I have a rash on my face. An awful, red, itchy rash. All over my face, my neck, my chest and, as of this morning, my hands.
The medical explanation is an allergic reaction, possibly to poison ivy blowing around the park on a windy day. The treatment is a long list of prescriptions, sticky ointments and hand washing until my knuckles crack. But none of that really matters.
A few days ago, my husband and I had time for a quick dinner alone before he headed to work. On the way to our new favorite Mexican restaurant, I combed my hair and reapplied my makeup. By the time we arrived I felt kinda-sorta pretty.
But the first thing my husband said when we sat down in a corner booth was, “What’s wrong with your face?”
Now, he truly asked out of concern and had no idea that I’d been imagining him noticing my good hair day as we sat eating salty chips. And, he was right to be concerned. As I carefully touched my chin, I realized that spot I’d been mindlessly scratching earlier in the day was now flaky and bumpy and, yes, itching like crazy again.
As the night wore on, the rash spread over my jawline and up over my cheek. And by the time I woke up the next morning, my face was nearly covered with red, bumpy blemishes that were screaming to be scratched.
A not-so-quick visit to urgent care resulted in an inconveniently located shot, prescriptions and instructions not to touch the infected parts of my face. The doctor assured me that I was not contagious and should just enjoy myself at my daughter’s birthday party that afternoon.
Easier said than done!