It’s been rainy and overcast in the Captain’s world, and regrettably, I cannot bring the sunshine for you today.
If you have been sailing with us long, you have undoubtedly heard about the Captain’s rash.
No, it’s not what you think.
Or where you think...
About 10 months ago, a rash developed on the Captain’s shin.
What is it? Poison Ivy? Ring Worm?
A milder version was also spreading randomly across my body.
Unsightly, but only a mild irritation.
After several months of treating the shin for all the wrong things (self-diagnosis), I finally gave in and went to Ready-Care.
Before they would have to cut off my leg…
Captain's Note: Not yet ready to go full-on Pyrat!
The intake nurse recoiled in horror as I pulled up my pants leg.
That didn’t instill confidence.
The Ready-Care doctor looked at it and declared it to be “cellulitis”, a throw-away word that covers any eruption of the skin. Concerned that it might be infected, he prescribed a sulfa-antibiotic.
Apparently the Captain is now allergic to Sulfa-drugs!
Rash on top of rash! Yay me!
I finally got in to see a dermatologist who diagnosed it as eczema.
Another throw-away word for a skin eruption, eczema is not curable; it will resolve itself "after months"...
The doctor prescribed an ointment that he said would alleviate the symptoms while my system healed.
Okay, maybe "the cause, but not the symptom"...
Six months later (last week) I returned for a follow-up.
So I agreed to submit to a “patch test”.
Now, in the Captain’s mind, I imagined a small, Band-aid-sized “patch”.
In reality it was a half-dozen bandages that covered my whole back with 65 different “patches” of chemicals known to contribute to “contact dermatitis”.
The “patches” were applied on Monday.
No showering until the patches are removed...
On Wednesday they were removed.
And on Friday the “patches” were reviewed.
Turns out the Captain is allergic to a lot of shit!
Formaldehyde. Commonly found in building materials, but also a lot of cosmetics, household products, and pesticides contain it. And embalming fluid...
Captain's Note: So if I get embalmed, I will break out in a rash...?
Merthiolate. That's the red stuff me mother used to torture us with when we got cuts and scrapes as a kid. But "Thimerosal" is also found in nose drops, eye drops, liquid soaps, and some oral hygiene products.
Benzocaine. That's for sunburns! But members of the -caine familiy are also found in cough drops, hemorrhoidal creams, and poison ivy remedies.
And eight other - commonly used but difficult to pronounce - chemicals, as well as their closest relatives.
Including the Corticosteroid ointment the doctor gave me to alleviate the itching!
And get this! The Captain is allergic to Gold!
I shit you not! I may be the only pirate in history allergic to freakin' gold!
Long story short, I now have a lengthy list of chemicals that may or may not be causing my eczema, and now I have to start reading labels of soaps, shampoos, detergents, pesticides, paints, clothing, etc. looking for the likely culprit.
Your Captain suspects I know why Blackbeard was so grouchy!
Prepare the canon!