The family that suffers together

So we’re just a few days into summer vacation, here, and so far it’s been a whole barrel of fun. If by “a whole barrel of fun” you mean “multiple trips to the pharmacy.”

Remember last year when Otto got poison ivy and then it got really, really bad and then he got MRSA? That was fun. Except not really. And so when he mysteriously got poison ivy again last week he was all, “Huh. I think I have poison ivy again. I wonder where that came from? Well, I guess I’ll use some of this cream I have left over from last time.”

Meanwhile I was throwing myself prostrate on the bathroom floor in front of him, going “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I CANNOT LIVE THROUGH YOU HAVING MRSA AGAIN, GO TO THE DOCTOR!”

Otto thought I was overreacting. But it turns out that I am something of a champion nag, and after a few days of me rending my garments he did, indeed, get himself over to his doctor, who took one look at him and—probably with last year’s episode in mind—put him on a massive course of steroids to fix him up.

The next day I went to go see MY doctor, on account of allergy season brought me something extra special this year. For reasons I cannot fathom, when the blanket of pollen descended on Georgia this spring, in addition to my regular sinus issues, I also developed some eczema. ON MY EYELIDS. Nowhere else, mind you. Just there. And yes, allergy season started, like, I don’t know, maybe two months ago? But it would get gross and then it would get better and then it would get bad again and right when I was going to call the doctor, it would get worse… but then it would get better, etc. Well, earlier this week I actually started getting hives on top of the eczema. Basically I went from looking like a weirdo wearing red eyeshadow to looking like someone with an unfortunate case of eyelid leprosy. PRETTY!

So I took my beleaguered eyelids to the doctor, who took one look and said, “Oh my. Let’s put you on a course of steroids to clear that up.” So Otto went back to the pharmacy for me, to pick up my steroids.

The next day after THAT, Chickadee went out with a friend for a couple of hours and came back covered in a rash from head to toe. This was not entirely unexpected, but still… I’d really had high hopes about her new medication, which had seemed to be controlling her skin up until then. So we called Emory and they… called her in some steroids. Which I sent Otto to pick up. Mostly because by now I wondered if the pharmacists were beginning to suspect we’re Prednisone dealers or something.

If you’ve never taken Prednisone or some other steroid, let me just tell you about the wonder. On the one hand, it has thus far knocked out everything we’ve used it for, so yes, it’s very effective and that’s a Very Good Thing. On the other hand, steroids tend to make it difficult to sleep and also make you kind of hungry and cranky and a bit forgetful but kind of spazzy. So having three out of four members of the household on steroids all at once just seems unusually cruel to Monkey and the dog. Well, mostly to the dog, as Monkey is mostly oblivious.

[Digression: Actual conversation snippet as Chickadee ate an unusual amount of food, spurred on by the Steroid Munchies:
Monkey: So Prednisone makes you kind of hungry? And hyper?
Me: Yeah, kind of.
Monkey: But, I’m already kind of hyper, right?
Me: We prefer to think of you as being high-energy, sweetie.
Monkey: But if I had something wrong where I needed to take Prednisone, what do you think would HAPPEN?
Me: I think I would just let you scratch to death.
Monkey: Wait. What?
Me: Please don’t get poison ivy or eczema or a rash, honey.
Monkey: Would you really not give me the medicine I needed???
Me: Gosh I love you. I have to go stand over here, now.]

Today we had a fun day of family togetherness where we went into Atlanta to do Fun Things and proceeded to bicker with and snipe at one another for the better part of the day, because everyone is cranky and hungry and sleep-deprived.

But on the up side, our (collective) skin looks FANTASTIC.

Plus this is kind of a family bonding exercise. You know, the family that steroids together, stays together? Isn’t that how the saying goes? No…?

Oh, hush up. And go get me a snack.


  1. jenn kirby

    Ugh… I’ve had eczema on my eyelids before and it sucks. Mine was caused by benzoyl peroxide zit cream when I was about 15… somehow it got on my eyelids. Right before picture day! So I look like I have eyelid leprosy in my sophomore picture, to go with my big hair… good times, good times. You haven’t been putting zit cream on your eyelids have you?

  2. Heather

    Well doesn’t that sound like quite the adventure! I’m glad the drugs are working at least, and hope you can all balance out the side effects!

  3. Lucinda

    Adventures with Prednisone. So much fun. It makes me all kinds of psycho so I feel for you. Hope you all recover soon.

  4. Lady M

    Maybe becoming steroid dealers could be lucrative . . .

  5. Cele

    ack! I always get a patchy spot on my lip… wanna kiss me?

  6. Jenn

    I, too, had the eyelid eczema a few years ago. Dermatologist mentioned that I should toss all of my eye make-up (which KILLED my frugal self) because it could be making the problem worse. Also, she mentioned that eye shadows should only be used for about 3 months and then replaced— seemed a little drastic, but I have followed orders and haven’t had any more eyelid outbreaks… And it’s been at least 5 years. Good luck!!

