Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Friday, February 7, 2014

Eczema Sits on Your Skin and Crushes Your Attendance Record

[Editor's Note:  This post is old.  Like, more-than-a-week-ago old.  But it's still amusing, sort of, and therefore post-worthy.  Update will follow.]

I have nodes.

Oh. Oh, my God.

I found out this morning.

What are nodes?

Vocal nodules, the rubbing together of your vocal chords at above average rates without proper lubrication.  They sit on your windpipe and they crush your dreams.

Isn't that painful? Why would you keep performing?

Because I love to sing. The key is early diagnosis. I am living with nodes, but I am a survivor. I just have to pull back, because I am limited, because I have nodes.

I don't have nodes, and neither does the Little Kid.  We do, however, have a shared affection for the movie, "Pitch Perfect," hence the gratuitous quote-drop above. We also have a shared affliction, which I would put under the same "hashtag-first-world-problems" category as nodes:  eczema.  Specifically, I passed on two lovely skin conditions to my darling second-born, atopic dermatitis and keratosis pilaris.

So we are living with itch, and redness, but we are survivors, and we have a bountiful supply of Cetaphil products on hand, and also something called AmLactin, the active ingredient of which is urea, which we don't talk about, since urea is a substance found in urine, and far from being worried that my nine year-old will be scandalized by the concept of coming into regular contact with something urine-ish, I am far more concerned that he will go around telling people that his mom makes him rub pee into his skin.


This morning we got a call from the lovely elementary school nurse (who really is quite lovely - just doing her job and all), and she informed us that a student in Little Kid's grade has scabies.  Said student shares a science teacher with LK, and said science teacher made note of what I am 100% confident is an atopic dermatis flare-up on LK's wrist (dermatitis LOVES joints - wrists, elbows, backs of knees - anything with a crease).  Long story short, LK is BANNED FROM THIRD GRADE until we conclusively prove to the district (in the form of a doctor's note) that LK does not have scabies.

Me to Nurse:  But you know it's not scabies.

Nurse to Me:  I'm almost positive that you are right about that.

Me:  The kid has eczema.  You're looking at eczema.

Nurse:  Well, in his teacher's defense, he is looking redder and scabbier today.

Me:  Riiiiiight, and it's also below freezing, with almost zero humidity, and the kid was in a swimming pool last night, and you know what chlorine does to eczema.

Nurse:  I do.  But, you know, still.

As a frame of reference, what my child has looks like this (keratosis):
And this (dermatitis):

 But NOT this (scabies):

(Okay, so I will concede that the last two may be hard to tell apart, but the difference is that eczema tends to target certain areas - pulse points and skin folds - whereas scabies don't follow this pattern.)

So while Dad picked up LK, I called the pediatrician's office.  It was either that or urgent care.  Pro to urgent care:  cheaper (we have a "wellness" insurance plan, which means colonoscopies are free, but diagnostic visits are billed at negotiated rates, and our local urgent care clinic has very reasonable negotiated rates - almost in copay territory).  Con to urgent care:  flu victims, everywhere.  Whereas our pediatrician has the ability - and good sense - to schedule "infectious" and "non-infectious" in separate blocks.

I love it when someone is righteously indignant for me.  Nurse at the pediatrician's office was all, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  They want you to expose your sweet, healthy baby to infectious disease for THAT?"


"Well, the only opening we have today is in the afternoon, with all of the flu people."

Nope, not gonna do that.

"I can work you in tomorrow at 9."

Done.  So, to summarize, at approximately 10 am tomorrow - naturally, AFTER attendance is taken for the day - I will return my ordinarily-scabby-and-itchy-but-otherwise-healthy child to school, $120 poorer, and he will be docked for two days of school absences.

Which I will fight, on ADA grounds.  (I Googled it - asthma and other allergic conditions are covered by the ADA, even when controlled by medication.)  Calling the ACLU now.  Okay, probably not.  But I may enlarge the photos of skin-ickiness reproduced above to poster size, with notes:  "THIS and THIS is NOT THIS."  And then I will send said posters to school, clipped to the "please excuse my child's absence" note from me and the "THIS KID HAS ECZEMA, DUMB***" note from the doctor.

Note to Dr. Y:  if you actually incorporate DUMB*** into the note, there's a fruit basket in it for you.

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