in hospital, slowly [but nicely, even gaily] recovering from an acute psoriasis flare-up [1]]

[if you’re reading this from the email notification, or on the status on facebook that wordpress posted, let me recommend that you click or hit the title.]

in hospital, slowly [but nicely, even gaily] recovering from an acute psoriasis flare-up all over my skin except my face  & extreme edema swelling from ankles to thighs when nitza [so wisely] drove me to the ER at john flynn in tugun [on sunday before last, 10 august, i add today, friday 22 august; & all I write inside square brackets, including the four words in the first line, are my additions today to this writing spurt i  began last saturday but didn’t want to post until i’d read it again, & didn’t feel like reading it till today, after a skypetalk with nitza in which we spoke about my being reminded several times while being here (& also yesterday in a private facebook message by a friend whom I won’t name here because she’s told me she’s a very private person, & who also mentioned after seeing some of what i’ve been posting on facebook since i’ve been here that the condition seems to be bringing out the poetry in me) of that wonderful tv series “the singing detective” by the brilliant & also seriously psoriatic author dennis potter that we’d loved so much way back when, & she said how it had always been somehow another hidden thing in me (not that I took much trouble to hide it, it was mainly on my buttocks which very few saw & knees & elbows & calves where it wasn’t very noticeable, though each of my grandchildren as they grew up would notice at a certain stage & ask me & i’d tell them it was a sickness of mine), & it surely isn’t the only thing I’ve kept hidden, even most of the time from myself, but now this is all over me & out in the open so maybe more too can come out of the well (not that I have that kind of marvellous fictional imagination that potter had, tho’ I did flash on the thought of “a singing dick”) …; now back to what I wrote then:] & i don’t want to even remember the itching & burning & aching all over my body that preceded this flare-up in numerous waves since almost a year ago, all so different from the chronic psoriasis i’ve  lived with since the early ’80s when for several years i thought it was some fungus thing until it was diagnosed [which often & for long periods was quite fierce & so  itchy I’d scratch till I bled], many stories i could tell & not a little i remember having written but never published about my various attempts to treat it, [doctors, naturopaths, biofeedback, acupuncture, dead sea retreats, corticosteroid ointments, hemp oil, this cream & that, yogas & tai chis & meditation techniques  (for I’ve long known psoriasis is also a stress-related disease, & I’m certainly carrying not a little post-traumatic stress since becoming a refugee kid & my father dying in Shanghai when I was 9 of a protracted & in those pre-antibiotic days incurable disease that took all the skin off his flesh & then continuing to grow up with a dear & devoted & hardworking but inevitably deeply depressed mother) but in recent years living here, & especially after recovering from a heart attack in November 2001, & even during the several years of extreme but fortunately benign prostate hyperplasty that was finally resolved a year and a half ago, also in this fine hospital, with a TURP procedure well-handled by an excellent surgeon] my psoriasis was thankfully relatively unfelt even if I did have to daily treat it with a mild corticosteroid ointment, until [what seemed to be an] all-over rash suddenly appeared about a year ago that no doctor could identify & went thru different stages until this total eruption that may have been caused by reducing too quickly the second round of cortisone medication in three months that each time did bring some relief but this time exploded all over me more or less concurrently with the kidnapping of the three young Israelis & continued with the escalating responses & the devastation of so many human lives & hopes & possibilities of living humanly in the country which in some ways even more than the country I’m so glad I’m living in as a naturalized citizen is close to my heart & an indelible part of my life, concurrently too with so many other terrible things happening in that region &  not only there, & following them all this time too on facebook & in the online newspapers etc., & aching & thinking & sometimes also responding & posting, as if my thoughts could make any difference, or as if any logic could make any difference when so many vested & jacketed & heavily invested interests are vying for power &/or profits yet [& here my spurt that Saturday evening goes into so many things that I’m thinking it’d be better to leave for a later post because this one is already getting too long, & just skip to where I say:] I’m so glad we came here, & so grateful to the doctors [the doctor in charge of me, a consultative geriatrician whose patient explanations to me help me understand it’ll be a slow process from now on, though his treatment in the first few days brought most of the swelling down & I weighed 4 kg less than when I came in, & who brought in the dermatologist & the rheumatologist & then the psychiatrist when I told him I’d been planning with my GP (after accepting the wise advice of my dear middle son Ohav who knows me so well & finally admitting to myself that I am a much more stressed & anxious person than I’ve ever been willing to admit to myself that I am) to start on a program of SSRIs, & who this morning started me on Escitalopram, the hopefully good effects of which may take four to six weeks to kick in, but hey, I’m in no hurry; & when I told the good doctor I hadn’t been exercising much since I’ve been here he also said he’d send me a physiotherapist to guide me back in (though I did do a bit of walking & some of my tai chi routine today)], & I’m grateful too for the treatment I get here from the nurses & support staff [I don’t find myself imagining them breaking into song-&-dance routines like in the singing detective, but we do have some good-humoured chit-chat] & for the considerate administration & the relatively good & tasty meals, & for all the medical  & pharmaceutical knowledge that can help me so, this the third time since we moved back to oz in 2001 that I’ve been helped out of quite critical situations (glad I had both the foresight & the wherewithal to take out private health insurance soon after arriving) in this fine hospital, & this time I have a room with a wonderful ocean view to look out on, different dayscapes daily, can even sometimes see the surfspray above the heads at coolangatta, & nightscapes, had the supermoon two nights last week & have seen several sunrises, & part of a rainbow a few days ago but now it’s pouring… [& apart from what’s here, so glad I have the love & support of Nitza & my sons & daughtersinlaw & grandchildren, Nitza’s several visits since I’ve been here & our daily skypings & messagings, & a visit from Jonathan, & that same Saturday afternoon before I started this much-added-to spurt] she came with Zohar & my granddaughter Shamaya it was such a joy to see her playing here with the five-fingered balloon Zo made for her by blowing

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up a blue plastic surgical glove from the box in my room, & the love & support I get from them all & from friends in emails or messages or facebook comments all of which bring me heartwarming smiles that are probably the greatest complementary catalysts for the healing medications I’m taking. The present prognosis is that most of the fuller healing will need to continue at home, & if the blood tests I have to have over the weekend show that the new SSRI isn’t interacting adversely with any of my other medications, I’ll be discharged on Monday] & be back at home with the wife I love & the life I love.

 

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