolutely necessary and I suspect that I’m a bit like her despite the fact that I was always a poorly child and the doctor was frequently having to be called out for me when my asthma was bad. I’ve never liked being sick and yet I have become used to it because apart from the bad chest there’s always some minor thing wrong with me, dragging me down. I could list half a dozen things that are wrong with me this morning – mostly the usual suspects although I think I might be getting a throat infection – but I just take paracetamol or ibuprofen and soldier on. If I took a day off work a year it was as much unless I had something infectious like shingles and was ordered to stay off work and even then I did stuff from home as best I could. But the simple fact is that I have never been a well man.

    I can sympathise with the itching though because the night Carrie went to America last something had a nibble at my leg in the bed and I ended up with about eight of those nasty little spots you get from bites. I don’t know what it was but the wee bugger never came back for seconds.

    I don’t know if I have a particular opinion on how much our mental health affects our physical wellbeing. Of course it does but I’m just not sure to what degree it does in my case. I’m a great believer in playing the cards you’ve been dealt and so I work within my limitations. Wishing things were different is all well and good but, as Truth put it so well, “if wishes were horses they'd all stampede and trample [us] underfoot.”

  33. It's not shingles, Kirk, at least the doctors think not, just an odd rash probably brought on by a virus of some sort and also most likely induced through the change of scene or a holiday or who knows? It's anyone's guess.

    Hopefully it will pass soon. I should not take as long to recover from this as I did my broken leg a year ago.

    Thanks, Kirk.

  34. Karen, your words here remind me of my GP's words this afternoon. There is a place for these treatments. Chronic use is ill advised but getting over the immediate and excruciating symptoms has its merits.

    I can work on the underlying causes thereafter, as you suggest and reflect long and hard about why now?

    Thanks again for your good wishes and your sound practical advice. I shall try to be less paranoid about medications.

  35. Wowsers are certainly well advised to avoid the Mardi Gras, Glenn. They might be shocked by what they see, too shocked perhaps, depending on their predilections.

    Thanks, Glenn.

  36. What a coincidence, Snow. I take it Peggy's procedure was uneventful, as I hope mine will be.

    We live too far apart to share medications, but we can certainly share experiences.

    I hope to wean myself off the cortisone soon. It all depends on the progress of this rash. And Peggy, I hope she's on the mend, too.

    Thanks , Snow.

  37. It all sounds perplexing and most uncomfortable, and most difficult to tolerate. I hope you recover from it all quickly, and that from all the remedies suggested something works. Is a puzzlement! I'd be preferring the physical causes, myself, and trying soothing baths with epsom salts, etcetera.
    I often think that the body reacts once it is relatively safe to do so. But I am no expert on cures. I hope the new diagnosis and the remedies do the trick.

  38. I'm at the tail end – pardon the pun- of preparations for tomorrow's dreaded colonoscopy,Jim and not feeling too flash, for obvious reasons. the rash however appears to be subsiding.

    By the sound of things, I've done a lot more travelling than you, at least further afield than locally, and my travel quota is meagre.

    I like to think of myself as like Gerald Murnane. You've read his wonderful essay about the breathing author who has never been in an aeroplane. I can't say I blame him. I have been in an aeroplane but never enjoyed the experience. I endure it and try to make the most of it.

    I can imagine Carrie's family's alarm that a man from the Internet 'spirited away' their daughter. when my husband and I were younger we always jointly visited our respective relatives but these days we often go separately to our respective kin, though not always.

    Since I started my PhD we've done more and more independently including travel. My husband loves to see the world and I do not, so often times he will go with a couple of our worldly friends who love to travel, or before she had babies, with one of our daughters and her husband. There's always people who love to travel with him – though he'd prefer my company, he says – so the rest of us can stay at home.

    My ability to write tonight if fairly limited. I keep making typos. My head's not right, so I will write more later.

    Thanks, Jim

  39. You poor thing – a 'travel wowser' you most definitely are not: 'a sufferer of bad luck whilst traveling' might be a better description.

    The infection sounds like utter torture but maybe – just maybe – you don't need to tear yourself up analysing it – but just rest and get well?

  40. The itch is getting better, at last Heron's View, but thank you so very much for this advice. I shall bear this Calendula cream in mind for next time.

  41. I had a soaking bath last night, Persiflage, and not being able to find any Epsom salts in our cupboard I added a few drops of Tea Tree oil Tea tree is one of our usual remedies for all manner of things, Persiflage and it seemed to help.

    In any case, I'd say the itch is healing at last as the rash subsides and the colonoscopy is now over with negative, therefore good results. I can never quite reconcile myself to the way that the 'negative' in medical terms means good. I'm so used to the negative being bad.

    Thanks, Persiflage.

  42. You could call it bad luck while travelling, Kath, and that's a kinder option, but when it happens so often, I feel I must bear some responsibility.

