Thursday, February 08, 2007

Idiopathic Urticaries

I went to the doctor three days ago because my cold wasn't just a cold anymore. I was swelling and itching all over. This doctor had never met me before so I think he wasn't sure I was for real. He looked at my swollen lips and swollen hands. He seemed to be trying to believe me that they were swollen. I showed him my red blotchy skin, I told him it itched. He was wide eyed, studious and perplexed. He told me not to take the Dayquil(R) or Nyquil(R) again, maybe that was causing the reaction. Then instead of a perscription for an antibiotic he wanted a blood sample. (Wow) He wanted a sputum sample (Cool) and then he sent me home with a perscription for an Epi-Pen.

Wow, I thought, he believes me. Maybe this is serious. Neither of us could figure out why I was having an apparent allergic reaction. Being the skeptic that I am, and being that I never take very good care of myself I didn't fill out the perscription.

Late that night I woke up to burning, itching skin, and swollen uncomfortable hands. The only thing I could think about was how tight my wedding band was. After an ice cold soaking in our tap water and some soap I finally got my ring off. I took a dose and a half of an antihistamine and went back to bed worried. My eyes and face had looked puffy in the bathroom mirror.

In the morning the skin around my eyes looked bloodshot and scary. I was still swollen and uncomfortable even with all that benedryl. I was so worried that I headed back to the doctor. After a grueling wait of about 45 minutes (with an appointment) the doctor finally saw me. I told him I waited all that time to show him my eyes. Interesting. He mentioned that he thought I had idiopathic urticaries. Wow, I thought, this guy has been working on this case. We discussed it a bit, he called for the blood results. Half of them were ready. I gave him that sputum sample from the morning. He had me pee in a cup. Not pregnant. Nothing wrong so far, not bacterial.

He told me that the problem with idiopathic urticaries is that 99% of the time no explanation is ever found. He wrote down urticaries on tissue paper for me. My baby tried to then eat it. He was then done with me. He said he would call with the results of the rest of the blood work. Oh, by the way, I asked, is this perminatnt. Not usually.

Like anyone would I came home and punched urticaries into Wikipedia. I think my new doctor (I haven't had one for over two years)was afraid to tell me I had hives. Not only did I have hives but they are of unexplained origin (the idiopathic part). I kind of laugh now because even though I'm itching like crazy I get the joke. If something is labeled idiopatic it logically follows that 99% of the time the cause goes undetected.

I woke up this morning with swollen hands and lips and itchy skin. Ha - the joke is on me!