Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Off to the doctor's

Had a checkup today, and the doctor says I have a skin disorder called Rosacea. So THAT'S why I always get red as a beet whenever I step outside on a hot day! And it takes forever to subside, too. Mine is very mild - just a pink flush across my cheeks and nose, I don't have the pimples or rough skin, but it CAN get bad if you don't deal with it. Apparently more women than men get it, but men often have worse cases (they don't get treatment until it's bad). And in the worst case, you can end up with a nose like Karl Malden's - sure hope it never comes to that.

There are some things that trigger outbreaks or aggravate them, so it sounds a bit like living with herpes - you just try to avoid the things that set it off, and treat the symptoms when they occur. One thing that does make it worse is alcohol. Now, I hardly drink at all - I stopped 12 years ago when I was pregnant with James, and just never reacquired the taste for it. But one thing I DO like sometimes, on a hot day, is a cold beer. So now, when I've been working in the garden, and I come in all hot and thirsty, the very time when you'd want a beer, I can't have it because I'll already be red, and this would just make it worse. I suppose I could drink a beer in the wintertime, but what's the point? I guess it's back to water and ginger ale. It's not the same, though.

UPDATE: I found the quote I'd been searching for, which is very apropos. From Season 6 of 'Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist', the episode entitled Snow Day:
Dana Gould: Well, I shoulda known my dad was drunk - he turned red. Let's see, you're Irish, you get drunk, you turn red. Physiological signal we developed years ago in case there's a sudden insurrection against the British - we know who not to give loaded fire arms to.


Blogger little gidding said...

When I lived in Japan, I learned that many, many (most/all?) Japanese have certain genetic characteristics, one of which is that when they drink alcohol, even a single beer, their face gets flushed and, often, the palms of their hands do too. I didn't see anyone trying to do anything to cope with it, however, perhaps because it was more or less universal there. But I suppose that it may have inhibited some from drinking altogether. I don't guess it's the same thing as what you're describing, however.

11:20 pm  
Blogger Kasia said...

My dad has rosacea. He's not quite Karl Malden-esque, but it's noticeable. I've also noticed I've been getting a pinkish cast to part of my face over the last year of two; I hope I'm not developing it. Eczema and psoriasis are quite enough, thank you!

Here's hoping that yours never develops even to the state of my father's...

10:37 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Oh, I hope not too! And here, this past winter, I was thinking, "Wouldn't it be nice to live someplace where it's warm all the time?" Guess that's not in the cards for me; I'd be one sad tomato. This disease is common among people with very fair skin who blush a lot, which is me in spades. I'll just have to start managing it, now that I know it's there and how to avoid problems.

11:04 am  
Blogger Kasia said...

This disease is common among people with very fair skin who blush a lot

Ah - so that's why it's so important to wage the War On Shame! Blushing leads to rosacea!

On a more serious note, that would lend some credence to my suspicion that I'm developing sister often makes cracks about how pale I am, and I definitely blush a lot.

11:45 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Well, you're young still, though - It usually kicks in between 30 and 50, and I'm 47, so I'm right on schedule. Just ask your doctor next time you're in for a checkup, he'll tell you if you should be concerned. It's not like it's life-threatening or anything, it's just unsightly IF it's left to go untreated. That said, my doctor didn't test me or anything, he could tell just by looking at me.

12:22 pm  

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