    Between trips, I am the one common denominator. It is as if my body reacts to geographical changes.

    I can't imagine how it would be if I, like you, took off overseas for such a long time. Obviously, you're made of sterner stuff than me in this department.

    Thanks, Kath.

  43. The mind is a powerful organ, as you say Rachel and yes there can be a danger in too much dissection.

    I'll try to go easier on myself next time, but it tends to be my default position in times of stress.

    Thanks, Rachel.

  44. Oh you poor thing! I hope you are feeling better by now. I, too, am not particularly fond of travel. I hate the preparations, the process of getting there, the lack of routine, etc. Once I'm back, I'm usually glad I went, but if I never went anywhere again, I think I'd be perfectly happy as well!

  45. Are you sure it isn't the thesis (the completion of…have you done enough/learned enough/ etc enough) that is getting under your skin?

    ( BTW I have moved everything back to blogger…easier!)

  46. Thanks for alerting me to your return to blogger, Christine, and of course finishing my thesis must have an impact. I find myself resisting a final reading of the complete manuscript before it goes to the binders. What's that about stalling at the finishing line?

    Thanks, Christine.

  47. It's good to see you here, from Life Ramblings and thank you so much for your good wishes. I hoped it would pass, and it did. The rash is subsiding at last, and I'm much improved thanks.

  48. I've spent the best part of today getting on with it, Christine, not stalling at all. I've now almost reached the end of the 'final'- third time around – proofing of the final formatted thesis, so I'm almost there.

    Thanks again for the encouragement.

  49. rashes of unknown origin are no fun! i like what you say about negative tests. one fo the things i try to reassure people with at work is that boring is good. having the likes of me go mmmm, now that's interesting is never a good thing!

    thanks for stopping by

  50. I agree, Swiss, that word 'interesting' is a worry.

    As far as medical results are concerned, boring is good. As far as judgments on writing are concerned 'interesting' is death.

    Thanks, Swiss.

  51. Yes, Elisabeth, medical terminology is often contradictory. As I tell our patients when they ring for results "No news is usually good news." What I try not to say is
    when you they ring YOU about results, that might be a worry!
    Once knew a girl who was told her pregnancy test was positive and she sighed with relief. She thought they meant they were positive she was NOT pregnant??!!?
    It's a minefield.
    BTW congrats on your thesis. What an accomplishment!
    Karen C

  52. Oh dear I can well understand your frustration. Here's hoping you believe in some sort of alternative health and add vitamins to boost that immune issue. Love the way vitamin C powder aids in clearing the bowels in a more natural way. There are tablets to reduce skin itch. Buddy gets them.So do people who develop chicken pox. there's even talk that a new strain of it is around.
    I recently broke out in what at first appeared to be hives bu was more like what you had. It ended at the neck
    I don't think travel really has much to do with it though worry does.
    GET WEELL FAST! hugs

  53. We patients can be so sensitive about the meaning of our results, Karen. And it is strange the way a label can give comfort even when sometimes such labels, particularly those of a psychological nature, for instance the so-called mental health status of a person, can become such a strait jacket. Scripting and self perpetuating in every way.

    I hate psychiatric labels, however necessary they may sometimes be. They are are too prone to be abused.

    I'd prefer to say someone feels depressed than to say they have 'depression'. It may be a subtle distinction but to me it makes a world of difference in how we approach the condition.

    To feel is a fluid experience, whereas to have something – a so-called condition, which may well apply within the medical model – is much more concrete.

    I better get off this soap box.

    Thanks, Karen.

  54. Ah Kleinsemotte, you are too kind. Thank you for your good wishes.

    A week after the event and the rash appears to have cleared.

    Good luck with your preparations for the wedding. Don't let it get you into any strange conditions, like skin rashes. Stress is a great destabilizer.

  55. Dear Elisabeth,
    I recognize this. When I was young and traveling, I slept too little, ate fast fatty food and drank too much and always developed some sort of skin problems. During one holiday in Spain I got a severe case of acne, although I was in my mid twenties and have always had perfect skin. I suffered from it for several months upon my return, with blemishes on my face and chest. I often thought it came from bathing in unclean water close to some sewage, on overcrowded beaches. It never came back again and I have had pristine complexion ever since.
    When I relocated to Denmark, for a period of time I suffered from pressure urticaria, developing itching hives anywhere on my body where even the slightest pressure was applied, like bra straps or belt. Not to mention soles of my feet.
    So yes, our bodies will definitely tell us when something is not right, even before we know it ourselves, consciously.;)
    Hope you get better soon,

  56. Skin is such a powerful medium, Zuzana as your stories here attest. And when our skin erupts, it's awful, especially when it's visible as on your face and arms and legs or when it itches, anywhere.

    Thanks, Zuzana.

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