  7. Alex@LateEnough

    I’m just impressed y’all haven’t been arrested. If my family went on steroids? We’d be in the looney bin STAT.

  8. Karen

    Umm…. what was that saying Billy Crystal used to drawl as Rico Swave… “Remember, Daaling… it is always better to look good than to feel good. You look Maaaaavelous. ”

    You’re welcome.

  9. Flea

    You poor little bunnies. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve done something like that – go out as a family when there are icky health issues, only to have it disintegrate. Now we just don’t go anywhere or do fun things. Problem solved!

  10. Mary

    Two years in a row now with steroids for poison ivy (advanced to 3rd degree burns). I feel your pain–literally.
    My family appreciates your crankiness and hard to control snacking. They SUFFER this with me as I complain about eating but can’t seem to stop.

    Take care.

  11. KarenP

    The last time I took Prednisone I gained 8 pounds in less than a week. Of course you don’t lose the weight magically once you stop taking the medicine. Also made me very jittery…won’t take it again.

    Last week while on vacation to North Carolina, came down with a cold/allergies. Good times, feeling lousy while traveling around. I was trying desperately to not cough during the concert my son was featured in. (The reason for going to North Carolina in the first place.) Still feeling lousy this morning. Also, the plane ride from the east coast to the west coast was really fun with plugged up ears and all the coughing.

    Feel better Mir and Family.

  12. Laura

    Since Prednizone gives me the psych side effects of feeling like a homicidal maniac, I’m very glad I’m not in your shoes. Good luck!

  13. Chuck

    Predinsone does great things for my back when it’s in pain, and my only side affect that I’ve noticed is…I lose weight. So, I guess you could say I’m a prednisone fan, but I don’t take it very often. Of course, if it made me hyper that might be another story.

  14. Jen

    I would much rather have my high-energy 9 year old scratch himself to a bleeder than give him Prednisone. (I kid! Mostly…) I’ve been on it and while it’s a wonder drug, it messed with me something horrible.

  15. ramblin red

    oh dear….

    Least you have your sense of humor about it all ;) That’s something, if not blog fodder, eh?

  16. hokgardner

    I have to take prednisone every time I have a bad asthma flare up. I resemble a sleep-deprived humming bird for the week I’m on it. I get a LOT done.

  17. Tammy

    The good news is that next time you won’t have to nag at Otto for days before he goes to the doctor. Only for hours.

    Sorry, that was my lame attempt to look on the bright side. Hope your week gets better!

  18. elaine

    i have a child with asthma who occasionally has to take predisone. the first time she took it i could not believe how active and chatty she was. so i looked up prednisone on wikipedia and found out about the whole hyperactivity side effect. i called my husband and told him about it and he said ‘oh yeah, didn’t i tell you about that?’ ‘well no, but that explains the 30 minutes of sustained jumping this morning.’

  19. Katie in MA

    Days like that really make me wish Monkey had a blog. :-)

    Hope you’re all feeling better!

  20. Tara

    I’m on Prednisone for poison ivy, but it has not helped at all. Today started day 5. I guess it’s nice to know that it does work for some people, just not me :(

  21. Jessica (@It's my life...)

    Oh. Wow. I feel for you. I’ve done the eyelid eczema. It sucks. And I’ve done the prednisone and that just wasn’t pretty. I was on CRAZY doses and I went, well, crazy.

    Hope you all feel WAY better soon!

  22. mamaspeak

    I’ve been on a number of steroids in the last several years due to a back problem (herniated disc). Grumpy, check! Weight Gain, check (try 20 lbs in 2 wks first go around, now it SEEMS to just give me bloated, puffy look, especially in my face). Munchies, check (sort of, but real food, no interest). Hyperness, check. I’ve been having shots into my back=epidural shots. First round I didn’t sleep for 3 days strait. I was exhausted, but could not turn the brain off enough to actually sleep. I thought I was gonna die, & then I was afraid I wouldn’t. Oh, and after this last shot, (3rd in 6 weeks) my skin seemed to turn into that of an 80yo woman. It got thin & dry. If I scratched myself I got an awful scab. I have curly hair & the steroids promote facial hair, so my chin, cheeks, eyebrows, etc.. have gone nuts. But because it’s curly, it get’s ingrown which then becomes this gaping, awful hole that won’t heal. It’s been awful .

    Any benefit I thought I was getting was undone on Monday night when my 4yo (threw herself) fell down our stairs in front of me. As soon as she hit the floor I bent over, picked her up & carried her to the next room. All 3 of those things were big no, no’s for me.

    So to reiterate; fat, ugly, puffy, round faced, bitchy & STILL IN PAIN! I’m nothing if not a good time.

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