I’m Being Trashed By a Rash

By Karen

Apologies for being scarce, but weird things are happening — with me, the cats are fine — causing anxiety, doctor visits and so many trips to Target pharmacy that I’ve lost count.

I became an itchy snow globe in July, without the globe. My scalp started falling apart. This photo isn’t my head, but it looks like this…

Judging from scarier images online, my problem seems relatively mild, but I immediately cut my hair short. (I also went lighter, got highlights, and restored my bangs. It’s cute.)

Next I had a peely red patch above one eyebrow. It spread. Today, my entire neck and shoulders look sunburned, and leathery red patches keep popping up everywhere else.

My regular doctor thinks it’s psoriasis and/or eczema. Since it usually takes months to book a dermatologist, he prescribed some oily overnight shit for my scalp and said, “Sleep on a towel.”

Well, I lucked out (maybe) and got a dermatology appointment within a week. Since the scalp oil was pricey and I wasn’t keen on ruining the pillowcases, I decided to wait it out.

Now I think I know why I got the quick derm visit. That doctor, who I won’t name because there’s follow-up involved, is no star on HealthGrades or any other review site. Patients describe him like Jekyll and Hyde — mostly Hyde.

I met Hyde. He barely spoke to me. He told me to stand in front of him in my underwear and an open-backed waist-length gown and, without a word, roughly yanked down the back of my panties to check my ass like he was unwrapping a package of meat.

He also thinks it’s maybe psoriasis and eczema (no straight answers from anybody with these skin conditions) and he prescribed two remedies to use twice a day for two weeks. Clobetasol solution for scalp ($49) and Triamcinolone ointment for face and body ($8, a bargain!). Note: Tony couldn’t resist photobombing them…

To the extent I can get Clobetasol on my scalp, it seems to help. I’m less itchy and a bit less sheddy.

Triamcinolone is a devil’s concoction of mineral oil and Vaseline. I can’t sleep or wear clothes in it and it leaves grease marks on everything it touches.

The dermatologist muttered something about doing bloodwork for strep (??), so I had to go get that done another day at a lab.

No strep. No kidding.

When the triage nurse called me with those results, I went full Karen on her about Triamcinolone, which felt like the doctor’s idea of a sick joke. She said she’d speak to him.

Target’s now holding a tub of cream Triamcinolone for me for the same low price. So, the doctor had the equivalently priced choice of absorbable cream or nonabsorbable greasy goop, and he went with goop. Yeah, he’s probably sadistic.

After three days on the grease, nothing’s really improving. The nurse said it takes a week, but I don’t believe her. Skin can heal fast with the right treatment.

I’m suspicious because I just realized an expired tube of cream I have from a 2014 lichen sclerosis incident (another lousy dermatologist at the same practice —another story) is the SAME stuff.

Two years ago, my gynecologist diagnosed a small spot of lichen on my nether parts and said I could use that old cream on it. After one application, the spot disappeared.

So, when my current blotches started, I tried that cream on a few and NOTHING HAPPENED, which is why I started seeing doctors.

I told Mr. Hyde all this, and he still prescribed it again. I hope he proves me wrong and my does skin clear up, but I’m not hopeful.

So, please excuse me, I’ve been preoccupied.

6 Responses to I’m Being Trashed By a Rash

  1. Mary Hunter says:


    So sorry this has happened to you. Hope it will be better in days to come. Hyde sounds like an effing nightmare. I would seriously consider reporting him to some sort of , I don’t know ethics in medicine. Unbelievable! His behavior in “examining” you borders on the sadistic, not to mention very unprofessional. Health issues are so complex and frustrating. You have my deepest sympathies! Hug those beautiful kitties! Stay well and feel better.

  2. GlamourMilk says:

    Dear Karen,
    Sorry you’re going through this. Everything that has to do with our health and well-being is so precious. Sincerely hope it gets better soon. All the best to you.

  3. catsworking says:

    Mary and GlamourMilk, I’m ecstatic to report that I went and fetched the cream last night. After just one application, I woke up this morning NOTICEABLY better. The splotches on my forehead are GONE and the redness across my neck and shoulders is greatly reduced. Even a few of the leathery patches are feeling smoother.

    The cream soaks right in, so after a few minutes it’s like any other moisturizer and I can put on clothes. I feel like I got my life back. Because of the large area I’ve had to cover, words can’t describe how miserable I was wearing that goop. I could hardly sit on the couch for fear of greasing up the throw pillows.

    This means that Mr. Hyde was right about one thing: Fresh Triam-whatsits does work on this shit. So, I’ll give him that. But as a doctor, I’m going to see how he behaves at the follow-up before I take any action. Right now, I rank him down there with the dentist who wanted me sitting higher in the chair and pulled me up himself by yanking on my upper TEETH.

    What I’m most concerned about is how these conditions sprang up in the first place, but so far nobody has offered any theories. Mine is stress.

  4. Donna says:

    Karen,do you sleep with down pillows? A few years ago I had red blotchy itchies on my face and throughout my hairline (also forearms) I thought it was shampoo or a new hair mousse that I was trying. I was miserable as it was a stinking hot summer which I loathe without a mysterious rash. One morning I woke up face down in a pillow and I said “that’s it!” I got rid of the verrrrry expensive pillows and the rash went away

  5. catsworking says:

    Donna, that’s a fantastic lead, and very weird and sounds suspiciously similar.

    But no, my pillows are cotton or synthetic. They’re only a few months old and already lumpy and flat and I’m pissed at them.

    But I do have feather-filled pillows on the couch. On second thought, I don’t come into direct contact with them. I’ve got a synthetic pillow in between me and the feathers because I hate getting poked by the quills.

    I suspected an allergy, too, but my routines and products have been stable to the point that I haven’t opened a new package of anything in months. I also suspected the heat. Neither doctor mentioned either as a possible cause.

    The ONE thing I did change was I stopped taking fish oil back in the spring. I’d been on it for years but didn’t think it was doing anything. But then when I started reading about eczema, a remedy was to take fish oil, so I’ve started back on it.

    My sister has eczema and she said she stopped breaking out once she started taking fish oil. When I told the doctor about this, his eyes glazed over.

    As for my scalp, when this started my hair was long and I wasn’t using ANY styling products. I was shampooing with baby shampoo and letting it air dry. When my scalp started itching, I thought it was the baby shampoo drying me out.

    Fortunately, the two prescriptions seem to be working. What’s really weird is since I started using them, even the greasy goop, I have no new leathery blotches. I’m not applying the stuff everywhere, so it’s not preventing anything in other places. It seems that whatever was triggering this has stopped. Which makes me suspect stress. Just knowing I’m getting better has apparently relieved the stress.

  6. Donna says:

    I’m glad you’re feeling better. You doctor is a dick

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