hive-aitus

Greetings from Hell, aka Los Angeles, a climate-forsaken oven of a city, solidly in the grip of a brain-boiling, mood-ruining, sex-thwarting, creativity-curbing heatwave.

I am sweaty and cranky, and have been for weeks now. Though that only partially explains my absence here. Mostly it has had to do with my health, which right about the time of my last post took a sudden and bewildering nosedive.

In a nutshell: I have spent the past two and a half months fighting, of all fucking things, hives. Debilitating, unbearably itchy, splotchy red hives, of the sort one gets as an extreme allergic reaction. Only, I'm not allergic to anything. I am, however, immune-challenged, what with my hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's. Both of these conditions put me at greater risk for something called Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria, or, in plainspeak: Neverending WhoTheFuckKnowsWhy Hives.

It is a long and boring story involving lapsed insurance policies, indifferent doctors, blood tests, urgent care visits, and weeks on end of intense misery - and mystery. Really all that matters at this point is that eventually I figured out a medication "plan" that manages and ameliorates the symptoms. But it's a doozy.

You know how groggy a single Benadryl makes you? I'm currently taking eight Benadryl a day. Eight. Plus nightly Pepcid. Plus my regular dose of synthroid.

There's a potentially happy ending to this story, in that there's a decent chance an untreated dental infection has been the source of the hives. I found out about the infection two weeks ago. My dentist explained that rather than manifest in my mouth itself, the infection has been draining down directly into my lymph nodes, which then may very well have been distributing the fucking infection throughout my body. Causing my mast cells to freak out and fire histamine in an effort to protect themselves. Causing the hives.

I had the offending tooth removed a few days ago. I am on antibiotics. The hives seem to be abating, but I'm still too terrified to quit the Benadryl and find out if they're really gone (it takes a few days of "building up" resistance to the histamine before the Benadryl is effective for me, and every time I skipped a dose or was even a few hours late, boom, my skin would explode again).

Ugh this is so boring. Other people's health issues are so not sexy or interesting. I am sorry. It's just been an incredibly challenging few months, and I wanted to offer an explanation for my disappearance. There were some really, really bad moments during which I entertained some really, really bad thoughts. Luckily, where "luckily" doesn't even come close to expressing what I'd need it to, I wasn't alone in any of this.

"Supportive" is a similarly insufficient word to convey how amazing Timo has been during this time. It's no exaggeration to say I couldn't have survived without him. He was there at three am, when every inch of my arms, legs, neck, chest, and back were aflame with blooming, excruciatingly itchy red roses. When the only thing to be done was head back to the hospital for another round of steroids. Even on nights when there was nothing he could do but keep me company while I suffered, he insisted on keeping me company while I suffered. He went online and did research on his own, to understand what was happening to me and how to help. He found holistic doctors and learned the difference between H1 and H2 blockers. He talked in terms of "we" and "us". As in, "We're going to figure this out. We're going to get you answers and get you better." He'd lift my chin and make me look him in the eye and believe him. He made me feel much less alone, during what is ultimately a very lonely ordeal.

So. That's a bit of what's been happening. But there's been lots more going on, much of it wonderful. Shows and trips and another birthday. An anniversary. And I'll catch you up on all of it, I promise, but right now? Right now I am sitting in my favorite neighborhood coffee shop, on what has turned into a gloriously grey, breezy day, waiting for my boyfriend to come meet me so we can have drinks alfresco at the open-air restaurant next door. He just got off a plane an hour ago. He's been gone for two weeks.

We have some catching up to do, too.