Every so often I get an email asking me if we’ve finally resolved Chickadee’s skin issues and seeing a specialist, and my response is generally “Ummm… mumble mumble oh look, something shiny! She’s fine, thanks,” because—just like last year—as soon as the weather started to cool off, her skin healed up. Just like that.
And I’m left trying to figure out if if makes sense to go see a specialist while she’s perfectly fine. I do gesture a lot when I talk, so maybe I can convey the full horror of the height of the Creeping Crud days, but still. I just don’t know whether that’s the thing to do. But I also know that come next spring it’s going to start all over again, sooooo… yeah.
In the meantime, apparently life was not exciting enough. So I decided to have my own medical mystery. Except that I didn’t so much “decide” as I just “came down with.”
People who know the wild life Otto and I lead are aware that most weeknights involve an hour or two of Terrible Television™ before we go to bed. As far as I’m concerned, this offers the perfect trifecta of pre-slumber relaxation; it’s mindless entertainment, we get to snuggle, and it generally involves snacks. (Sing it with me: These are a few of my favorite things….)
We can tell that Licorice is absolutely the right dog for us because she is also a confirmed couch potato, and runs into the family room with unbridled glee when it’s clear that TV time has arrived. She leaps onto the couch and as soon as I sit down, she arranges herself on me so as to take up maximum real estate. As a result, these days I spend most of my Terrible Television™ time with a lap- and arm-load of dog. It’s lovely.
Now, the thing about me and dogs is that technically, I’m allergic to them. I’m much less allergic to dogs with hair than dogs with fur, which is part of why our breed preferences were so restrictive (though some dogs with fur don’t bother me, and some with hair do, so really, it’s a guessing game). When we found out that Licorice was a shih tzu mix, the first thing we needed to ascertain was whether she had hair or fur. She does indeed have hair. On our initial visit with her, I swiped my arms across her several times to see what would happen; if I’m going to have a big reaction to a dog, generally the insides of my arms will break out in hives from repeated contact.
I had zero reaction to Licorice. (Well, you know. Other than the falling head-over-heels and my inability to talk to her in a normal voice or stop calling her stupid little pet names.) (In my defense, she just wooks wike a snooky wookum Wagglesworth sometimes, OKAY?)
Anyway. Now we sit on the couch and I am draped in dog and we watch TV and then go to bed and it’s all great.
Except that on Saturday, we watched TV for a while, and when it was over and we got up to go to bed, my arms were covered in a rash. Not hives, exactly, but this weird, lacy redness that was only raised in a couple of places. And the strangest part was that it didn’t itch, but it LOOKED really freaky.
I took some Benadryl and went to bed. The next morning it was more or less gone.
On Sunday night we watched Mad Men and again, the dog pounced on me and promptly fell into a deep slumber in my arms. When the show was over, I got up, and… no rash.
Last night, it was the season premiere of House (yay!) (except: Seriously, two hours of House Has A Human Side? Meh), and again I took up my post—on top of the couch, underneath a dog—and when it was over… my arms were all rashy.
I was flummoxed, to say the least.
While I was brushing my teeth, a TERRIBLE THOUGHT occurred to me. On Saturday night, I had a glass of wine while we watched TV. And I got a rash. On Sunday, we had popcorn. No rash. Last night, it was House, which meant that really, we should’ve watched with handfuls of Vicodin, but we’re really not those sort of people, so we had margaritas, instead. And I got a rash.
So here’s what I’m wondering: Is it possible that through some cruel, mystical combination of alcohol and delightful furry friend, I’m having an allergic reaction to Licorice only when I’ve had a drink? Is that even POSSIBLE?
I totally think Licorice and I should guest-star on an upcoming episode of House to unravel this medical mystery.